Feeds

Eurostar frustrated by 'illegal' e-Borders scheme

Still waiting for government response

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Government legal officials are still investigating whether aspects of the £1.2bn e-Borders scheme are illegal, a year after concerns were raised by Eurostar.

Lawyers for the cross-channel train operator believe the system will require it to break European data privacy laws. They have been pressing the UK Border Agency to clarify the situation since November last year.

At their most recent meeting in September, officials told Eurostar they were still mulling the problem.

"There's been no progress at all," said a spokesman for the firm. "They said they were still looking into it."

The ultimate goal of e-Borders is to centrally log every single traveller in and out of the UK, which will mean obtaining personal details before they travel.

The UK Border Agency wants carriers to collect the data abroad on its behalf. Eurostar believes this will mean driving an express train through French and Belgian data legislation, both of which implement the EU data laws.

"We believe, and the legal advice we have had is that it is not legal to export the sort of data required by e-Borders within the EU, and it is only legal to export that data outside of the EU," the firm's customer service director told the Home Affairs Select Committee back in June.

Even then, Eurostar expressed frustration at the government's lack of response to the possibility it will be "caught in a position that we are abiding by UK law but breaking EU law".

"I would feel very uncomfortable if I had waited seven months to respond to a letter from the UK Borders Agency on an e-Borders matter," Noaro said.

Eurostar also has more immediate commercial worries about e-Borders over the costs and potential for check-in delays.

Today the Home Office rejected Eurostar's concerns, apparently contradicting what the firm said it was told in September.

"We are confident that e-Borders is compatible with the European Data Protection Directive," said Brodie Clark, head of UK Border Force.

Air carriers already feed the system's Manchester operation centre with the details of millions of passengers before they fly.

Clark said: "We have already proven e-Borders is a success, with it running effectively on many routes for four years. We have been working with Eurostar and the carriers industry for the past two years, and have performed successful trials scanning 96 per cent of documents in seconds.

"We continue to work with carriers to avoid delays to passengers."

He added that e-Borders has led to more than 4,500 arrests for crimes "including murder, rape and assault and significant counter-terrorist interventions".

It's planned that e-Borders will log every single journey in and out of the UK by 2014. In June, ferry operators echoed Eurostar's concerns over the legality of its data gathering regime, and said they expect significant delays to the system as a result. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.