UK Expanding Its Use Of Biometrics

Saturday, September 18, 2010
By Paul Martin

The British government has come to an agreement with a company to begin a seven-year biometrics program to monitor the nation’s immigration.

The Immigration and Asylum Biometric System is being installed to increase the efficiency with which immigrants can travel into the UK. The program will increase the speed of checking biometric visas, biometric residence permits and registration cards for asylum seekers, reports.

Damian Green, British immigration minister, told the news source the program was needed to “strengthen our ability to control the entry of foreign nationals into the UK and identify those who pose a risk to our country.”

The new contract represents a portion of the UK Border Agency’s National Identity Assurance System, a program that maintains a database of fingerprint and facial images used to help identify individuals who have committed crimes or already been turned down for Visas.

India is in the midst of a similar project, but it is focusing instead on getting to know its population better to foster a connection between the government and the people. According to NetworkWorld, India is collecting iris scans, fingerprints and facial recognition data from 1.2 billion citizens. The project is not mandatory, but many social services and other incentives are offered to participants.

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