ZDNet reports that the UK Border Agency is planning a network of booths to take foreigners’ fingerprints and photos. The Home Office agency has advertised for a single contractor to provide booths that are secure and private where overseas nationals can register for biometric residence permits by having fingerprints and a photo taken.

The successful bidder will also be expected to provide services to the public, as well as scanning and sending documents and dealing with payments from applicants. Equipment to video record each applicant, back office IT systems to collate and transmit enrolment data, and document scanning will be delivered under the deal.

A tender notice in the Official Journal of the European Union says the contract will be available to other government departments and agencies, including the Home Office and the Identity and Passport Service.

Wired has revealed details of NATO plans to issue biometrically backed identification cards to 1.65 million Afghans by next May. Local and NATO forces are already compiling “biometric dossiers on hundreds of thousands of cops, crooks, soldiers, insurgents and ordinary citizens”.

According to Wired, there are two primary biometric projects underway in Afghanistan.

“One is run by NATO forces, and uses the fingerprint readers, iris scanners and digital cameras of the Biometric Automated Toolset (.ppt) to capture information on detainees and other “persons of interest.” The U.S. military says it has assembled 410,000 of these biometric dossiers in the past year-and-a-half.

The second project, the Afghan Automated Biometric Identification System (AABIS), run by the Afghan government, collects data on Afghan National Army and police recruits.

Fingerprints, irises and faces are all scanned into Crossmatch Jump Kits. The kits are periodically brought back to Kabul, where the data is dumped into the AABIS mainframe — and cross-checked with biometric records from the Afghan National Detention Facility, Kabul Central Police Command, Counternarcotics Police of Afghanistan and FBI prison enrollments from Kabul, Herat and Kandahar.

As the report observes: “It’s a high-tech upgrade to a classic counterinsurgency move — simultaneously taking a census of the population, culling security forces of double agents and cutting off guerrilla routes”.

The Safran Group is buying L-1 Identity Solutions‘ biometric, identity and recruitment operations for around 1 billion. According to DefenceNews, the move will make the French aerospace and defence group the world’s biggest biometric identification company, “ahead of NEC of Japan and Cogent of the United States” (see also Safran’s press release).

Meanwhile, BAE Systems is buying L-1′s Intelligence Services Group for $296 million. “Their capabilities will enhance BAE Systems’ existing knowledge and expertise and will better position us to offer our government customers the security and intelligence support they need to complete their missions, now and in the future,” said Linda Hudson, president and CEO of BAE Systems, Inc.

BAE’s press release adds that “The acquisition of L-1′s Intelligence Services Group reflects BAE Systems’ global strategy to enhance and grow its business in the area of customer support and services, which includes cyber and security as well as readiness and sustainment activities. For the six months to 30 June 2010, this area of the business generated 49% of BAE Systems revenues.”

As The Times (20.9.10) observes: “as defence spending in traditional areas of procurement, such as warships and armoured vehicles, comes under pressure, BAE has increased its exposure to the well-funded security market.”

Human Recognition Systems (“the UK’s leading independent identity management and biometric specialists”) has entered into partnership with defence giant Thales and the UK Home Office to find “the airport security technology of the future” (a.k.a. INSTINCT-Technology Demonstrator 2).

INSTINCT-TD2 is described as “a government initiative to discover, trial and showcase emergent airport security technologies, solutions and ideas” (see HRS press release).

UK Security Minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones says: “The threat to our security is real and is evolving, and technology can play a key role in reducing that threat. This project shows how the Government is working with industry to find those innovative and emerging technologies.”

As are governments everywhere…


Transport Security Expo 2010 takes place in London next week, on 15-16 September, showcasing “a range of the innovative solutions for the Transportation Security arena”, including:

- Systems Integration
- Access Control & Biometric Solutions
- Blast Containment
- CCTV & Monitoring
- Explosive Detection
- RFID / Tracking
- Cargo Screening
- Seals / Tamper Evident Solutions
- Perimeter Security and Intrusion Detection
- Training & Consultancy Services
- Baggage Screening
- Passenger Screening
- Physical Security

The conference includes over 30 Workshop Sessions on ‘Securing Cargo’, ‘Perimeter Security’,  ‘Passenger Security’ and ‘Terminal Security’. Click here to view the full workshop programme.

The EU is also holding its annual security research conference this month, from 22-24 September in Ostend, see conference website.

SCR ’10 is focussed on the EU’s R&D programme (the security research component of FP7) and includes plenary sessions on “Halfway through FP7″,  “After Lisbon: The continuum of internal and external security” and “Security as a pre-requisite for prosperity”.

In addition, there are dedicated sessions on Maritime Security, Standardisation, CBRN, Cybersecurity, Transport Security, Security of the Citizens (sic), Security of Infrastructures, Restoring Security, Improving Security, Security and Society and the coordination of EU Security Research.

As with the Berlin security research conference, “ethics and justice” are squeezed into a single session (on Security and Society). The words privacy, human rights, governance and accountability do not appear anywhere in the conference programme.

The conference also includes a “brokerage event” and exhibition to “facilitate networking between companies, scientific experts, operators and policy makers”. More than one thousand participants are expected.

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) and the European Commission are co-organising a one and a half-day briefing tackling the “current state of play on security research, its challenges and its opportunities in the future”.

Counter-Terror Expo protest banner

Counter-Terror Expo protest banner (source: Demotix)

Demotix reports that a small group of protesters gathered outside Kensington Olympia yesterday to speak out against the Counter Terror Expo 2010 in London. There was a strong police presence inside and outside the event and one protester was arrested for writing “No more death for profit” and “Capitalism sucks” on the ground in front of the entrance.

The exhibition is sponsored by arms company Thales and organised by Clarion Events [responsible for Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi), the world’s largest arms fair and a long-standing target of anti-arms trade campaigners] and officially supported by a host of military, police and private security organisations. It features over 250 exhibitors, including leading arms companies such as BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, and is formally endorsed by the likes of the MoD and NATO.

You can read more about the goings on at the Counter-Terror Expo 2010 in SchNEWS and on Open Democracy, where Clare Sambrook has taken a close look at New Labour’s cosy relationship with the surveillance and detention industry.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers