Monday 9 January 2012

PressRelease: Brodie Clark and the scoop the media missed


Home Office
China (re Golden Shield)
Pakistan (re NADRA)
FBI (re NGI)
UIDAI (re Aadhaar)
Brodie Clark and the scoop the media missed
9 January 2012
It was such an easy story to write when the pack was let loose last November. Brodie Clark had endangered us all by suspending biometric checks at the border.
It was so easy that, when Brodie Clark gave evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, no-one noticed the bombshell he smuggled in.
Border security in the UK, the control of migration and the safety of the 2012 Olympics all depend, we are told by the UK Border Agency, on biometric checks. Hundreds of millions of pounds of public money – your money and mine – have been spent since the coalition government came to power on security systems which depend for their success on the biometrics used being reliable.
And what did Brodie Clark say? In a six-minute passage of his testimony, between 12:18 and 12:24 on 15 November 2011, he said that the fingerprint check is the least reliable security/identity check available at the border, it is the ninth and bottom priority for officers of the Border Force and when push comes to shove (literally) in the marshalling areas for airport arrivals, it is “very sensible” to suspend fingerprint checks, that is a practice of his former staff, he was at pains to emphasise, that he approved at the time and still approves of.
To paraphrase, Theresa May is quite right to be furious, but not with Brodie Clark. Her fury should properly be directed at the credulous adoption of expensive technology that doesn’t work. That is what threatens the security of the border and the control of migration and the safety of the Olympics.
It’s a major story. And the media missed it.
Luckily, the opportunity will soon be with us for the media to make good. Some time in the next few weeks John Vine, the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, will present his report on the Brodie Clark affair to the Home Office.
All eyes on John Vine and that report of his. Let’s get it right this time.
For background briefing, please see:

About Business Consultancy Services Ltd (BCSL):
BCSL has operated as an IT consultancy since 1984. The past 9 years have been spent campaigning against the Home Office's plans to introduce government ID cards into the UK. It must now be admitted that the Labour government 1997-2010 were much better at convincing people that these plans are a bad idea than anyone else, including BCSL.
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