AS IF HEATHROW AIRPORT ISN’T HORRID enough already, when Terminal Five opens this later this week the British Airports Authority (BAA) as was – now it’s owned by a Spanish company, wants to take our fingerprints if we tip up in its cavernous hall.
The problem is that domestic and international travellers will mingle with each other in the shopping areas of Term Five – and BAA claims it wants to prevent the possibility of an international passenger meeting a domestic passenger when they meet in Harrods or another grocer emporium in the airport and swap boarding cards.
Yeah, well this has caused quite a bit of a stink here in Compliant Blighty. The Information Commissioner has said BAA has got no right to go fingerprinting anyone it wants to, while BAA has said it consulted with the Immigration Department and this is what it recommended.
BAA reckons that it will get rid of the fingerprints within 24 hours and they’ll be encrypted, but it misses the fundamental point that it’s a commercial outfit, and no one has granted it any rights to take dabs apart from itself. The Information Commissioner reckons that any passengers facing finger printing should just say no to the insecurity guys. Yeah right. Why are domestic passengers mingling with international passengers? Yeah – it’s so they can take advantage of the fantastic “shops” it appears and also pop into a pub for a pint of traditional British ale at more than it costs even in the heart of throbbing Soho.
The InfoComm office has got legal powers which it can exercise to sanction BAA for the creeping “surveillance society’ it’s always rabbiting on about. But if you’re a passenger in Term Five this time next week and the “insecurity officers” stop you boarding a fright because you won’t give your dabs over to a fly-by-night corporation like BAA, will that help you a jot? You could try calling the Information Commissioner on his phone – between 9AM to 5PM Monday to Friday – here, or drop him a postcard, and see if he’ll come down and help you out in office hours.
What’s next, DNA on your blinking Tesco loyalty card? ♥
* BOGGARD More at the Thunderer, here.