So why did they want to do such a damnfoll thing in the first place?

BBC NEWS | UK | Heathrow fingerprint plan probed

The move will allow domestic and international passengers to mingle in the terminal’s departure lounge. The idea behind the fingerprinting is to make it impossible for a terrorist to arrive at Heathrow on a transit flight, then exchange boarding passes with a colleague in the departure lounge and join a domestic flight to enter the UK without being checked by immigration authorities. But Deputy Information Commissioner David Smith told the Mail on Sunday: “We want to know why Heathrow needs to fingerprint passengers at all. “Taking photographs is less intrusive. So far we have not heard BAA’s case for requesting fingerprints. “If we find there is a breach of data protection legislation, we would hope to persuade them to put things right. “If that is not successful we can issue an enforcement notice. If they don’t comply, it is a criminal offence and they can be prosecuted.”

The information commissioner is an idiot, because once you get into movie-plot threats it’s easy to imagine situations where a photograph doesn’t effectively identify someone. But BAA is idiots because fingerprint scanners don’t work very well at all in the quantities they’re talking about. If something goes pear-shaped one out of 10,000 times, that’s a half-dozen or more security incidents a day, and what the heck are they going to do with someone whose fingerprints don’t pass muster anyway?

And biggest question of all, why is it so important to let domestic and international passengers mingle in the nominally-secure area anyway? If you really think incoming transit passengers are a security problem, you don’t want them passing the whole contents of their carry-on kit to the domestic folks, or vice versa. And if you don’t think it’s an issue, why all the fuss. (For example, if they’re just sneaking into the country, they can do that without getting on a domestic flight…)

From their national ID cards on down, the history of recent british technology seems to have been solutions in desperate search of problems.

Update: It’s not really solutions in search of problems, it’s something screwier than that, a sort of techno-messianic self-destructiveness that’s hard to find a good analogy for. It’s like someone who hears that there will be anti-collision radars in cars any day now and makes a plan to buy the first anti-collision equipped car off the line and always drive it drunk. Just because the tech might be able to save you from the bad consequences of your actions, that doesn’t mean you should commit yourself to doing stupid things.

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