Misleading press releases

Waiting for an internal review by Home Office of their handling of this request.

Dear Home Office,

I refer to the press release 'High tech border control success' issued by the UK Border Agency on 23 November 2009, please see http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/siteco...

The press release asserts that nearly a million people have now passed through the "state-of-the-art facial recognition gates" installed at several UK airports and that this increases the nation's border security:

"The gates take seconds to scan each passenger's face against the digital photo recorded in their passport. If there is a match, the e-passport gates open, to allow the traveller across the border."

Biometrics based on facial geometry do not work, please see for example http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7568686.stm and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3... and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopi...

Given which, this pantomime cannot increase security. Given which, the press release is misleading.

The matter of misleading press releases issued by the Home Office has been raised with you before, in connection with another one of your executive agencies, the Identity & Passport Service, please see http://dematerialisedid.com/BCSL/Norming... A year later, the situation has not improved.

1. Would you please explain how the facial recognition facilities of these "smart gates" increase security.

2. If you can't, then please explain how the Home Office can continue to issue press releases which it knows to be misleading.

Yours faithfully,

David Moss

Freedom Of Information Team \( IND \), Home Office

Dear David Moss

Thank you for your recent e-mail concerning the above matter

[1][FOI #27468 email] - Press Releases

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom Of
Information Act 2000 and we will respond shortly.

Kind Regards

UKBA

FOI Team

Dear Home Office,

I refer to the press release 'High tech border control success'

issued by the UK Border Agency on 23 November 2009, please see

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/siteco...

The press release asserts that nearly a million people have now

passed through the "state-of-the-art facial recognition gates"

installed at several UK airports and that this increases the

nation's border security:

"The gates take seconds to scan each passenger's face against the

digital photo recorded in their passport. If there is a match, the

e-passport gates open, to allow the traveller across the border."

Biometrics based on facial geometry do not work, please see for

example http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7568686.stm and

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3...

and

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopi...

Given which, this pantomime cannot increase security. Given which,

the press release is misleading.

The matter of misleading press releases issued by the Home Office

has been raised with you before, in connection with another one of

your executive agencies, the Identity & Passport Service, please

see http://dematerialisedid.com/BCSL/Norming... A year later,

the situation has not improved.

1. Would you please explain how the facial recognition facilities

of these "smart gates" increase security.

2. If you can't, then please explain how the Home Office can

continue to issue press releases which it knows to be misleading.

Yours faithfully,

David Moss

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom Of Information Team ( IND ),

It is now 6 weeks since my initial request made on 22 January 2010. A reply was expected in 4 weeks. Could I ask you please for a response.

The UK Border Agency's 23 November 2009 press release asserts that these smart gates at airports increase our security. And yet at a meeting with them on 23 February 2010 [1], three months later, the Agency said that this is just a trial of the gates. The same point is made in a letter from Lin Homer, the Chief Executive [2].

If it's a trial, the press release is misleading. If the smart gates are thought to be reliable, then the public deserves and needs to see the evidence. We need a reason to believe. We can't just take it on faith.

I look forward to your prompt and full response.

Yours sincerely,

David Moss

1. http://dematerialisedid.com/BCSL/Faith.h...

2. http://dematerialisedid.com/BCSL/UKBA201...

Dear Home Office,

Please pass this on to the Information Access Team, Home Office, Ground Floor, Seacole Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF, for a Freedom of Information internal review.

The 'Misleading press releases' request was submitted two months ago and acknowledged three days later. Since then there has been no response.

A full history of the FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mi...

Yours faithfully,

David Moss

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org