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UK Police Implement Roadside Fingerprinting Tools

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the blood-and-urine-samples-next dept.

191

mormop writes to tell us the BBC is reporting that police in the UK have implemented a pilot program that allows officers to fingerprint drivers using a small handheld scanner connected to a database of approximately 6.5 million prints. From the article: "Officers promise prints will not be kept on file but concerns have been raised about civil liberties. [...] It is primarily aimed at motorists because banned or uninsured drivers often give false names, although pedestrians could also be asked to give prints if they are suspected to have committed an offence."

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On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953136)

from the blood-and-urine-samples-next dept.
Of course, news of a dip-stick test was released two days ago [sciencedaily.com] . I imagine cops might be given authority to draw blood at the scene of a crime and use standard testing kits installed in their cars. Scary? Yeah, kind of--although I think probably cause would have to be very very high for this kind of invasion of privacy. Any lawyers out there know what the law (local or federal) says about forced blood & UA analysis?

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953324)

Papers, please? More like DNA, please lolamirite?

"Sir, it says here you have an elevated chance of alcoholism in your family. Please come with us."

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953368)

Of course, news of a dip-stick test was released two days ago [sciencedaily.com]. I imagine cops might be given authority to draw blood at the scene of a crime and use standard testing kits installed in their cars. Scary? Yeah, kind of--although I think probably cause would have to be very very high for this kind of invasion of privacy. Any lawyers out there know what the law (local or federal) says about forced blood & UA analysis?


Well, I'm no lawyer, but the courts have ruled time and time again that roadside breathalyser tests are legal. The basic idea is that you don't have to consent to a breathalyser test; however, the police equally don't have to let you go if they suspect you'd fail it. Essentially you are within your Constitutional right to refuse one, but the police are also within their authority to arrest you on the spot (since they have probable cause) and you'll have to explain yourself to the judge, while the cop tells that judge his estimation of whether or not you were impaired at the time you refused the breathalyser.

I imagine that roadside "dip-sticking" and roadside fingerprinting would fall under the same category.

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953776)

"The basic idea is that you don't have to consent to a breathalyser test; however, the police equally don't have to let you go if they suspect you'd fail it"

I presume that is in the US. It is a criminal offence to refuse to give a breathalyser test in the UK. In a bid to deter people from refusing the penalties for it are, in most cases, more severe than what you would get for being over the limit.

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953874)

Step 1: Provide incentive to commit a crime
Step 2: Profit
Step 3: ???

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954292)

For the UK Side of this im sure your wrong.

Ok most of my sources are tv shows where the police are followed and seen to work, but i've seen enough different shows to notice the idea is

1. you may take the beatherliser test
2. if you decide not you, then you are over the limit and placed under arrest, taken to the station where you are given a (more acuturate) blood test and then if you fail this, your taken to court etc.

You dont get taken to court for not taking a beatherliser, however, if you become abusive or whatever, then its restricting the right of justice or something simular. Obstructing the law... etc

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954508)

...im sure your wrong...
...the beatherliser test...
...if you decide not you...
...your taken...

You no speakee Engrish? [you're, breathaliser, grammar etc.]

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954514)

Well, I'm at least pretty sure the poster I was replying to is from the U.S. and was asking from a U.S. perspective. We Americans are so very ethnocentric, don't you know?

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the UK law is similar to the U.S. law in this regard. I did leave the part out about being subjected to the (more accurate) blood test in some U.S. states for purposes of simplicity, and I'm pretty sure its required in the U.K. if you refuse the breathalyser.

(It's important to remember that criminal law in the U.S. is based heavily on criminal law in the U.K., and while there are differences, there are more similarities than differences.)

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (2, Informative)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954516)

In the US, when you sign for your license you agree to accept breathalizer test. You can refuse to take it once prompted, but you will lose your license. I don't know if they can then bring criminal charges against you though.

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954652)

Another thing to consider when you decline a breathalyser: In some states, your driving permit is dependant on compliance with requests for a breathalyser test. You can decline, you can still be arrested, and on top of that you would get your permit revoked, regardless if you were drunk.

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (1)

xerxes1414 (1030182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955048)

Almost all states in the US have the notion of "implied consent" when it comes to issuing driver's licenses. Basically, the concept is that any person who operates a motor vehicle on a roadway automatically gives consent for the state administered chemical tests of one's blood, breathe or urine if the police officer has probable cause to believe that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. One still has the right to refuse the state administered test, however refusal carries almost the same penalties as an actual DUI conviction (suspension of driver's license, fines, etc). Here in Georgia, the suspect also has the right to request his OWN blood-alcohol content test from a doctor or facility of his own choosing after taking the state-administered test (within reason: one cannot request the test be adminitered at some hospital on the other side of the state).

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (3, Informative)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953406)

Only registered medical professionals can draw blood for tests (at least in Texas), peace officers and jailers cannot. You have to have a certain certification to do breathalizer tests, otherwise it can be brought up in court and have the charges possibly dismissed. When arrested for DWI, the officer can ask you for either a breath or blood test (at least in Texas, and my local city's police policy is to ask for both, but legally it isn't required to ask for both, only one of the officer's choosing). If you choose to refuse, your license is automatically suspended for 180 days (90 if you choose the test, but fail). The reason being when you received your driver's license, you agreed to take the breath/blood test ("implied consent") and that, if you refuse, you forfeit your licensed status for a period of time.

Send your license back! (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955014)

It's a big scam anyway, that most people do not realize:

Do you really need a Driver's License [servebeer.com] ?

Re:On the Fly UA & Blood Tests (1)

diersing (679767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953580)

IMNAL, but I believe the law supports you being compelled to supply body fluids for testing. Its been a few years, but back in the 90's when being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving you had your choice of blood, urine, or breath testing once back at the station. This is one area, where 5th amendment protection usually doesn't apply (since its considered a search).

link? (3, Funny)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953148)

will i get fingerprinted if i ask for link?

Probable cause (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953160)

although pedestrians could also be asked to give prints if they are suspected to have committed an offence.

In the US the police need "probable cause" but they usually just make that up if you object to a search or some other privacy infringing action.

Re:Probable cause (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953372)

"Intefering with an investigation" is pretty much against the law everywhere, regardless of how it's worded. Your objection is a crime in and of itself.

Re:Probable cause (5, Insightful)

Who235 (959706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953570)

Yeah, but don't worry.
Officers promise prints will not be kept on file

See? They promise not to abuse their power, so it's all okey-dokey. They won't put all your information in a huge database and track your every move until the day you lie deep in the cold, cold ground and are no longer a threat.
In the US the police need "probable cause" but they usually just make that up if you object to a search or some other privacy infringing action.

Probable cause? What a quaint, old-fashioned notion! Today, if you really piss them off, they can just call you an enemy combatant and disappear your ass to Gitmo. You can talk to your extreme renditioner "Mr Smith" about probable cause all day long while he's making you think you're going to drown and hooking your nuts up to a car battery. Don't fret, though. If you haven't done anything wrong, then you don't have anything to worry about. Just sit back, relax, and watch your rights sail out the window like everyone else's while we band together to bring those big bad terrorists, immigrants, uninsured motorists, pedophiles, deadbeat dads, and jaywalkers to justice.

Jebus, people. This is really getting out of control.

Re:Probable cause (3, Insightful)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953940)

Jebus, people. This is really getting out of control.

I know. But like the frog slowly being brought to boil not enough people will get this until it is too late. Heck, it probably is too late already. I worry all the time about this and although the majority of people I know and work with agree to some extent nobody is really in a position to do anything about it. Who wants to stick their neck out and maybe get arrested and banned from travelling for instance?

Conclusion: we're screwed and it will only get worse.

PS: As a typical /. guy I love all the technology but if it's used to enslave mankind to the machine no amount of blue LEDs is gonna make up for it.

Re:Probable cause (2, Informative)

Who235 (959706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954414)

Well, there is something we can do, but we have to do it together.

People around here are (rightfully) always quoting the Constitution. Allow me to take a line or two from one of our other venerated documents.

--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Re:Probable cause (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954348)

In the United States the only way your prints are kept on file is if you commit a crime and are charged. Otherwise civil fingerprint checks only look to see if there is a hit, they don't store the prints.

I know this because I have intimate knowledge of the system used.

Re:Probable cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954640)

Of course everyone who is charged with a crime commited it. I'm sure if someone is found not guilty, they simply destroy the file.... Yeah right.

Re:Probable cause (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954452)

You equated pedophiles and terrorists with jaywalkers. I'm not sure how that qualifies as "Insightful."

They'll drag out "implied consent." (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953624)

They'll just invent some form of "implied consent" just like they do when you're driving a car.

Eventually it's going to get to the point where just by walking out of your house in the morning, you're going to automatically "consent" to being fingerprinted, having your DNA sequenced, your retinas scanned, and your anus probed; and if you don't, they'll invent some sort of punishment for noncompliance. Or just Mace the hell out of you and do it anyway.

Sure, they'll say, you don't have to consent -- you can just live inside your house 24/7. Just like, theoretically, you can walk everywhere instead of driving a car. By creating a totally impractical straw man, they allow you a "choice" to give up your rights, only without any other realistic option.

Re:Probable cause (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954364)

Here in the UK they have a number of 'cover all' charges. The one that was used against me was 'behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace'.

Next morning, tired and battered from a night in the cells, are you going to accuse a police officer of lying or are you going to take 'being bound over to keep the peace' for the sake of a quiet life. Believe me, it's a no brainer when you're there.

What about a driver's license? (4, Interesting)

Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953188)

Am I missing something (which is possible, since there's no article to reference), or are they spending a ton of money to solve a problem with a simple solution?

Their rational is that "it is primarily aimed at motorists because banned or uninsured drivers often give false names". Isn't this what a Driver's License is for? Or do British not have licenses (or not require that drivers carry licenses)?

If someone doesn't have a license, or any other form of photo identification, they probably shouldn't be driving. It sounds like it would be far cheaper (and less of a privacy concern) to haul in anybody driving without a valid photo ID, since these people are more likely to be uninsured or banned.

Or if the thought of hauling in folks without IDs is unappealing (since many people just forget to carry IDs), police could just ask the person a few key questions (such as name, address, city, maybe some type of social security #), which would be in the police database. Then this could be cross referenced against the auto registration. Seems easy to verify that the individual is telling the truth using existing data without resorting to finger prints.

Of course, you could have someone who stole their neighbors car + memorized their name/address/social, but this type of person would have probably created a good fake ID as well ... meaning they wouldn't have been caught by the finger printing method either.

Re:What about a driver's license? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953310)

"since these people are more likely to be uninsured or banned. "
not true at all.

Re:What about a driver's license? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953660)

Not saying you're wrong, but can you point to some evidence against his assertion, which seems to be self-evidently true?

Re:What about a driver's license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954706)

I have insurance and never (ordinarily) carry my driving licence.

Re:What about a driver's license? (3, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953322)

We have drivers licenses, but we're not required to have it at any time. We are given a grace period in which to produce our details at your local Police station. Forcing everyone to have their ID at the same time will just turn all those who forget their IDs into criminals - as opposed to just those who lie when asked their details. "Papers, please!"

Re:What about a driver's license? (2, Insightful)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954526)

I don't see how requiring proof that you are a licensed motor vehicle operator while operating a motor vehicle is a gestapo tactic. Requiring proof of identification when you are not operating a dangerous, fast moving piece of metal, certainly could be.

Re:What about a driver's license? (0, Flamebait)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953482)

in the police database. Then this could be cross referenced against the auto registration.

You'd think you could do this, but thanks to decades (centuries? millennia?) of government balkanization, not only can the police database not talk to the auto registration database, but the auto registration department is full of incompetent pansies who sit on their ass all day and suck budget money that would have better gone to be police database, so even if they could talk to each other, why would the police database WANT to talk to their useless pile of junk?

Re:What about a driver's license? (1)

Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953612)

Sorry, I didn't mean the registration database, but the physical registration itself. Or is this not required to be carried in the U.K. either? In the U.S., it is required that this is carried when driving, and in some states (such as Maryland) they'll take you to the police station if you do not have both a photo ID and a registration (unfortunately I speak from experience here, brand new car and left license/registration at home, oops).

Re:What about a driver's license? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953880)

By registration, what do you mean? If you mean what we call the V5 or "logbook" (i.e., a document that changes hands along with the car as an official ownership record), no it isn't a requirement to carry it. It's required when purchasing tax for the vehicle (which must be prominently displayed in the vehicle whenever it is on the public road), or if the police give you notice requiring you to produce it, but that's about it.

Re:What about a driver's license? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954590)

Your "logbook" is our "title". Your "purchasing tax" (holy crap, everything is a tax in the UK isn't it?) is our registration, I imagine. Americans have to reregister the car periodically (this varies from state to state) and this involves a license plate sticker and sometimes a window sticker.

Re:What about a driver's license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953578)

We do indeed have photo licences, although older drivers may not have them if they obtained their licence before the introduction of photo-ID.

police could just ask the person a few key questions (such as name, address, city, maybe some type of social security #), which would be in the police database. Then this could be cross referenced against the auto registration.


Thats exactly what do now. If they smell a rat on the details you provide you are then hauled in to the station. Otherwise they ask you to produce the relevant documents at a police station of your choice within 14 days.

Re:What about a driver's license? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953582)

In Britain there is currently no need to carry any identification on you.

If you are stopped by the Police whilst driving, you can be required to produce your documents (Driving Licence, Insurance & MOT) at a Police Station within seven days. Only newer Driving Licences have photographs.

If you are stopped by the Police you will be asked your name, address and date of birth.

Re:What about a driver's license? (5, Insightful)

IIH (33751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953696)

Isn't this what a Driver's License is for? Or do British not have licenses (or not require that drivers carry licenses)?

No, you aren't required to carry it with you, but are supposed to produce it on request within a certain number of days.

However, it is clear to me that this is aimed at forcing the adoption of biometric ID cards (or more accurately the ID database behind it), just in smaller steps.

  1. First it will only be used for those without their licence on them. (for reasons given)
  2. Then it will be used to verify they are the person in the licence (pictures can be faked, gotta check your biometrics, sir).
  3. Then as a result of 1 and 2 above, they already have biometrics of most people on file, so the database is mostly complete.
  4. Biometric ID cards introduced (usual reasons given) - "not compulsary" you know)
  5. We have everyones's biometrics, so send them a card whether they requested it or not (we have the data, we're being nice and making it easy for them)
  6. Then, then most people have biometric id cards, make them a legal requirement (everyone has them, and it "stops crime/bad guys")
  7. Viola.

In short this is step one of the "Barcode Britain" process.

A parallel step is happening in 2008, where non-EU nationals in the UK will require an ID card to receive several services [bbc.co.uk] , but eu people won't, but the obvious question is how will someone prove they are an eu nationals? Result - forcing people to get an ID card in order so they don't need to show ID card. Only a government can think that twisted!

Re:What about a driver's license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953754)

I think part of the reason is that people who don't have insurance etc give false details. That is why they are introducing this (per my memory of what they said on the radio).

In-patrol-car computers? (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953770)

Seems like the easier solution, and the far less creepy one, is just to hook the police cars up with terminals that communicate with the drivers-license database, including its photos.

When you get pulled over, you'd either present your license, which they could then take back to their patrol car (or just note the number) and run into the system to find if it's suspended, or if you forgot your license, they could look you up based on name/address/DOB and using the photo attached to the record in the system, see that it's you. That also makes it harder to use a fake license, since it wouldn't come up in the system, or to use someone else's license, because the photo on the record wouldn't be you. It also lets the police use a much bigger / higher quality photo (on the screen) for identification, than the crappy one on the license itself.

That wouldn't require any more data collection than what they assumedly have already (assuming they use photographic drivers licenses and that the photos are digitized), and it doesn't involve sampling previously uncollected data from lots of people. Randomly fingerprinting people is tres creepy, in my opinion.

I've never really looked too hard at the systems in use here in the U.S., but I think that they work something like this. (The cities that have in-car computer systems, anyway.) I'm sure that whoever makes these systems would be happy to demo them in Britain.

Re:In-patrol-car computers? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953984)

Seems like the easier solution, and the far less creepy one, is just to hook the police cars up with terminals that communicate with the drivers-license database, including its photos.

While all new issue drivers licenses in the UK are photocard licenses, this has only been the case for around six or seven years. Licenses issued prior to that don't have an associated photo, and there's no law requiring replacement of licenses over time. These two factors together effectively make such a database (even if one exists, which I'm not sure about) useless.

Re:In-patrol-car computers? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954256)

They don't that.

The idea is to fish for as many crimes as possible to increase their score. As we all know, arrests raise your rank on the server.

Re:What about a driver's license? (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954210)

As other people have mentioned you have to have a driving licence, insurance, MOT in order to drive on the road but you do not have to have the documentation on you at all times. In most cases you will be asked to produce the relevant documents at a police station within 7 days if you're stopped.

The problem the government says this system is addressing is that sometimes people lie about their identity and try to pretend they are someone else so there is no come back when they don't turn up at the station with their documents ( most likely 'cos they never bothered getting them ).

I see some problems with this however, firstly the only database of fingerprints they have to test against are those of known criminals who have been arrested at some point for something else. It's probably fair to say that people driving around without insurance or a driving licence are more likely to have criminal records than people who are driving legally but I bet that its going to be a fairly low percentage of people who are stopped and don't have the correct documentation are actually going to be matched in their fingerprint database. This obviously is going to make no difference whatsoever for the majority of people the police stop and whos identity they need to verify.

The two ways you could make this system work are either by embarking on a wholesale fingerprint collection drive with the aim of fingerprinted the entire population so that you would always get a match in the database or by requiring fingerprints to get a driving licence and checking against that database.

In order to get a set of fingerprints for each driving licence you'd need to persuade current licence holders to take the time out to go to the police station or a suitable location to be fingerprinted which isn't going to go down at all well and would be a more or less suicidal policy for any government to suggest.

The government has already made up a law to require anyone who is arrested to be fingerprinted whether or not they actually guilty of anything so it would seem they are aiming for the stealthy approach to gather all our fingerprints without us noticing.

At present they aren't legally allowed to demand fingerprints from drivers which is why in this trial they say they are not keeping the prints and you can opt out of providing them. You can bet that once they have forced the relevant laws through it will become an offense not to provide your prints when asked by a traffic cop and that they will be held on record forever. If this isn't the aim then this system is a total waste of everyones time and money.

Re:What about a driver's license? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954232)

r if the thought of hauling in folks without IDs is unappealing (since many people just forget to carry IDs), police could just ask the person a few key questions (such as name, address, city, maybe some type of social security #), which would be in the police database. Then this could be cross referenced against the auto registration. Seems easy to verify that the individual is telling the truth using existing data without resorting to finger prints.

Umm, that's rather what they do now....

COP: "Dispatch, Alpha12, 27/29 on Alaska DVV-504"
DISPATCH: "Alpha12, DVV-504 comes back to a 2000 White GMC Pickup licensed to Joe Driver, 202 Anywhere St. License is clear and valid."
COP (who as asked some terribly personal questions like "Who are you and why did you forget your wallet") goes "Thanks, Mr. Driver, watch those rolling stops, sir and remember to keep your driver's license with you. Have a nice day."

See, problem solved. Old tech.

Re:What about a driver's license? (2, Interesting)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954566)

If someone doesn't have a license, or any other form of photo identification, they probably shouldn't be driving.

The UK only adopted a photo based driver's license in the last...8 years maybe? What's interesting about that is the photo was added because the European Union decided to standardize licenses with a photograph--time and time again, the British claimed that they had no need to have a photo based license and that their non-photo paper licenses worked just fine. (Unlike North American style non-photo driver's licenses, I was not given the impression that the UK non-photo had a description of the bearer (height, weight, eye color, hair color.)

There is some sorta weird and very desperate urge for national ID cards in the UK. But suffice it to say, the American and British experience has proven that the photograph is not a requirement for maintaining motor vehicle safety.

Re:What about a driver's license? (1)

kraut (2788) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954798)

That would be far too cheap, sensible and low-tech for our beloved leader St. Anthony.

Think about it, we're trying to address a simple problem: We'd like to ascertain, to a reasonable level of confidence, that people driving their cars a) have a valid license and b) valid insurance.

Most other countries in the world solve this problem by saying that you need to carry your driving license and car papers when you drive, and show them when asked.

In Britain, they give you seven days to show them at a police station of your choice, which presumably worked nicely in 1935 when, according to Miss Marples, even the criminals were honest. Clearly spending 5 pounds on changing the law so you have to have to present it at the roadside would be far too stupid.

I'd love to invoke Hanlon's razor (Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice. ..), but nobody can really be that stupid. Not even a politician.

Gattica (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953198)

Should they consider using either a mouth swab or finger prick to get DNA from each motorist? Fingerprints are so 20th century.

BTW - any progress on requiring mandatory dander and skin sampling from the cars interior as well as personal clothing to determine likely associations, so that a UK-wide personal interaction map? You know they've thought of it, but just haven't figured out the logistics for a full roll-out.

Re:Gattica (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953318)

Mouth swabs and finger pricks are clumsy and unreliable methods of DNA collection, traffic cops aren't qualified to administer medical procedures. We need something more self-service. How about handing a pulled-over suspect an underwear catalogue and a cup, and ordering them to.. well, you know?

Call me old fashioned... (4, Informative)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953210)

Re:Call me old fashioned... (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953690)

Officers will scan a vehicle's number plates using a special camera that checks if the car is subject to an offence, like being uninsured.

Being insured is a state of the driver, not the vehicle. To imply that "not being on a database of cars that have been named by somebody as their primary vehicle when purchasing insurance" is equivalent to being "subject to an offence" is just wrong. This technique throws up a huge number of both false positives and false negatives.

If the driver does not convince police he is giving them a correct name, they will fingerprint him and verify his identity on the spot, instead of taking him to the police station.

Generally, at the moment (having been subject to such a stop) I can tell you that the police do believe you, in most cases. You give them your name, try to phone an insurance company, and if they can't verify your identity on the spot, you're given 14 days to send proof of being insured to the police. But will they believe you if they have this fingerprinting machine? Is refusing to be fingerprinted enough to make them take you to the station? I suspect so.

Re:Call me old fashioned... (1)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954030)

> Being insured is a state of the driver, not the vehicle. To imply that "not being on a database of cars that have been named
> by somebody as their primary vehicle when purchasing insurance" is equivalent to being "subject to an offence" is just wrong.
> This technique throws up a huge number of both false positives and false negatives.

That may be true for insurance, but in the UK, every car is required to have "road tax" paid on it. The tax is paid on the car, not the driver. If the registered owner of the car has not paid roadtax and has not declared the car "off the road", then he is committing an offence - even if he has sold the car to someone else (and hasn't registered the transaction with the DVLA [dvla.gov.uk] ).

Re:Call me old fashioned... (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954162)

That may be true for insurance, but in the UK, every car is required to have "road tax" paid on it. The tax is paid on the car, not the driver. If the registered owner of the car has not paid roadtax and has not declared the car "off the road", then he is committing an offence - even if he has sold the car to someone else (and hasn't registered the transaction with the DVLA).

True, but in this case there's no need to identify the driver, is there? So I don't see why fingerprinting the driver would be useful. Just make a note that the car has been seen on the road, and get a fine sent to the car's registered keeper. Much simpler. Much less hassle for everyone. No need for scary-sounding technology that we have to trust the police are using the way they're supposed to, and not abusing somehow.

Re:Call me old fashioned... (1)

hkgroove (791170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954832)

Being insured is a state of the driver, not the vehicle.
I think you're referring to the UK, but if you're referring to the U.S., 99.999% of the time insurance follows the vehicle. Yes, policies do exist which follow the Named Insured, but, again, in the U.S. they are rare and more expensive. The vehicle is insured and policy rates are based on the state of the driver (driving history, sometimes credit). We don't have the luxury of a grace period for proving we have insurance. Many officers will call to verify coverage in the event of a missing ID card or other acceptable proof of insurance, however if by chance you forget with whom you have insurance, some states will tow your car on the spot (New York) and you may even be arrested.

If you do not have insurance or a car (therefore no need for insurance) and borrow a friend's car to drive, you are driving under your friend's policy which follows their car.

Most of the time, the only time it follows the driver is if you rent a car. Most insurance policies follow the driver in this instance. This does varies by company so you may want to ask what your insurance company's policy is in regards to rental cars.

Re:Call me old fashioned... (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954922)

Being insured is a state of the driver, not the vehicle.

And siezure laws are worded very carefully because of that. You aren't guilty of not registering, the car is. And since it has no due process rights... yoink!

Privacy Doesn't Exist (2, Informative)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953224)

Privacy is a myth.

I did a search a for a company I hadn't done business with in 10 years (no kidding) and visited their website for the first time ever and a week later their catalog showed up in the mail.

Somehow they had the cookies and partnerships to identify me and send me a catalog in my name.

If that's the extent of privacy anyway, then I have no problem with people being stopped with reason being required to give fingerprints. In fact, I think the same should be required on any flight entering or leaving the country, if it isn't already. And those should be stored.

Yeah (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953286)

Officers promise prints will not be kept on file

Oh. Well. That's OK then. (glazed happy stare)

Wait. Why is my tail all bushy? Spidey sense tingling.

function-creep (3, Insightful)

brainburger (792239) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953396)

Hmmm this isn't good. I wonder if they will simply record the prints for checking against a db later, or if they have wireless abilities to check for a match at the scene? If they don't then they soon will.
That technology would be very likely to be subject to function-creep. I could imagine a lot of situations where it might be argued that on-the-spot print-matching would protect 'us', from age-checks when buying alcohol, to entitlement to emergency medical care, and more.
I am afraid that way too many people will cheerfully abandon privacy if they think it will save them in tax.
Not that I am paranoid, or anything.

Re:function-creep (1)

brainburger (792239) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953478)

I am about to be told-off for not RTFA (they do have a db available) - sorry about this but I am in the middle of something else at work. My main point of function-creep still stands.

Re:function-creep (1)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953536)

> I wonder if they will simply record the prints for checking against a db later, or if they have wireless abilities to check for a match at the scene?

The wireless check takes a few minutes and is conducted at the scene, from TFA.

> to entitlement to emergency medical care

Much as I deplore the current big-brother creep in UK society, I don't thing we're anywhere, anywhere near denying emergency medical care to anyone.

Re:function-creep (1)

rsturbonutter (518391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954416)

Customs and Immigration already have mobile fingerprint scanners they use here in the UK, and it works by being connected to a mobile phone which acts as a modem, though I'm not sure if it uses GSM or GPRS for the data connection.

the privacy game will soon be over (3, Insightful)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953442)

I think the privacy game will soon be over, and the winner will be your government.

It is only a matter of time until a suitable technology arises that can accurately verify identities in a non intrusive way.
For example:
  • Using advanced optics and image recognition to do retina recognition from afar
  • Recognizing your bone structure from afar - without radiation.


Everybody knows that the one who does the technological breakthrough will be very rich - it is only a matter of time. Then we human beings will be exactly like cars- with an (invisible) license plate.

Re:the privacy game will soon be over (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954042)

I think the privacy game will soon be over, and the winner will be your government.

The privacy game ended years ago as far as junk mail goes. No matter how many times I move house I still get junk mail addressed to me...

Re:the privacy game will soon be over (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954220)

I read a story (By Zelazny, I think) some years back about a society that had accomplished the goal of being able to identify everyone using a big computer system. Everything about the person was recorded in the system. The hero of the story had a backdoor into the system so that he could change his data and assume any identity he wanted to. Since the computer was "infallable" no one every questioned his identity, perfect for the undercover work that he did.

We're getting closer and closer to such systems in reality and there will come a day when no one questions the output of The System because The System is infallable. I wonder how many people will be able to change their identity at will when that time comes. I'm pretty sure the number will be greater than 0.

Re:the privacy game will soon be over (0, Offtopic)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954464)

Everybody knows that the one who does the technological breakthrough will be executed so the technology does not fall into "the terr'ists" hands

Fixed.

Records won't be kept. LOL (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953460)

On the good side,
Once we have a completely transparent society of where everyone goes and what everyone does, perhaps it will be more difficult for a lot of fun behavior to be outlawed.
In the past, everyone did stuff (adultery -- 50% of men AND women by the 7th year of marriage) but pretended it didn't happen and was a bad thing.
In the new future, your life will be an open book.

Re:Records won't be kept. LOL (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953884)

Yeah, but would you WANT anyone to know you'd laid another slashdotter??

Or worse, that you didn't get laid at all??

No, reverse that...

Re:Records won't be kept. LOL (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954442)

Well... as the old saying goes,

Even bad sex is pretty good.

And I imagine most slashdotters, being geeky, have read Donald Hick's (which I first got by bit-torrent in a collection of 137 other similar books on technique) outstanding work on the g-spot and other similar excellent books*.

One would hope more than average of them are pretty open-minded and have active fantasy lives too.
Not so sure about the hygiene part tho.

---
* The top two books I got through BT in the last 3 years resulted in a mind-blowing multi-hour g-spot orgasm for her and the ability to multi-o for me. The second is a cute trick. You learn how to use your pc muscles (the ones you work with kegel excersizes) to turn off ejaculating until you want to do so. Once you have that down you can keep getting aroused all day long until you actually do allow your self release. Both are reasonably priced off of Amazon (like under $10 used). I think the second one has a title like "how to make love all night" and is written by a female sex therapist.

I know it is off-topic but Donald Hick's book is *amazing* stuff. It covers the emotional aspects as well as the physical aspects. A complete 10 step roadmap of what to do- what not to do- and what to look for before proceeding to the next step each time. For her it was clearly a deeply spiritual experience. I can only wonder what it's like from the outside myself.

Apologies for gushing. B)

So, lets review for a moment. (4, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953472)

In the UK they have or will have:
  • 360 helmet cams for police.
  • RFID tags in department stores
  • Video surveillance on most streets
  • "Smart" passports
  • and now this

There also was that street fee thing, but I forget what that was all about. Sounds like the beginnings of a police state to me.

Re:So, lets review for a moment. (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953780)

that doesn't make it a police state... lets see

"360 helmet cams for police."
This will make it easier to record people who actually are committing crimes as well as stopping the police from doing illegal searches or tasering people (because all the evidence of their acts will be there for the court to see). Police state? no.

"RFID tags in department stores"
That they remove when you buy the product - it stops theft and causes no problems for anyone else. Police state? no.

"Video surveillance on most streets"
Might help reduce crime or help with conviction rates but they are not connected nor are people watching them all the time. Police state? no.

""Smart" passports"
Well, they are a stupid idea (although I think it has a lot to do with presures from America to aid with entry of our people) but they in no way make it a police state most people will only carry them when they go on holidy out of the country. Police state? no.

"And now this"
This, that doesn't record your finger prints and can't keep them. It won't give the police to arrest anyone save for those who shouldn't be driving, and it is only like this because we don't require people to carry their ID with them when they drive (they give you a period of a few days to produce it if they require), so this can be seen as protecting people's rights not to have to carry papers everywhere.

Re:So, lets review for a moment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954340)

This, that doesn't record your finger prints and can't keep them.
But it must transmit at least some part of your finger prints into the central system. Who knows what happens that end?

I'm not trying to FUD but I'd be seriously surprised if it didn't retain the prints for at least some period for system diagnostics. There'll certainly be an 'officer XYZ submitted prints into the system at time 123: no match' audit trail and that'd be next to useless to prove negligence/police abuse of the system with if it didn't record the prints submitted.

Not that I care anyway, I'm fairly relaxed about this privacy stuff. (Love, AC.)

Re:So, lets review for a moment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953886)

Time to dust off those old 1812 tapes?

ID cards (1)

theonlyholle (720311) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953476)

I bet mandatory ID cards don't sound like such a bad idea now...

Re:ID cards (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953568)

switching one intrusion for another doesnt sound like a good idea to me.

Re:ID cards (1)

theonlyholle (720311) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953730)

I still don't get it why people think having to carry a photo ID with you is such an intrusion. No, it's not a fundamental human right to remain anonymous. As the article says, people do give false names to the police. "The state" is what *you* make it - in an ideal world, everyone would just behave and none of these things, be it fingerprinting or ID cards, would be necessary. But we don't live in that kind of world and I'd rather just quickly show my photo ID than go through the process of fingerprinting to establish my identity, to be quite honest.

Re:ID cards (1)

AtomicBomb (173897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954822)

>>I bet mandatory ID cards don't sound like such a bad idea now...
I guess someone in the government must be waiting for the people to say something like this. I feel it is just a tactic to push for the proposed national ID card in UK. Maybe embedding a IC tag to the back of the head of everyone (like pets) does not seem to be a very far-fetching idea....

Fingerprint Checkpoints? (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953484)

I can see it now in the US, Fingerprinting Checkpoints.... or law enforcement can take another angle and simply integrate this technology into existing DUI check points.... hence protecting the children and fighting terrorists all at the same time. Of course, fingerprinting devices, like all other devices, will be quickly defeated with simple, commercially available aids (such as acrylics) for those who really want to beat such a device. The only people this will affect are the average imperfect, trying to abide by the laws they dont understand/know exist, citizens. On a positive note, those are the ones who actually pay the fines, so kudo's for the new innovation to help make local/state/fed government more money.

Good (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953492)

use fingerprints for everything, then when databases start geting comprimized, they will relized it won't work and give up.

Re:Good (1)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953952)

Usually these kind of devices only take 2 fingers's images (both indexes), analyze the image and only keep the position and relation of the minutiae in a vector-ish format, which can't be used to reproduce the original print and can't be used to compare to latent prints lifted from a crime scene. It is only used to identify or authenticate a person's identity.
Here they use them in a different way. Each week or so, a list of wanted criminals (that is, with a search order released by a judge), is updated, and the prints of those persons is loaded into the mobile devices (they can hold up to about 50k print typically).
The police then uses the devices on the road, as an additional check when they stop someone. They ask the person to place their finger over the reader, the device scans the image, translates the minutiae and compares them against those in the database. If there's a hit, it means there's a 99,98% chance the person is on the wanted list, and the police take the person in custody to perform a more exhaustive identification process at the local police station.
It may not be perfect, but it's better than police officers pointing fingers at citizens authoritatively, and taking them for identification just because they 'look suspicious' (yes, that used to happen here)

Book 'em? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953504)

although pedestrians could also be asked to give prints if they are suspected to have committed an offence.

Last time I checked, standard procedure with pedestrians etc was to bring them in to the police off, then - if need be - fingerprint them. What's the benefit in most cases of doing so on-scene?

Re:Book 'em? (1)

Si (9816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953692)

It's a hellalot quicker to fp everyone you meet than to haul them in to the station. Not suggesting just everyone /would/ be fingerprinted, of course, at least not in the beginning.

Re:Book 'em? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954130)

Of course it's quicker. The question is, why would you need to FP them quicker? If they're a suspect, and worthy of printing, chances are you're going to need some time to check into them, ask some questions, etc.

Re:Book 'em? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954386)

Of course it's quicker. The question is, why would you need to FP them quicker? If they're a suspect, and worthy of printing, chances are you're going to need some time to check into them, ask some questions, etc.

The initial use, as I understand it, was in combination with CCTV cameras. They run vans with automatic number plate recognition systems, and load the numbers of suspect cars into the db. If, say the registered owner of the car is disqualified, or has a warrant outstanding it's flagged up and they radio ahead a patrol car to pull it over. Then the driver claims that it's his cousin's car and he's not got any ID on him.

Typical (5, Informative)

Jaknet (944488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953512)

I submitted this 6 hours before this one was sumbitted.... but because scuttlemonkey is a regular submitter mine gets binned and it included the link to the BBC story as well.

Yes I know I'm going to get modded down.... but as it seems to be only the favourites here who are allowed to submit... sod it.

relax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954346)

mormop submitted it

scuttlemonkey's just some poor editor

and you may ask yourself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953518)

Am I right? ...am I wrong?

Do you ever get the feeling that we are actually living in a rather clever dystopia? Not just that we are heading towards 1984 or a Brave New World, but that we are already there and are just too distracted by the entertainments and mundane routines of daily life to really stop and look around and fully examine what is going on with the world today. Do we in fact live in a dystopia now? Not just "in another 10 years", but right now.

They will use this for any reason whatsoever (4, Interesting)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953602)

They say " pedestrians could also be asked to give prints if they are suspected to have committed an offence".

Considering that anyone can be suspected of anything, this opens the gates for totally random fingerprinting in the street. We already have random checks and detentions for the flimsiest of reasons. Consider the 34 year old woman labeled a terrorist for walking along a cycle path [timesonline.co.uk] , the stopping and searching of an 11 year old girl near an RAF base, "the detention of a 21 year old student for taking pictures of the M3 motorway for a web-design company", the ejection [bbc.co.uk] of an 82 year old man at the 2005 Labour Party conference, and the detention of an 80-year-old man carrying an anti-Blair placard, for example [209.85.135.104] . If you refuse, the precedents set by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Terrorism Act 2000, and Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 would ensure it unlikely you'd get off scott-free but instead become more of a suspect.

Still, I'm not going to do anything about it other than complain about it online, as is my wont. In another 50 years when I'm eating my Soylent Green in my 29th-floor bugged apartment, I can pull out ruffled print-outs of Web pages like these, and think back to a time when at least my bowel movements weren't RFID tagged and scanned for prohibited substances.

Basically, the British government is corrupt to the core and bordering on fascist. But.. what government isn't these days?

What to do with this? (1)

hotcakes.co.nz (874015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16953662)

Big brother is watching you! Its getting pretty close to people now wanting as much information about you as they want. How about connecting nodes to our heads or a "head scanner". Now that is dangerous, they'lll probably try and read our thoughts. For people who are behaving deceptively and trying to avoid the law, they're the only ones who are going to lose out. Is the average Joe going to be concerned really?

what a great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16953960)

the system is crap anyhow as it can only detect people who have fingerprints on the system (approx 6 million) so if they don't have your fingerprints already you can just give fake name etc and they'll be none the wiser.

another fantastically thought out waste of time and money.

oh how i love living here ;-p

Wow (1)

Crilen007 (922989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954140)

Guilty until proven innocent!

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954670)

This is what happens when you don't have a written constitution.

Police states. (1, Troll)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954170)

People like to go on about the US turning into some sort of police state despite the fact that there haven't really been open moves in that direction. What's the worst Americans have seen? More thorough searches at airports? There are too many who vehemently and vocally oppose that sort of thing for it to gain real traction. Interestingly, it seems to be Europe where we're seeing burgeoning police states. Case in point: the United Kingdom.

I think part of the problem is that the socialist governments of Europe tend to think it's their responsibility to watch over the citizens. Individual freedoms are irrelevant when it's for the greater good. I've seen public safety materials which essentially depict the citizens as children who the parent, government, needs to watch over.

If the US starts heading in that same direction it's because the citizens demand it. They want to be absolved of personal responsibility and instead demand the government watch over them. Either that, or they'll be too obsessed with self-indulgence to bother with being responsible for anything. I'm sure there are many in government who look forward to this. The US is already almost at that point, but I think it's harder to stop something when it's the government forcing it on the people.

BZZZT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954230)

"Officers promise..."

BZZZT! Thanks for playing. Next idea...

Maybe I'm missing something (2, Insightful)

edraven (45764) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954312)

If they don't retain fingerprint data, just what exactly are they matching the drivers' fingerprints to?

It is for the good of humankind (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954344)

... just like in Gattaca.

A cheap low-tech way of implimentation (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954742)

Some states require thumbprints when you get a driver's license.

It's not technically hard to give the police a cell-phone-like device that can pull up these prints.

Once they do that, they can manually inspect the actual finger and compare it to the on-screen print.

If it doesn't match, either the driver's license, the fingerprint database, or the driver is wrong.

U.S. already has these (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954800)

Some areas of the U.S. have these hand held FP scanners too.

Mixed feelings here, but I lean towards saying "This is a good thing". People "slip through the cracks" all the time. They are pulled over and let go because their warrants didn't show up cause all the crime databases aren't tied together or they are using a stolen identity. Then they go murder someone. Or an illegal alien is pulled over and booked on minor offenses many times, but he has a 52-card deck of false Social Security numbers and Mexican Consular ID cards. So hes back on the road, drinking and driving the wrong way on a 1 way street with no license, and eventually kills a whole family of American citizens. When all along, if they had positive ID on him, he never would have had this opportunity. You don't think this happens too often? You better think again and do some research then. It happens ALL the time. Its just that the media is loathe to admit and publish their illegal status, unless its a really high profile case.

I'm as paranoid as the next nerd, and I don't trust government to do the right thing with the information they collect from us, but I believe that we need to be able to positively ID people in order to maintain a civilized society.
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