BBC News reports that mobile fingerprint scanners will be used by Scotland Yard to identify individuals. We’ve discussed the issue of handheld facial/iris/fingerprint scanners before. The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and News and Observer have reported that law enforcement agencies in the United States are using hand-held facial/iris/fingerprint recognition systems, which raise civil liberties questions. Police in Australia also are using handheld devices to gather biometric data. See a previous post for a discussion of the privacy and civil liberties issues.
For more on biometric technologies in Europe and the privacy issues that can be raised, see a recent opinion (pdf) from the EU’s Article 29 Working Party on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data.
BBC News reports:
Scotland Yard is to equip its officers with handheld fingerprint devices allowing them to identify suspects in seconds.
Britain’s largest police force has distributed 350 mobile phone-like devices to its officers across London.
The technology can also be used to quickly identify unconscious or fatal victims at accident scenes.
The Metropolitan Police is the 25th force in the UK to have adopted the devices. […]
The system will be provided by biometric data specialists 3M Cogent.
It was trialled by the National Policing Improvement Agency as part of their Information Systems Improvement Strategy scheme, designed to lower costs. […]
An NPIA spokesman said data from the scan is only used to check a match and is not retained.