UK police to scan the fingerprints of anyone unable to present identification


Originally published at:


A bit of sloppy work here.

250 mobile fingerprint scanners have been issued to officers in the north eastern English city…

Which one? West Yorkshire isn’t a city.

Metropolitan Police were blasted by the country’s highest court for keeping surveillance footage of citizens who had committed they had charged with no crimes.


Proofing errors aside, I subscribe to the “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” school of thought. I don’t intend to commit crime, and I’m here legally so if the government want my fingerprints on file they’re welcome to them. If I wind up dead in a ditch somewhere without ID on me I’d be happier knowing they could find out who I am and inform my (no doubt inconsolable) grieving widow. And 4 million surveillance cameras? A small price to pay for safety. Anybody watching what I get up to on a daily basis clearly needs to get out more.


Which north east English city? West Yorkshire is pretty darn large, and not a city. Are you confusing this with York?


You joined just to say that?

Maybe you feel comfortable with no right to privacy, but it’s presumptuous to assume I’m not entitled to any.

As for the typos, welcome to BoingBoing.


What’s with the Po Po hump-fest in that photo?

Almost rhymes too…


“Nothing to hide, nothing to fear” is great, right up until the laws change and something which you’ve been doing for years is suddenly illegal. And suddenly you’re on a database of “people who do $thing”.


It’s nice that you’ve been able to live your life in an environment that hasn’t taught you why some people find this idea threatening and verging on dystopian. It doesn’t take much work to find stories of people who haven’t had it so good.


Probably Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield and the towns surrounding them (West Yorkshire is heavily urbanised, but it is not a city by itself.). York is in North Yorkshire.


If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.
-Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu et de Fronsac

The surveillance effect is a well known problem. If the police begin to investigate an innocent person, they will eventually piece together a reason to convict that innocent person.


Sometimes you have something to hide when you are the potential victim too. Being forced to be open about it makes life more dangerous, not safer. I don’t intend to commit crime either, but there are several countries in the world where I can’t go because I would be arrested and possibly executed, simply for being me. All it takes is a successful reactionary push back and I’m a criminal in my own country, and they are attempting to push back right now.

This is the reason that I have refused to get a gender recognition certificate and get put on that needless list of people who have/had gender dysphoria. A similar list retrieved from the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft helped the Nazis round up people in the mid 30s.


My fingerprints wouldn’t be much use to them if it was stored in their database under the name ‘Michael Mouse’. In the UK you’re not obligated to give the police any name, nor your real name, except in certain circumstances (having committed or being suspected of committing certain crimes).


Or worse, “people who are $thing”. :star_of_david: :small_red_triangle: :man:t5:

If they don’t erase the log of queries, then this is just police carding with technology, with the usual racial profiling snowball. “Well, $visible_person, you seem to have been fingerprinted quite a lot. That makes me think that you’re a suspicious person.”


You’re absolutely right. That was sloppy. I’m giddy on flu medication right now, but that’s no excuse. I’ll see it sorted out.


That would be fine if we could assume that police and government officials were never corrupt, racist or engaged in political witch hunts, and that the data would be kept secure from hackers.


Another one to add to the pile: Get the false positive rate for fingerprint matches, compare it to the number of people who are going to be in the database. If your prints match a crime suspect, are they going to listen to you or to their new machine?


Even without a false match, if they misinterpret the data.

My apartment was broken into and they took some prints from stuff that was handled. I can guarantee that some of those prints were mine. If I was fingerprint-stopped, would their system throw up a red flag of “Robbery suspect!”?


Yeah, the huge risk is that they allow the shiny new technology to overwhelm any kind of sense. People do that all the time. They have a very unjustified confidence in the reliability of “objective” systems, anything that puts out a match or a number.

If you get a fingerprint match on one side of the country for a robbery on the other side of the country you should approach it with skepticism. You should check if the person was even in the city it the crime happened in when the crime happened. But I half expect cops to just throw on the cuffs and sort out the details later.


I’m thinking these scanners don’t work any better than earlier fingerprint analysis methods.


Obviously this person has never been doxxed.


File this under Coming Soon to a Municipality Near You, right along with the seemingly-endless stream of other surveillance articles we’ve seen as of late. The really sad part is that the humans of earth are only in the infancy of their little cyber spying adventure.