Thursday, March 27, 2008

Heathrow Terminal 5

Going Live

"... technical difficulties ... staff familiarisation ... teething problems ... technical defect ... brief system fault ... a few minor problems ... time to bed down ..."
A complex bundle of services relocated into a purpose-built space. Mutual recriminations between the collaborating parties (airport and airline). What lessons for SOA design, implemention and deployment here?

Identity, Privacy and Security

"BAA has had to drop controversial plans to fingerprint domestic passengers after the information commissioner expressed concerns about the move. The airport operator said fingerprinting was needed for border security. Instead it will take photographs while the proposal is discussed with the commissioner's office."
Some aspects of the design not approved by key stakeholders and regulators. Apparently the reason for this controversial requirement is that domestic and international travellers are mixed into the same space, rather than being kept separate, and this creates additional security risks. It was assumed that technology (fingerprinting or photography) would substitute for physical barriers. Perhaps BAA chiefs have been reading articles on "deperimeterization".

Meanwhile, one technical solution is quickly substituted for another, although I'm not sure I understand why taking (and presumably transmitting and storing) photographs of passengers is any less of an invasion of privacy than taking fingerprints.


BBC News, March 27th 2008

Related Posts 

Service-Oriented Security (August 2006)
Travel Hopefully (March 2008)
For Whose Benefit Are Airports Designed? (January 2013)


Anonymous said...

That is utterly bizarre. One has to hope that the ICO also noticed the bizarre illogic of claiming that domestic passengers need to be fingerprinted for reasons of border security. [doh]

Anonymous said...

Having said which, they say the same thing at Bristol airport: that is, they claim that it's necessary to photograph domestic passengers because they and international passengers mix in the departure lounge.

The rationale I was given is that photographs allow staff at the Tax Free shops to verify that domestic passengers are not sneakily taking advantage of the discounted booze and fags by borrowing the boarding cards of more abstemious international passengers.

That's not exactly the same as a threat to our national security or the integrity of our borders, now is it?

Richard Veryard said...

Apparently the rationale is not just to stop the locals getting cheap drink, but also to stop undesirable aliens sneaking into the country.

"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.
[Heathrow fingerprint plan on hold BBC News, 26 March 2008]

Do the British authorities really not know the identities and tendencies of people in transit through British airports? So much for joined-up government then.

Anonymous said...

It is a very basic Idea ,Letting Domestic passengers get to go to the great shops that they offer international passengers instead of the dreary few shops that you would get normally....Photograph are nessary for border control as an international passenger could exchange a ticket with a Domestic passenger and get into the country unchallenged. If we lived in an ideal world without terrorists or criminals from other countries then Photos and fingerprints would not be required.

Richard Veryard said...

Here's another basic idea - why not let the passengers get onto their planes (with their baggage) rather than using "security" as a pretext for making them hang around in the terminal for hours buying ties and tins of shortbread.