Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No-fly list and e-borders, another IT failure in the waiting

So as a result of the Christmas Day bombing attempt there are going to be yet more security increases at airports. We’ll now have a new no-fly list and “special measures” list and we all know how well that list has worked in America, with phonetic name matching and various other ways to make it include an enormous number of people.

The US no-fly list was said to contain up to 44,000 names in 2006, and TSA officials stated that 30,000 people had complained to them that their names were being wrongly matched to terrorists. However a recent cull of it has led to the Homeland Security secretary claiming that there are only 2,500 names on the no-fly list and 16,000 names on the extra checks list, in 2008.

How will our no-fly list work, who will maintain it, and how long will it take for the computer system to fail, be delivered late, be over budget, or for the list to be copied onto a laptop and lost in the back of a cab.

On top of this we’re also going to be moving to a system similar to the US where advanced passenger information must be submitted to the e-borders system before take-off. The same e-borders system that has been accused of being illegal under EU law for stopping the free movement of citizens of member state nations. I haven’t heard anything about the e-borders computer system but based on past goverenment IT projects I can’t imagine that it will:
a) work
b) be delivered on time
c) Result in savings in terms of efficiency, effectiveness or even in this case security.

Also how will passengers on the additional screening list be identified at security, I spent much of last year traveling through Heathrow and I showed my boarding pass then went to security and had my bag x-rayed and walked through the x-ray machine, then I showed my passport at passport control, then quite often had to put my shoes through the shoe x-ray machine just before duty free (fellow frequent users of Terminal 3 will know this procedure well I’m sure). So either they’ll start hauling people aside at check-in, at the boarding pass stage or check your ID at the security point, or have some much more detailed checks than the cursory wave through at passport control that you normally get going out of the country.

Basically today's announcements seem long on aspiration and ambition on lacking in practicalities.

Related Content

No comments:

Post a Comment