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Heathrow Airport: Security

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she held with BAA in advance of the introduction of universal fingerprinting at Heathrow Terminal 5; and if she will make a statement. (198630)

In the building of Terminal 5 at Heathrow, the British Airports Authority (BAA) took the decision to introduce a common departure lounge (CDL). BAA were required to ensure that any immigration risks arising from the mixing of domestic and international passengers were mitigated and a working group, which includes BAA, British Airways (BA), the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) and other control agencies, has worked together since 2005 to consider appropriate mitigation measures. BAA presented a number of systems which they believed were capable of mitigating the risks to Border Security and following a number of trials, fingerprinting together with digital facial recognition comparison were identified as the most effective solution. However, to ensure that the proposed system is fully validated by the Information Commissioner, it has been agreed that the system will operate using only digital photography until such validation is given.