Britain’s Home Office is looking to overhaul its biometric capabilities after signing a new 10-year contract with Leidos UK. The Home Office is a ministry department that oversees law enforcement and immigration procedures in the UK, and has partnered with Leidos as part of the Home Office Biometrics (HOB) Programme’s Strategic Central and Bureau Platforms project.
For Leidos, the challenge will be finding a way to consolidate the Home Office’s existing biometric infrastructure. Though the Home Office is able to provide face, fingerprint, and DNA matching, it currently does so through two separate legacy systems. Britain’s law enforcement agencies use the IDENT1 platform, while border agents use the Immigration and Asylum Biometrics System (IABS).
Leidos will be deploying a public cloud platform that unites the two systems and paves the way for future updates. The company will also modernize the Home Office’s biometric technology.
“We look forward to working with the Home Office to deliver transformation across the key components of the Biometrics transformation programme,” said Leidos UK VP Tim Crofts. “This is vital to the UK’s security, border and policing services and we will transform and secure critical services for government departments and agencies.”
While Leidos is updating the Home Office’s technology, the company will not have any say in how it gets used. The Home Office will still be solely responsible for determining who has access to the country’s biometric systems.
In that regard, it is worth noting that while London police and the British Home Secretary have pushed for the deregulation of facial recognition tech, the UK’s use of biometric surveillance has come under fire in recent months. A Cardiff resident took the police to court for privacy violations related to the use of facial recognition, and his is not the only legal challenge to the system. An investigation into a separate surveillance scheme in central London has raised similar privacy concerns for UK residents.
October 3, 2019 – by Eric Weiss