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4 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I January 2010
E-borders project
“illegal” in EU, UK warned
The British government was warned
that its program to electronically
gather personal information on all
travellers entering or leaving the UK
could be illegal.
A new report released by the
all-party Home Affairs Committee
highlighted a number of problems
in the UK’s “e-borders” project to
digitalise immigration control, which
is set to cost taxpayers £1.2 billion
($1.7 bn).
“The major stumbling block, and a
very disappointing oversight, is that
we are sure that what the program
requires will be illegal under the EU also suggested that there were the relevant bodies.
Treaty,” said committee chair Keith problems with the project relating “UKBA must report the results of
Vaz. to national data protection laws and these discussions to the Committee
“It is shocking that money has found that there was “no proof” of by the end of February at the latest,
already been spent on a program having any serious talks with the and in the meantime, any proposals
which could never be implemented,” European Commission on this. to extend ‘go live’ to further intra-
warned Vaz, who is a former “This program is supposed to EU routes must be put on hold,” the
minister. cover tens of millions of passengers MPs said.
The report found that an EU intra-EU account for a very The Home Office has claimed
member state cannot impose any significant chunk of travel in and out that the e-Government program is
requirement other than simple of the UK,” said Vaz. vital for securing border controls,
production of a valid identity “Until this legality is resolved stopping criminals fleeing the
document on an EU citizen except UKBA must just halt any further country and increasing protection
in exceptional circumstances. work to “go live” on intra-EU routes. against international terrorism.
The UK Borders Agency (UKBA), We cannot have another massive Data received by travel operators
it said, is “imposing expensive IT project which flounders or is such as credit card details, names
requirements on the private even abandoned at huge cost to the of fellow passengers and car
transport sector for the e-borders taxpayer, it is simply unacceptable,” registration numbers is collected
program, in the name of urgent he said. and checked against ‘watch lists’.
public good, without apparently The report said that the Some 60% of journeys out of Britain
having ascertained that the program government must also make it as are checked, this is expected to rise
requirements are lawful.” a priority to discuss all the national to 95% by the end of 2010.
The parliamentary committee level data protection problems with
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