My eyes have expired!

Returning from Spain yesterday, I thought I’d jump the queue by using the IRIS biometric entry system. It’s been a while since I’ve used it, since on recent returns to the UK, the gateway has been:

  1. broken;
  2. occupied by an American shouting at the screen wondering why she can’t get through the gate;
  3. broken;
  4. backed up with a longer queue than the regular immigration channel, or;
  5. broken.

However, yesterday IRIS seemed to be the preferred route, so in I stepped, gazed confidently into the robot, which in turn buzzed, spewed out a slip of paper and refused to let me in.

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The slip explained that whilst it had recognised my iris pattern, my permission to use the system has expired. Why? My passport’s good for several years yet. It knows who I am. It must be confident I can’t be an imposter. It hasn’t deleted my personal information. So why can’t I get through? And what am I supposed to do about it – do I have to re-enrol? This isn’t exactly a shining example of joined-up systems design…

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Welcome to Kafka's "Trial"; the Committee of Affairs will contact you in due course. I came back from Berlin on Friday evening (delayed take-off, 'stacked' landing...) and someone ahead of me in the Iris queue got a ticket as well. Maybe you've both been revoked. Seriously, though, if this is the lack of transparency we should expect from the use of our (voluntarily-registered, let's not forget) credentials, it entirely discourages me from the idea of lodging more of my personal data in the government's systems.
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