CCTV could be matched to ID data

Police could be given access to biometric photographs of the population to perform automatic matches against CCTV footage of...

Police could be given access to biometric photographs of the population to perform automatic matches against CCTV footage of suspected criminals, it emerged last week as MPs debated the ID Cards Bill.

The disclosure has prompted calls from opposition MPs for controls to be introduced to the bill to regulate how police databases are linked to the ID card system's national identity register.

"The national identity register will hand the police a database of high-quality images of every adult in the UK. By the time the ID cards become compulsory, the police, in theory, will have it in their power to identify everyone filmed on CCTV through automated checks," said Liberal Democrat MP Richard Allen.

Documents released by the Parliamentary IT Organisation (Pito), show that the police service has identified the need for automatic CCTV scanning and facial recognition as part of its technology roadmap.

The organisation is developing a national mugshot database that will be linked to the police national computer, and could be used to offer automatic recognition in the future.

But Pito said it had not had discussions with the Home Office about integrating the system into the ID card database.

"Technically it is feasible. Technologically it is quite hard. Politically it is dangerous ground because you are sharing databases," said Neil Fisher, director of security solutions at research firm Qinetiq.

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