Home » Travel » Air Travel

Security or Big Brother at Heathrow T5?

Mar 15, 2008
When the first passengers arrive at Heathrow's shiny new Terminal 5 on Thursday 27 March 2008 from Hong Kong, those transferring onto a domestic flight will have their photograph taken and fingerprints scanned.

In these troubled times security is naturally a priority in a new international airport terminal. But what security systems are in place at T5? And could they be a threat to our civil liberties?

BAA, the owners of Heathrow, and British Airways, who will have exclusive use of T5, insist that biometric screening is a government requirement and a necessity in the new terminal because domestic and international passengers are brought together in one departure lounge. All domestic and international passengers transferring onto a domestic flight will be screened.

The theory is that an international connecting passenger could otherwise swap documents with a domestic passenger and bypass immigration control at their final destination.

On presentation of ID or boarding card at biometric security, passengers will have their right hand scanned and face a camera to be photographed. The information recorded will then be checked at the boarding gate.

BA states on its website, "Afterwards we delete the records, so don't worry about your fingerprints being kept on file."

But some people are worried. There are a number of airports around the world where domestic and international passengers already mix, but such a security measure is not in place. There is a concern that this is being casually introduced to desensitise the British public to the significance of routine fingerprinting, and as a precursor to ID cards.

Liberty, the civil liberties and human rights group, is opposed to ID cards on the basis that they erode our privacy, cost millions in public money and are questionable in terms of security. Government-run databases have not had a good press recently after disasters with Child Benefit and DVLA data.

There is anxiety that personal information could get into the wrong hands. On their website BAA say that all personal data will be encrypted immediately, not used for any other purpose and destroyed within 24 hours. Is the system open to abuse? BA was the worst performing European airline last year with regards to lost luggage, according to a study carried out by the Air Transport Users Council (AUC). Can we trust them with our identities?

If passports and boarding passes are checked thoroughly is this additional measure actually necessary? Some may also worry that staff will become distracted by fingerprinting and photographing and not be as vigilant with their traditional security checks. Anyone refusing to provide their data will be denied entry to their flight.

On a practical level, what effect will biometric screening have on queues and delays?

BAA has invested heavily in CCTV in its state-of-the-art terminal and will be using 46 'pan-tilt-zoom' cameras known as 'Metal Mickeys' as part of a security and data hub. Someone will definitely be watching you, but do you mind? For many, CCTV is reassuring but others find it a threat to their freedom.

Advanced Threat Identification is the terminal's new baggage security system. Its X-ray scanners can identify explosives and liquids and take multiple views of luggage in the same time that the old machines could show one view. An automatic tray return system will allow suspicious bags to be separated and quickly sent into a separate channel.

The usual security regulations and restrictions will apply with respect to hand luggage and hold baggage. Future passengers at Terminal 5 should check with BA and Heathrow for up to date information before they fly.

The Queen will officially open Terminal 5 on Friday 14 March. I wonder if she would agree to have her fingerprints scanned?
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 355
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources