THE MEMORY HOLE, Wythenshawe, Tuesday (NTN) — Half of all journeys in and out of the UK are now being centrally recorded by the £1.2 billion e-Borders scheme, with a major data breach scheduled for later this year.
e-Borders aims to monitor every person going in or out of the United Kingdom by March 2014. The system is currently gathering data on between 45 and 50 per cent of people crossing the border, with the data being stored for Home Office analysis, action and accidental disclosure. The data is presently transmitted to the Manchester office over the Internet on a web site that only works in Internet Explorer 6. A backup channel sends the data to Manchester on unencrypted USB sticks via second-class post, a secondary backup channel uses outsourced call centre workers in India reading the data over the telephone and a tertiary backup channel involves the data being shouted in the streets of Manchester by random tramps.
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas is pleased with the success of the scheme and anticipates a suitable security failure to occur on schedule by the end of this year. “We’ve taken care to attach fingerprints, photographs and National Insurance numbers to each line of data, so this should be a really good one. It might be one of the classic ones like a USB stick that someone ‘forgot’ to erase, someone using the system to stalk their ex or a skip full of printouts that weren’t shredded properly, or we might come up with startling new innovations in data breaches involving an office kitchen gas explosion raining files down on the streets of Salford or perhaps an alien al-Qaeda spacecraft swooping down and vaporising our security systems with precision laser blasts and letting our precious, precious data dribble forth, free and untrammeled. I’m quite looking forward to finding out!”
The opening of e-Borders’ Manchester office was originally delayed by problems training “match analysts,” who issue alerts to border guards when the system detects possible terrorists, criminals or people travelling while brown, not to mention no-one else in Europe accepting that the much-vaunted ID card is in any way equivalent to a British passport.
Woolas has dismissed claims that the requirement for data on passengers from continental Europe before they travel was illegal and impossible. “We’re sure we can bodge through something that will hold legally for a few months,” he said. “The key point is to leave the Tories a parting gift they can’t quite do without but which guarantees serious embarrassment for them in the second half of the year. It’s the least we can do.”