It seems that Her Majesty's Customs and Excise have issued a Request for Information to see who can sell them an
easy to use passenger profiling system. Presumably the existing system is not easy to use.
The tender notice published in the Official Journal of the European Union states:
Title: UK-Salford: software development services
Purchase Authority: HM CUSTOMS AND EXCISE, COMMERCE DIVISION
Document Ref: 900367
Published on: 21-Jan-2004
Contract Type: This is a service contract.
Country: United Kingdom
Notice Type: Prior-information procedure
Regulations: This document is regulated by the European Services Directive 92/50/EEC.
Source: Notice published in the European Journal "
"UK-Salford: provision of software tool for retrieval of air passenger
II.2.1) Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV): 72262000.
II.3) Nature and quantity or value of supplies or services for each of
the service categories:
The contracting authority requests information from potential service providers regarding their ability to provide a software tool for retrieving and filtering passenger name record data and check-in information provided by the airlines to UK Customs.
This tool will apply risk-based profiles to the name records and automatically highlight those passengers thought to pose a threat to Customs controls.
The tool must offer ease of use to non-specialist Customs staff and be capable of eventual application across the UK Customs network.
Interested parties should be aware that the information provided by the airlines is currently accessed by Customs on various airlines' systems and not through a common interface or gateway."
Is this a UK version of controversial USA passenger profiling systems like CAPPS or CAPPS 2 or TIA ?
Will there be a similar outcry to the JetBlue and Delta airlines debacles where "test data" was handed over in secret to NASA, the US Army etc. ?
Will Autonomy or i2 or Qinetiq or other suppliers of intelligence visualisation or search tools get their hands on passenger data ?
Will this HMCE system end up as a parallel system which does not communicate effectively with the Immigration and MI5 anti-terrorists systems, despite leaching and datamining the same personal data belonging to passengers ?
What safeguards are there in the existing system and in this proposed one, to protect against racial profiling or trawling through the credit card data of the majority of innocent passengers ?