Home Office estimates for the costs of Iris Scan Biometric readers for E-Borders

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Some idea of how misleading the Regulatory Impact Assessment of the costs of the Identity Cards Bill, can be seen from another recent RIA, published in support of the new
Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill.

The estimated cost of installing Iris Scan Biometric Passport Readers in the 47 main airports and ports, is an average of £21,000 (derived from a guesstimate of £1 million for 47 airports and ports) for the computer network cabling, and £3,000 - £5,000 per reader plus one PC per biometric passport reader (approx. £1,000) i.e. at least £27,000 for the first biometric passport reader at any one location.

The plan is to initially only have a single biometric passport reader and a single biometric visa reader per airport or port, which will obviously require only a relatively small additional cabling infrastructure cost per additional reader.

This totally contradicts the wishful thinking guesstimate for the cost of an ID Card biometric reader in the Identity Cards Bill 2005 updated Regulatory Impact Assessment, published on 27th May 29005:

"(ii) a card/biometric reader with on-line access to the verification service. Organisations will be expected to fund the costs of card readers. The current working assumption is that the cost of card readers would fall within a range of £250-£750 depending on their level of sophistication and performance – for example whether they are able to check a biometric as well as the card in high risk, high value transactions where the card holder is present. Integrated with other security and verification requirements, this cost could fall substantially over the years ahead. No allowance in these estimates has been made for reductions in cost due to volume discounts, however the use of a common standardised technical interface for the online verification system will encourage a competitive market for card and biometric readers to develop, which can be expected to bring costs down over time."

This figure obviously ignores the cabling and computer infrastructure and integration costs which will be faced by the thousands of other Government department office locations, private sector employers, financial institutions or the National Health Service, which the Home Office seems to think will just magically integrate with the National Identity Register, for free.

These costs of will also have to also include Bank Automatic Teller machine or Public Phone Kiosk style tamperproof / vandalproof armouring, which it may well be possible to omit in a high security, constantly monitored environment like an airport or port Passport Control hall, but not elsewhere.

This armouring could easily cost £5,000 per reader alone.

ID Card biometric readers will be even more expensive and complicated because they are planned to make use of multiple biometrics indicators - iris scans, fingerprint / multiple fingerprint scans and facial recognition. There are no Commercial Off The Shelf products which do all this, and since no other country is proposing to use the same system, there will be no global market economy of scale.

The cost over, say 10 years, the time it is going to take to get the ID card schem running, will of course be much more, as it is likley that a couple of "technology refreshes" will needed to keep the computer and network hardware up to date over a 10 year time period.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/docs4/E_borders_RIA_Annex.pdf

"PARTIAL REGULATORY IMPACT ASSESSMENT CHECKING BIOMETRIC DATA ON ARRIVAL

Annex A
page 42 ff

Costs
9. Currently there are 47 major ports of entry and an average of 20 desks per location. Due to the staged implementation of biometric identifiers in passports, ports will only have a relatively small percentage of arrivals with biometrically enabled passports. Initially, we may only provide one reader per port. However, as biometrically enabled passports become more common we will increase the numbers of readers per port accordingly. If every desk at port were to have a reader, Border Control would have to deploy the biometric solution at 940 desks at airports, seaports and the Juxtaposed Control.

10. The aim of verification is to strengthen the checks carried out against passengers travelling to the UK. Readers are able to check whether a chip has been tampered with and can also access biometric data about the passenger. There are two systems that could be used to update the readers with information relating to public documentation:

11. a) A fully networked and integrated system will enable the readers to be updated with information on a daily basis and incorporate the security ‘key’ change that will take place automatically every three months to allow the readers to open up the biometric data stored in the documents. In order to access the encrypted data, the readers must have access to a public key which is provided by all countries participating in the issue of biometrically enabled documents. This ‘public key infrastructure’ (PKI) would be linked to all ports to enable updates on a daily basis. This would ensure the integrity of the data stored or accessible to the readers as there can be further changes to or withdrawal of the ‘keys’ for security reasons. This option would be the preferred option as it could be used to provide one single networked reader for each port and could then be expanded as biometric passport production increases.

12. b) Stand alone systems. CD ROMs could be used to update readers on their own (on the assumption that we had one passport reader and one visa reader per port, a CD could be sent to every port). However, CDs on their own will not be able to provide readers with updates from the PKI on a regular basis. Thus, although a cheaper way of updating reader, this will not provide the same degree of protection of the border that a daily update could provide.

13. Technology in this area is evolving rapidly and at the moment we would estimate the cost of a reader to be between £3-5000. At this stage the United Kingdom Immigration Service is not proposing to implement a fully automated control. We are only looking to provide 1 reader capable of reading the chips in the biometric passport and the visa. Initially, this may be one reader for passports and one for biometrically enabled ID cards. However, as technology is evolving we may be able to purchase technology capable of reading both. The following figures are very rough estimates that only give some indication of costs and will be adjusted over time.

Passport readers: 47 readers (assuming 1 per port)
(approx. £3,000 - £5,000) plus one PC per reader (approx. £1,000)
£188,000 - £282,000:
Visa readers: 47 readers (1 per port) (approx £3,000-£5000): £141,000 - £235,000
Installation costs: Cabling £1,000,000 (approx)
CD Rom: Negligible.
Assuming cabling is used to update the PKI and there is one reader for biometric passports and one for visas:
Cabling and readers
Bottom estimate:
Cabling £1,000,000
Passport reader £188,000
Visa reader £141,000
Total: £1,329,000
Top estimate:
Cabling £1,000,000
Passport reader £282,000
Visa Reader £235,000
Total £1,517,000
Assuming CD Rom is used to update the PKI and there is one reader for biometric passports and one for visas
CD Rom and readers
Bottom estimate
CDs £ negligible
Passport reader £188,000
Visa reader £141,000
Total £329,000
Top estimate
CDs £ negligible
Passport reader £282,000
Visa Reader £235,000
Total £517,000"

2 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Home Office estimates for the costs of Iris Scan Biometric readers for E-Borders.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://spyblog.org.uk/mt5211/mt-tb.cgi/512

Spyblog notes that in the Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Immigration, Asylym and Nationality Bill, published earlier this week, the estimated cost of installing iris scan enabled passport readers is around £21,000 per reader. In the Regulatory ... Read More

TITLE: Home Office contradicts itself on biometric costs URL: http://tim.hicks.me.uk/blog/archive/2005/06/26/home-office-contradicts-itself-on-biometric-costs IP: 217.172.33.58 BLOG NAME: Blog: The (e)State of Tim DATE: 06/26/2005 04:04:12 PM TITLE: Home Office contradicts itself on biometric costs URL: http://tim.hicks.me.uk/blog/archive/2005/06/26/home-office-contradicts-itself-on-biometric-costs IP: 217.172.33.58 BLOG NAME: Blog: The (e)State of Tim DATE: 06/26/2005 04:04:12 PM Read More

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It is not just the UK government which tries to snoop on British companies, organisations and individuals, the rest of the world is constantly trying to do the same, regardless of the mixed efforts of our own UK Intelligence Agencies who are paid to supposedly protect us from them.

For no good reason, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only keeps the current version of the London Diplomatic List of accredited Diplomats (including some Foreign Intelligence Agency operatives) online.

Presumably every mainstream media organisation, intelligence agency, serious organised crime or terrorist gang keeps historical copies, so here are some older versions of the London Diplomatic List, for the benefit of web search engine queries, for those people who do not want their visits to appear in the FCO web server logfiles or those whose censored internet feeds block access to UK Government websites.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."

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Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers