On using one biometric or another for identification
Why is it OK to use fingerprints but not DNA?
Bob Spink: The Minister might not be aware that the Science and Technology Committee has looked at biometrics, including iris and facial recognition and fingerprints, and found no evidence from any large-scale project that using multiple biometrics in the way that the Government propose would work technologically. The Government are simply making an assumption that they would work, but there is no evidence of that. In the absence of a working biometrics system, would the Minister consider the use of DNA?
Andy Burnham: No, I would not. I do not believe that people would accept that. Even for someone often accused, as I am, of not having regard for such matters, it would raise substantial civil liberties implications. On that basis, I would rule it out categorically. As to the questions that the hon. Gentleman raises about the effectiveness of biometrics, I do not accept that that is the case. I do not know whether he has travelled to the United States recently, but it has a large-scale immigration system that uses biometric information extremely successfully. His assertion that there is no evidence of external biometrics providing a higher standard of identification in travel documents is therefore wrong. (Hansard 30 March 2006 column 1126)
I am not saying using DNA is practical, just wondering why Burnham claims the “civil liberties implications” of using DNA for border control are more “substantial” than using fingerprints, irises, or facial recognition.