But first, a digression:
I’ve had to present my passport on many occasions; either as proof of age or to get onto a plane.
In fact, in the last ten years, there’s only been one occasion when I had to produce a passport to an agent of the state without having a plane nearby. And that was a couple of weeks ago, on the bus to Dublin. Because the INIS seem to check most buses going south for illegal immigrants, They’re quite strict on the whole thing, and have been known to march a dozen people off buses because they didn’t have ihre papieren.
Which seems harsh, but it’s a border, and one of the things I have no problem with is countries enforcing a bit of border control.
But it looks like it not staying at the border.
Irish law enforcement agencies closed an €18m deal on Wednesday to procure digital fingerprinting technology from the private sector.
The Director General of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) and the Commissioner of An Garda Siochana signed a contract with an international consortium to design and implement a new integrated electronic fingerprint system (AFIS) for police and immigration service use.
Here’s where the worry comes in, though:
A spokesman for the Department of Justice told ENN the mobile fingerprinting unit to be used in Ireland would be primarily for immigration control. Digital fingerprints will be stored on a central database which will link into the Garda pulse system.
Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. Prepare for the mission creep, methinks.
(Except, of course, for some strange reason that I would trust Gards more than, fer example, UK cops. Nobody pretends that the Gards are angels who’d never abuse power, for a start. They’re trusted less, meaning that I trust them more. Backwards or what?)