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FBI proposes international biometrics database

The proposed 'server in the sky' database would share the biometric data of the world's most wanted criminals and terrorists
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Written by Nick Heath on

UK police are in talks with the FBI about establishing an international biometric database for tracking down the world's most wanted criminals and terrorists.

The so-called "server in the sky" database would share criminals' biometric data, such as fingerprints and iris scans, internationally.

The FBI suggested the database at a meeting of five countries — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US — in the International Information Consortium technology group.

The UK's National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) said it was aware of the proposal and that any such system could be linked into existing law-enforcement databases such as Ident1, the UK repository of more than seven million pieces of biometric data from crime scenes, although there are no formal plans at the moment.

A spokesman for the NPIA said: "The FBI are proposing this and the proposals are being discussed by the International Information Consortium group, but these are initial discussions; there are no agreements."

The Home Office also confirmed it was aware of the server in the sky database as one of a "wide range of initiatives we are constantly looking at to improve our investigative capabilities".

US defence company Northrop Grumman, which built the Ident1 system, also confirmed it had spoken to the FBI about the server in the sky database.

The announcement of the database proposals follows the news earlier this week that the UK has completed a system to check the fingerprints of every visa applicant.

No-one at the FBI was available for comment.

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