Police trialling mobile fingerprinting

Interesting story in the latest Computer Weekly about the Police trialling a roadside mobile fingerprinting system that links biometrically-equipped PDAs with the Police National Computer via a GPRS radio link.

Um - hang on a minute. Is this the same GPRS/GSM technology that has been systematically hacked by the British government (and others) in its search for intelligence in Northern Ireland?

Er, yes.

In case you didn't know, MI5/6 admitted a few years back that it had created a washing machine-sized gizmo that cost £30,000 a pop, that decoded GSM voice transmissions out of the ether in real time.

Since GPRS is only a series of GSM radio slots daisy-chained together to support mobile data speeds of around 40 Kbps, it's a small step for this gizmo to decode mobile data sessions in real time.

Apparently 10 forces around the UK will be trialling the mobile fingerprint checking service, which was developed by the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) in conjunction with Northrop Grumman.

The ten police forces taking part in the year-long trial include Bedfordshire Police, British Transport Police, Essex Police, Hertfordshire Constabulary, Lancashire Constabulary, Metropolitan Police Service, North Wales Police, Northamptonshire Police, West Midlands Police and West Yorkshire Police.

Let's hope the MI5/6 GSM monitoring gizmos don't get cloned by the crims, otherwise the Police are in deep doo-doo...