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Liberty raises concerns over thumbprint data

Jun 19 2003

Bracknell News

 

CIVIL rights groups have reacted cautiously to the news that Bracknell shoppers will be asked to provide thumbprints with credit and cheque transactions.

But police say consumers need not worry because there are no Big Brother-style plans to monitor people's movements around town.

Officers also say there will never be a database of customers' fingerprints, and because the scheme is voluntary, there are no implications under the Human Rights Act.

Thumbs Up will run for four weeks and PC Richard Peek said: "I'm confident the scheme will fulfill our aims and attract more shops in the town centre to sign up.

"However if during the pilot a number of problems are encountered, or the feedback from the shops is negative, the scheme may be stopped."

Civil rights group Liberty believes the scheme must be monitored closely to ensure people's freedoms are not compromised.

Spokesman Barry Hugill told the News: "There is always a danger in something like this starting out as a voluntary scheme but becoming compulsory.

"We would also want to see cast iron guarentees as to who is going to have access to this data, because there is a potential for fraud there as well."

Evans manager Jackie Gordon, who is taking part in the trial, said: "Any scheme which helps the police to reduce crime, fear and disorder is worthy and should be supported."

 
 

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