- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The British national policing agency said yesterday that there are no plans to link its database with an international server proposed by the FBI to track terrorists and criminals globally.

“The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) is not planning to link IDENT1, the UK police fingerprint computer, to the FBI,” the British agency said after reports that the British IDENT1 database — an enhanced fingerprint identification system created by U.S. Defense Contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. — would be directly linked to the FBI international server.

The Washington Times learned, however, that British law-enforcement delegates will arrive in the District this week to discuss their concerns regarding the international policing program with federal officials.

“We never looked to linking to the British system directly,” said Tom Bush, assistant director at the FBI’s criminal justice information service. “The British would decide what information they would want to share. They ultimately have the responsibility for that. Same with our information.”

President Bush wants a pilot program ready by the middle of the year.

The FBI-initiated program known as “Server in the Sky” was designed to enhance information-sharing about criminals at an international level.

The British IDENT1 database allows search capability for new electronic mobile fingerprinting technology for the British Police Information Technology Organization. It expedites the process of establishing a person’s identity in real time, said Juli Ballesteros, a spokeswoman for Northrop Grumman.

Tom Bush said the FBI, like its international partners, is concerned about protecting people’s privacy.

“We have these cooperative relationships in place throughout the world; we’re just trying to enhance that,” he said.

Server in the Sky is expected to contain similar biometric information such as fingerprints, DNA, iris scans and palm prints. It is not expected to contain extensive personal information on terrorists, terrorist suspects or known criminals because of privacy concerns, the FBI’s Mr. Bush added.

The FBI has 600,000 names stored in its National Crime Information database and 53 million fingerprints of known or wanted persons in the existing Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).

Tom Bush said discussions with partner nations — known as the International Information Consortium — have been continuing for nearly 16 years. Members include the FBI, British NPIA, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and CRIMTRAC in Australia.

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