25 Jul Could Biometrics Bring MP’s and Peers to Account?
An interesting suggestion by Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East and SNP spokesman in the House of Commons, that all MP’s and peers should be issued with identification cards so the public can see exactly how much time their peer or MP does spend in the House, has resulted in a Newcastle-based company suggesting an alternative technology that will not only produce attendance data, but significantly raise levels of personal security for all MP’s, peers, staff and visitors to Parliament.
The SNP suggestion follows reports of peers claiming their £300 a day allowance for a few minutes attendance. Whilst MP’s, peers and staff must enter presently enter Parliament through a security gate with a pass and numeric code, there are no such restrictions on leaving so no records are available of who is in Parliament at any one time and how long they have spent there.
However, an alternative and more modern technology is available with access control fingerprint readers from ievo Ltd, the Newcastle-based manufacturer of biometric recognition systems.
Shaun Oakes, Managing Director of ievo Ltd, explained, “Recent tragic incidents have highlighted the need for better security at Parliament, which is far more important than keeping a track on our MPs’ and peers’ attendance records, but technology now exists where one system can fulfil both functions.”
“Fingerprint access control can never prevent external attacks such as the Westminster Bridge incident, but it will ensure only those that are authorised to enter Parliament can do so and further access control functions allow multi-level access for different areas to be classed as restricted to different people. In addition, by ensuring each entrance and exit point has a fingerprint or biometric reader, integrated time and attendance software can allow accurate records of who is in the building at any one time, so in the event of an appalling disaster like Grenfell, emergency services will have access to real-time data to better assess a situation.”
“By integrating biometric access control with time & attendance software, the data can be used to tell exactly who spent how long there and even in what areas of the building, which would ultimately fulfil the requirement set out by Mr Sheppard. This level of time and attendance monitoring is well used in industries that require accurate records of attendance for payroll and industries with high reliance on health and safety and fire protocols.”
“Biometric fingerprint readers are increasingly being used in public and private applications on a worldwide basis; they are cost-effective and reduce fraudulent access – identity cards can be forged, stolen, shared or lost; as can Personal Identity Numbers (PIN’s) and replacements of credentials can incur frequently repeated costs. Fingerprints are unique to that person and provide a far more secure system, meaning that when someone accesses a facility using the system, you can be confident that they have the required permissions, and time and attendance software will be able to tell you exactly what time they entered or left. Our biometric systems are simple to install and use and provide cost-effective solutions especially when the cost of replacement cards and fobs etc are considered. Our products are already approved by the CPNI (Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure) and are included in their prestigious and trusted Catalogue of Security Equipment which permits use in protecting a wide variety of Government facilities.”
“Now whether the MP’s and Peers want to have such accountability is a political decision up to themselves, but we’re ready if the call comes!”