UK Border Agency computer failure leaves thousands unable to travel

Alan Travis writes in The Guardian:

Having probably queued to get into Britain, thousands of overseas residents, including senior business people and academics, now face the prospect of being unable to leave the country, possibly for weeks, because a key UK border agency computer system has crashed.

Hundreds of people queueing at UKBA’s public inquiry office in Croydon, applying to extend or renew biometric residence permits, were told to go home on Thursday because the computer system could not cope.

The details of more than 600,000 foreign nationals living in Britain have been logged on the biometric residents’ identity card database since it was set up four years ago.

But it has suffered repeated failures in recent weeks which culminated in a complete breakdown on Thursday. All afternoon appointments have now been cancelled for the next two weeks.

3 thoughts on “UK Border Agency computer failure leaves thousands unable to travel

  1. andrew says:

    This is, of course, the same Biometric ID card system that the Home Office originally wanted to inflict on the whole UK population.

    Rebranded as “Biometric Visas” for non-EEA nationals, it is instead now only messing up the lives of a very unfortunate minority, not the rest of us.

    They have my sympathy.

  2. Tom Welsh says:

    A graphic demonstration of the practical risks the government takes on whenever it makes an important activity conditional on the operation of a computer system.

    Perhaps I should promulgates Welsh’s Law: “A person’s confidence in the reliability of computers is inversely proportional to that person’s ignorance of computer technology”.

    As, in the UK at least, ignorance of anything “technical” (including, but not limited to, mathematics, computing, and any kind of science) is seen as a requirement for office, there is little hope for us.

  3. Tom Welsh says:

    OK, demonstrating how easy it is to get one’s negations wrong:

    “A person’s confidence in the reliability of computers is directly proportional to that person’s ignorance of computer technology”.

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