World crime database proposed

Senior police officers are discussing plans to create an international criminal database that could hold biometric data, the Home Office confirmed.

An FBI plan for a “Server in the Sky” – which might hold iris, palm prints and other personal biological information – is being discussed to help fight terrorism around the world, a newspaper reported.

The network could hold information from millions of criminal suspects pooled by the US, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the paper said.

The plan is likely to raise concerns about data security in the wake of a series of embarrassing data loss blunders by the Government and its agencies.

The Home Office confirmed the existence of “Server in the Sky” but stressed discussions were at a very early stage.

A spokesman said: “We are aware of the proposed project. As you would expect we consider a wide range of initiatives as we constantly look to enhance our investigative capabilities.

“Relevant safeguards are always considered as part of this process.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed it was in discussions with the FBI but emphasised the plans were at a preliminary stage.

The FBI told reporters the database would include details of major criminals such as international terrorists.

A spokesman said: “Server in the Sky is an FBI initiative designed to foster the advanced search and exchange of biometric information on a global scale.”