Looks like Brit hackers are taking their lead from Germany, where a hacker group had lifted, and circulated copies of, the fingerprints of one of the government ministers particularly keen on using biometric data in forms of ID.

As part of a “a campaign to show the dangers of the collection of fingerprints into central government databases,” Privacy International, and another group called NO2ID are offering a bounty for the prints of the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith.

From their announcement:

Around the world, politicians are now calling for the mass fingerprinting of foreigners. The UK is relatively unique in that the Government is calling for the collection of all ten fingerprints of all citizens and residents and placing them into a single centralised database for wide access by police, and other government agencies. The Government is clear that it wants to treat all citizens as though they are criminals, having promised the police that they can trawl through the fingerprint database for forensic purposes.

Following recent data breach scandals, including the loss of 25 million records on British families, we are not confident in the ability of the Government to secure this information. In fact, even the Government’s advisors, including the recent report for HM Treasury by Sir James Crosby argues against the collection of unique biometrics; but the Home Office insists that it will continue along this hazardous path. As fingerprinting systems expand to enable people to secure their computers, possessions and even homes, the centralisation of biometrics will increase the risks of breaches.

Awesome! I like the way they’re making it personal; imagine that it was your fingerprints being collected and distributed on posters publicly (as they did in Germany). It really drives home the feeling that this is an invasion; at least that’s how I would feel, and my fingerprints aren’t even being used as biometric data for ID purposes yet (and I hope they won’t be). But then again, I was even a little creeped out when I had to send my prints to the FBI to get a criminal record clearance for my papers here in Spain, so maybe I’m just phobic about sharing that kind of data.

(Via BoingBoing)