Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Report of the investigation into the UK visa breach

The results of the two-month independent investigation into security breaches of the UK visa application process from India, Nigeria and Russia were published towards the end of July.

The full report is available here (currently archived, see Update below). There were also articles by The Register and The Observer in the UK media that covered the publication of this report. In India, there was no media coverage that I am aware of.

The excellent and very comprehensive report speaks for itself, and I would recommend it as good holiday reading if you're a fan of non-fictional tragic comedies spanning multiple continents. Thats probably exactly what the UK Members of Parliament did, taking a copy of the report with them as they broke off for a 11 week summer recess shortly after it was presented in Parliament.

In the limited time provided, I thought that the appointed Independent Investigator prepared quite a detailed and thorough report. The only striking omission I noticed was any plausible explanation as to why this breach wasn't reported by more applicants considering that this website had such fundamental flaws and left vulnerable for such a long duration of time. A little research into the Indian psyche, perhaps by way of interviews with applicants would have shown that no right thinking, progressive, frequent-flying, peace-loving Indian would ever want to bite the hand that stamps their visa.

I even know individuals in India who would consider themselves famous if their personal details were exposed online! Such is the scale of ignorance towards identity abuse here.

Update: The link for the full report isn't available on the FCO website any longer and claims to be moved to the 'National Archive' if you click it. I've still retained the above link though, to show that the National Archive seems to have misplaced its copy of the report too. Hmmm. However, it can still be found here.

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