November 17th, 2006 § 0 comments

This story in Technology section of the Guardian Unlimited regarding the new biometric passports reveals that secure, hard to defraud biometric ID cards/passports are either a lot harder to make or, and I suspect this may be the case, the government has not thought it through properly.

…the UK had just begun to issue new, ultra-secure passports, incorporating tiny microchips to store the holder’s details and a digital description of their physical features (known in the jargon as biometrics). These, the argument went, would make identity theft much more difficult and pave the way for the government’s proposed ID cards in 2008 or 2009.

Today, some three million such passports have been issued, and they don’t look so secure. I am sitting with my scary computer man and we have just sucked out all the supposedly secure data and biometric information from three new passports and displayed it all on a laptop computer.

The UK Identity and Passport Service website says the new documents are protected by “an advanced digital encryption technique”. So how come we have the information? What could criminals or terrorists do with it? And what could it mean for the passports and the ID cards that are meant to follow?

And we’re expected to trust these jokers with private, confidential medical information on one big database…?

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