Biometric Passports at last



Dubliner

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It's a good idea in principle, but can we trust the government not to **** it up?

One reason for concern would be the security of the chip technology. Some types of embeded chip use RFID and these can be read from a distance even if the passport is in a bag. This could lead to shops being able to ID people as they walk in the door.

Another cause for concern would be this statement:
The procurement process, which has been advertised in the Official Journal of the EU, will comply with all Government requirements in relation to the validation of a sound business case, good practice procedures for contract and project management and ensuring the achievement of value for money.
If past record is anything to go by, this means that it will be a late, expensive white elephant with three legs.
 

ibis

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Why on earth are these a good idea?
 

JCSkinner

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They're not. It already is a white elephant, given the E20m cost of the Balbriggan plant plus more for the passports and more again for ballsing up the passport issuing system at Moleworth Street and Cork.
This only was brought in because our masters in Amerikkka demanded the right to keep records on our citizens if they decide to so much as holiday in the US, even if they hav e no criminal record and no intention of staying in their country.
 

Libero

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JCSkinner said:
This only was brought in because our masters in Amerikkka demanded the right to keep records on our citizens if they decide to so much as holiday in the US, even if they hav e no criminal record and no intention of staying in their country.
Damn those Yankee fools! Paranoia run wild, I tell you. It's not like they've ever been attacked in their own country by foreigners at the cost of thousands of lives. Oh wait... :(
 

Libero

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JCSkinner said:
I am an EU citizen with no criminal record. If my own government sees no reason to retain this data about me, then why the fcuk does George Bush?
That makes no sense. If you have no criminal record, then the fact that you have none implies that you haven't been convicted of a crime. So it's not a case of your government retaining data of you not being convicted, just of doing so when you are convicted. And they do.
Can you tell us how Bush is doing anything above and beyond what your own government does?

Of course there is the argument that citizens owe a bit of rope to their own governments, but are entitled to draw the line at foreign governments wanting to keep personal information. If you feel that way then don't travel to the United States. That way, it's quite unlikely they'll be accessing or keeping any personal information on you.

However there are a great many Irish citizens who do want to travel to America so naturally the Irish government has done what is necessary to facilitate them, and all at little or no cost to everyone else.

Can I ask: do you really not know why it is that any American administration - and not just this one - might want tougher monitoring over foreigners entering the country?
 

JCSkinner

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I know why they want the info. But they're not entitled to it. That's the bottom line.
You ask about my personal response? Well, as you kindly suggest, I refuse to travel to the United States. This is actually an issue for me, as my better half was born there and half of her family still live there.
Some of them find my position hard to understand, as it seems, do you.
But I refuse to live in a Big Brother state (on which note, the UK, already the most CCTV laden country on earth, now intends to film every car, every day), and most certainly have no intention of handing over personal data to a foreign power with current history of torturing the innocent.
 

eurocrat

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JCSkinner said:
But I refuse to live in a Big Brother state (on which note, the UK, already the most CCTV laden country on earth, now intends to film every car, every day), and most certainly have no intention of handing over personal data to a foreign power with current history of torturing the innocent.
:? So you'll not be going to the UK any time soon then?

By the way, how can you have a 'current history'?
 

JCSkinner

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History that is ongoing.
Having been born in the North of Ireland, the UK authorities already have a minimum of data on me.
Let me reverse this argument, because I'm frankly stunned to see otherwise intelligent people unquestioningly accepting the right of a foreign power to retain significant personal and identificatory data on YOU.
Is it ok for the US administration to have this data forever? Is it ok if they share it with other countries without your permission?
Is it ok if they sell it to private companies?
Where do you lot draw the line in defending your own civil liberties?
 

jmcc

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ibis said:
Why on earth are these a good idea?
The holder is described in them using a number of elements rather than just the easily replaced photograph. Biometric passports could be more difficult to forge.

Most of the arguments against biometrics and chip cards tend to come from people who don't understand the security issues or, indeed, the technology.

Regards...jmcc
 

joemomma

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Libero said:
Damn those Yankee fools! Paranoia run wild, I tell you. It's not like they've ever been attacked in their own country by foreigners at the cost of thousands of lives. Oh wait... :(
And it's not like those attacks could have been prevented with existing security and intelligence powers. Oh wait...
 

JCSkinner

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jmcc said:
ibis said:
Why on earth are these a good idea?
The holder is described in them using a number of elements rather than just the easily replaced photograph. Biometric passports could be more difficult to forge.

Most of the arguments against biometrics and chip cards tend to come from people who don't understand the security issues or, indeed, the technology.

Regards...jmcc
Or from people who understand both the technology and the security issues, and believe that the creation of a database of other country's citizens, which could potentially include a whole welter of information from physical identifying factors to spending patterns in shops, is simply not justified.
 

Libero

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joemomma said:
Libero said:
Damn those Yankee fools! Paranoia run wild, I tell you. It's not like they've ever been attacked in their own country by foreigners at the cost of thousands of lives. Oh wait... :(
And it's not like those attacks could have been prevented with existing security and intelligence powers. Oh wait...
Well, ANYTHING could - in theory - be prevented by existing security and intelligence powers. The trick is to use existing powers and introduce new ones in such a way as to maximise the chance of catching terrorists but without infringing too much on civil liberites.

OK, that's a pretty vague aspiration but one that most people will agree is sensible. The real source for disagreement is over where to draw the line, where the use of powers becomes "too much". As JCSkinner demonstrates, some people will be very particular indeed.

Regarding the USA, the Congressional Report into 9/11 DID recommend the adoption of biometric technologies and the introduction of a visitor tracking system. Sure it criticized the failures of existing agencies but it also accepted the idea that new powers and technologies were needed. You can read a civil liberties critique here: http://whiterose.samizdata.net/archives/006432.html

My overall point is that after 9/11 it is hugely unrealistic to expect the USA not to introduce measures identified as proportionate and necessary by their own Congressional inquiry. Describing that aspect of their response as 'Big Brother' is just hyperbole and crying wolf. On top of that, it is usually unconstructive since it rarely involves considered suggestions about what else they should do other than vague soundbites about better intelligence.

And by the way, if you think that the USA has gone over the top in its response to mass-killing terrorism, get yourself a warm mug of cocoa and read this.
 

jmcc

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JCSkinner said:
Or from people who understand both the technology and the security issues,
Such as whom?

and believe that the creation of a database of other country's citizens, which could potentially include a whole welter of information from physical identifying factors to spending patterns in shops, is simply not justified.
Everything above is already in existence. Some of it just isn't connected yet but it is all there.

Regards...jmcc
 

JCSkinner

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Me for one. But again, I'll reverse the argument. How can you justify your position that those who oppose biometric passports do not understand them or what they could be used for?
And of course, it is the ability to connect these things via a single, essential document that is the problem...
 

eurocrat

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JCSkinner said:
I refuse to travel to the United States. This is actually an issue for me, as my better half was born there and half of her family still live there.
Some of them find my position hard to understand, as it seems, do you.
I do find it hard to understand. Seems like its a selfish position on your behalf. Sometimes we need to sacrafice the little principles we have in our own lifes for the ones we love. Then again I'm an old softie.

By the way you never told me if your were going back to the UK ever again. All you said is that they already have a file on you. How do you know the americans don't have one on you aswell? If they did already, would you mind going? It would be the same as your position vis-s-vis the UK.
 

JCSkinner

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You feel free to sacrifice what you wish. Others will choose to live by the principles in which they believe.
I explained already that having been born in Northern Ireland, the UK authorities have information about me. This is fine by me, as I am a British citizen and land owner in the six counties.
If the US Authorities have a file on me, they oughtn't to. And if they do, I'm not going to help them fill in the blanks myself.
 

jmcc

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JCSkinner said:
Me for one.
Are you published? (To use a quote from 'Withnail and I'.) I get very wary of self-proclaimed security experts.

But again, I'll reverse the argument. How can you justify your position that those who oppose biometric passports do not understand them or what they could be used for?
Because they see biometric passports as some nebulous big brother type operation that will allow them to be tagged wherever they go. The main function of the passports is that they can verify that the holder's identity. But those who oppose them often don't realise how their data footprint works and how utterly pervasive tracking already is.

And of course, it is the ability to connect these things via a single, essential document that is the problem...
Connecting them all to a single document is a red herring for those who think they know about these things. The data footprint of connectivity between all data sources is the real key to tracking people.

Regards...jmcc
 


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