Saturday, February 17, 2007

Haste ye back

Been watching the Beeb this morning and it is plastered with the UK Identity and Passport Office, tellings that their 'intenive interviews' for the new biometric passports would only last for 20 minutes, that is after the queue and the travel time and costs involved to get to one of their 63 planed interrogation centres.
So meliflous were they about the extra security that would be provided that even I was almost convinced. 'You will only have to go once'; 'this is what all foriegners have to do, why shoulkd we be different?' and so on.

And then I read this,
"Microchips in Britain’s new ePassports only have two-year warranties, a National Audit Office report says.

They are so new, no-one knows how long they will last, or how the scanners reading them will work, the NAO said.

Public Accounts Committee chairman Edward Leigh said the fact they had a two-year warranty, when passports were kept for 10 years, was “most worrying”.

The Home Office said the ePassport had been rigorously tested, but it would work to improve the warranty.

The chip holds biographical details - including the passport photo - which are scanned at a reader.

The NAO report praised the department’s Identity and Passport Service for bringing in the new passports on time and to international standards.

But it urged the service to investigate the possibility of a longer chip warranty with the manufacturers.

“Although it has been tested in laboratory conditions, the ability of the chip unit to withstand real life passport usage is unknown,” it said.

Now if the NAO is correct, how can the IPS promise that we will only have to go once? The whole system will become a cost nightmare.

Meanwhile in another development we learn that Hitachi have exceled themselves in RfID technology,

These devices could also be used to identify and track people. For example, suppose you participated in some sort of protest or other organized activity. If police agencies sprinkled these tags around, every individual could be tracked and later identified at leisure, with powerful enough tag scanners.

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