Friday, 7 January 2011

Quoted here and there

Security concerns for IDs with microchips: New ‘Ready Lanes’ incentive for border crossers
by Alejandro Martinez-Cabrera, El Paso Inc. (27 December 2010):

Privacy advocates and civil rights groups raised their concerns with the Department of State when it first proposed equipping passport books with RFID tags in 2005. In response, the chip’s information was encrypted and the passport covers have been modified to disrupt RFID signals when the document is closed.

But Edward Hasbrouck, a consultant with the California-based Identity Project, which objects to the use of tracking technology in identifications, feels the changes were minor and didn’t fully address their worries.

For one, Hasbrouck said, security demonstrations have shown that chips in passport books can be read if the document opens just a fraction of an inch.

Even though the signal is short range, Hasbrouck said, someone with an RFID reader at a pedestrian crossing can capture it.

In the case of passport cards and RFID-enabled drivers’ licenses, the signal’s range is much longer — long enough for customs agents to detect the documents before the holders arrive at their booths, and long enough to allow Paget to capture the passport details from a moving vehicle during his demonstration….

[P]rivacy advocates imagine several scenarios where this technology can be misused, from identity theft to government tracking. But one of the least implausible is the use of passport details for third-party commercial use.

Most worrisome to Hasbrouck is the misuse of the unencrypted, unique serial number on each RFID passport. If it’s correlated with a person’s identity, it can be used to track his or her movements.

For instance, Hasbrouck said, duty-free shops with an RFID reader could track the information of customers that use their passports as identification, and then use those details for marketing purposes. After all, Hasbrouck pointed out, there are currently no laws that regulate how to record or keep such information.

“I can imagine a duty-free shop where passports become the store loyalty card. I think we’re at the cutting edge of that,” he said.

Audit says border-crossing passport law not enforced
by Gary Martin and Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News (29 December 2010):

Edward Hasbrouck of the Identity Project, a longtime opponent of the passport requirement, said the OIG report “confirms what was already inevitable …which is that the ostensible requirement for a passport isn’t being enforced, obviously. But I think it’s also interesting that there’s no mention of anything other than how to enforce it,” he said. “There seems a complete unwillingness to consider whether the degree of noncompliance suggests that anything should be done to change this policy….. there’s no consideration of the legality of the underlying rule.”

The Decade of 9/11: Behind-the-scenes changes aplenty for airlines, airports
by Richard Dalton Jr., Toronto Star (29 December 2010):

By the end of this year, all passengers on flights to the United States, including flights to and from Canada, will be matched against government watch lists as well. The Transportation Security Administration also is working with other countries to vet passengers on flights that pass over, but do not stop, in the United States, such as a flight from Toronto to Mexico City.

In 2007, Canada began its own no-fly list.

To accommodate the new information, airlines had to modify tens of thousands of lines of computer code, revising old mainframe databases and updating software that communicates with the reservation system and travel agencies, travel expert Edward Hasbrouck said.

Link | Posted by Edward on Friday, 7 January 2011, 08:45 ( 8:45 AM)

I wrote about all these issues (including the duty free theme) a couple of years ago.

All of Your Passports are Belong to Us (


Posted by: David Heath, 1 February 2011, 03:19 ( 3:19 AM)
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