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Jaded, yethopeful?

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 1,258
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The US Wants International ID Cards
    #4224287 - 05/26/05 10:43 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

By Kim Sengupta,
The Independent
27 May 2005

The United States wants Britain's proposed identity cards to have the same microchip and technology as the ones used on American documents.

The aim of getting the same microchip is to ensure compatability in screening terrorist suspects. But it will also mean that information contained in the British cards can be accessed across the Atlantic.

Michael Chertoff, the newly appointed US Secretary for Homeland Security, has already had talks with the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, and the Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, to discuss the matter.

Mr Chertoff said yesterday that it was vital to seek compatibility, holding up the example of the "video war" of 25 years ago, when VHS and Betamax were in fierce competition to win the status of industry standard for video recording systems.

"I certainly hope we have the same chip... It would be very bad if we all invested huge amounts of money in biometric systems and they didn't work with each other.Hopefully, we are not going to do VHS and Betamax with our chips. I was one of the ones who bought Betamax, and that's now in the garbage," he said.

Mr Chertoff also proposed that British citizens wishing to visit the US should consider entering a "Trusted Traveller" scheme. Under this, they would forward their details to the US embassy to be vetted. If successful, they would receive a document allowing "fast- tracking" through the US immigration system.

A pilot scheme will start within a few months between the US and the Netherlands, allowing Dutch visitors to use a Trusted Traveller card to enter the US without being subjected to further questioning or screening.

Britain is one of 27 countries whose citizens do not need visas to enter the US if they intend to stay less than 90 days. The American government has said it wants 27 to issue new passports by 26 October this year containing a computer chip and a digital photograph.

Mr Chertoff said compatability and the checking system was intended purely to track down "terrorists and criminals" and the main aim was to provide a "fair and reasonable system".

US diplomatic sources stated later that Washington did not wish to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries.

"When we screen based on names, we're screening on the most primitive and least technological basis of identification - it's the most susceptible to misspelling, or people changing their identity, or fraud," he said.

The scheme will also, say diplomats, ease confusion over who exactly constitutes a suspect. The most high-profile case was that of Yusuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, who was barred from entering the US because his activities "could be potentially linked to terrorism". The British government is insistent that Mr Islam had no such links.

However, this is the latest controversy to surround Britain's proposed combined identity card and passport due to be introduced in three years' time. Rising costs have pushed the cost up to ?93 each after the overall estimated 10-year cost of the project grew from ?3.1bn to ? 5.8 bn.

There have also been problems over the effectiveness of the biometric technology which is supposed to safeguard the security of the cards. There were also verification problems with 30 per cent of those whose fingerprint was taken during an enrolment trial of 10,000 volunteers.

Money doesn't grow on trees, but deficits do grow under Bushes.

You can accept, reject, or examine and test any new idea that comes to you. The wise man chooses the third way.
- Tom Willhite

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change my opinions should I become aware of additional facts, the falsification of information or different perspectives. Articles written by others which I post may not necessarily reflect my opinions in part or in whole, my opinions may be in direct opposition, the topic may be one on which I have yet to formulate an opinion or have doubts about, an article may be posted solely with the intent to stimulate discussion or contemplation.

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Registered: 06/15/02
Posts: 15,608
Re: The US Wants International ID Cards [Re: Prosgeopax]
    #4224308 - 05/26/05 10:51 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)


Hello Mr. Orwell, how do you do?

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Twisted brainwrong of a oneoff man mental

Registered: 08/08/03
Posts: 812
Loc: Airstrip One
Re: The US Wants International ID Cards [Re: Prosgeopax]
    #4225534 - 05/27/05 06:37 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

There were also verification problems with 30 per cent of those whose fingerprint was taken during an enrollment trial of 10,000 volunteers.

What this means is that 30% of people they scanned in at the enrollment center did not verify correctly using the biometric technology, on the same bloody day, let alone a few years later.

This figure is about the same I experienced when I looked at using biometric technology to replace passwords at work, too many false positives and negatives. Iris recognition is about the most reliable, followed by fingerprints, followed by facial. And that last one is pretty damn poor.

This is the clear problem with biometric technology today, it does not work well enough for mass deployment. If even 10% of people failed to verify at an airport the result would either be chaos or the process be ignored, providing no benefit.

The cost of this project is going to be huge, and if past government IT projects are anything to go by, its going to cost a hell of a lot more than they are saying now, and I don't believe the technology is mature enough yet.

As for making the chip technology standard between countries, of course it should be! What is the point of having a passport that is not recognized abroad!

Access to the full government database is a different issue though.

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OfflineAlan Stone

Registered: 11/23/02
Posts: 986
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Re: The US Wants International ID Cards [Re: psilomonkey]
    #4226024 - 05/27/05 12:23 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)


and I don't believe the technology is mature enough yet.

I agree. Here in Belgium, electronic ID cards are steadily replacing the existing ones. Over the last year there have been several issues with the system:

- PIN code troubles: either injust access or no authorisation when the PIN code was right
- The centralised server to manage the data transfers crashing all of the time
- The cost of retraining staff and issueing the cards themselves.

One American official (forgot his name and function) visited our country this week to check them out, but the showcase test they did was with a portable reader, not with a centralised system like the ones that will be used in other situations than airports. What's the use of an electronic ID card if it only works in airports?

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

- Aristotle

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