Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Your Papers, Please

Spotted by Schneier on Security, this Economist article details exactly why the US' new passport protocols are not going to work; worse, why they're needlessly intrusive:
The third, and scariest problem, however, is one that is deliberately built into the technology, rather than being an accident of its present inefficiency. This is the remote-readability of the chip, combined with the lack of encryption of the data held on it. Passport chips are deliberately designed for clandestine remote reading. The ICAO specification refers quite openly to the idea of a “walk-through” inspection with the person concerned “possibly being unaware of the operation”. The lack of encryption is also deliberate—both to promote international interoperability and to encourage airlines, hotels and banks to join in. Big Brother, then, really will be watching you. And others, too, may be tempted to set up clandestine “walk-through inspections where the person is possibly unaware of the operation”. Criminals will have a useful tool for identity theft. Terrorists will be able to know the nationality of those they attack.
I feel more protected already.


Blogger C said...

See, you're missing the advance here.

It used to be you had to wrap your whole head in tin foil to keep the bad stuff out. Now you just have to wrap your passport in tin foil.

12:40 PM  

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