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Biometric Passports Agreed To In EU

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the look-into-the-scanner dept.

Privacy 217

An anonymous reader writes "The European Parliament has signed up to a plan to introduce computerized biometric passports including people's fingerprints as well as their photographs, despite criticism from civil liberties groups and security experts who argue that the move is flawed on technical grounds. (Back in 2005 Sweden and Norway began deploying biometric passports.)"

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In the words of the great optimist.... (3, Insightful)

spammeister (586331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462009)

What could possibly go wrong?

dumb sheep (5, Insightful)

Swiper (1336263) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462035)

Oh great, Just because the US has them, we have to get them as well, despite the very vocal criticism there has been....what a bunch of blind and deaf sheep we have as eurocrats!

Re:dumb sheep (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462115)

You know, there are European Parliament elections this summer! This time make sure you go to vote the MEP that will truly represent you and your views. Democracy just don't happens. Oil just don't come out from the pump. Your e-mail just does not sit in the "cloud". People make things happen. Democracy functions as long as people vote. We've seen democracy failing too many times (e.g. 1933 in Deutschland). So get involved, is so simple!

Re:dumb sheep (5, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462381)

Yeah, as if choosing one of a set of crooks would actually solve anything...

What we need is a good old revolution. And I mean one with a new form of government following it.

I propose metagovernment.org [metagovernment.org] , for lack of a better form of it (for lack of having time to create one myself. :( ).

Re:dumb sheep (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463025)

Revolutions just bring a fresh group of crooks that also have guns. Voting is not the only way to have your say in democracy's. In fact i would claim its the least important. Many democracy's have all sorts of things you can to stop or change laws at local levels and higher. For example in NZ if you can get a petition with 10% of the registered votes there must be a referendum on the issue. I do know there are many things in place in most EU counties that are similar.

However if voting is too much effort then anything else is probably asking too much. Otherwise I think Demarchy [wikipedia.org] would be a good choice.

Re:dumb sheep (1, Flamebait)

Askmum (1038780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462419)

You do realise that we have to choose between people that come in to work on Friday morning for 5 minutes to collect their daily allowance and then bugger of home and people who want to prosecute whistleblowers?

The EU is the largest assembly of corrupt and indadequate politicians you will ever find.
Nevertheless I will vote. There is some hope in me yet that there will be at least one MP who isn't like that.

IMHO the EU has to go. Everything that happened after the EEG has turned out for the worst. Sure we have had the joys of having some of our laws relaxed because if the EU, but the constant interference of what basically are foreign powers in our national politics is what pisses me off big time.

Re:dumb sheep (1)

thesp (307649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462987)

Interference in national policy by other countries has been historical reality since time immemorial. It's been called under the name of treaties, representations, concords and, ultimately, declarations of war. EU, for all its faults, is still an excellent method of persuading countries which historically have been over-eager to take up arms against their neighbours to dissipate their tensions in very long, very dull negotiations over the European Standard Paperclip. I'd rather have that than the regular European wars of the preceding centuries. The EU may be expensive and inconvenient to some degree; the alternative is far more so.

Re:dumb sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462993)

IMHO the EU has to go. Everything that happened after the EEG has turned out for the worst. Sure we have had the joys of having some of our laws relaxed because if the EU, but the constant interference of what basically are foreign powers in our national politics is what pisses me off big time

I would rather say it was a BIG mistake to let the British like you join the EU. Couldn't you just go away ? Hey, you could joint the US as airstrip one. I'm sure Tony is working on this.

Re:dumb sheep (1)

Askmum (1038780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463287)

IMHO the EU has to go. Everything that happened after the EEG has turned out for the worst. Sure we have had the joys of having some of our laws relaxed because if the EU, but the constant interference of what basically are foreign powers in our national politics is what pisses me off big time

I would rather say it was a BIG mistake to let the British like you join the EU. Couldn't you just go away ? Hey, you could joint the US as airstrip one. I'm sure Tony is working on this.

It seems to me that you think I'm British. I'm not.

Re:dumb sheep (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463005)

"The EU is the largest assembly of corrupt and indadequate politicians you will ever find."

I disagree, this past couple of years they've done a better job of protecting civil liberties than British parliament has for it's own citizens, that's not saying much but I'd say from this that they're at least better than Britain's Labour government.

Re:dumb sheep (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463123)

Perhaps the only way we'll achieve true international balance and harmony is a movement against large groupings like the EU, NATO, G-8, etc. Everyone's stupidity would then keep everyone else's stupidity in check.

Re:dumb sheep (4, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463237)

There is some hope in me yet that there will be at least one MP who isn't like that

Well, for the parliament there are usually many options you can vote for that aren't in among the worst.

the constant interference of what basically are foreign powers in our national politics

A lot of the time it's basically our national politicians using a scapegoat. The commission and council are our own/largely loyal to our own politicians, and they love to shove things through in the EU and then say 'it's the EU!', even if they were the ones proposing it in the first place.

The problem isn't inherent in the involvement of other EU countries and politics, the problem is the lack of accountability and the way it gets used for denial of responsibility.

Re:dumb sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462525)

ask how it works to fighters against software patents. If the parliament does not obey big software industry, they go to the E. Commission.

Europe is a great concept, but it's used simply to increase exponentially the number of sheep needed to act together and actually change something.

  Democracy was in Greece millennia ago, not here.

Re:dumb sheep (2, Informative)

irae (1152885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462743)

Democracy was in Greece millennia ago, not here.

I'm sure the Greek slaves would agree with you.

Re:dumb sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463449)

I'm sure the Greek slaves would agree with you.

I bet that original retort too literally years to come up with.

Today many enlightened "democracies" don't allow under-18s, non-citizens (this is significant when you consider how one becomes a citizen), criminals and non-human primates to vote.

But none of these places are democracies in the ancient Athenian sense, rather representative democracies. You get to choose between two or three nearly identical power-lusters and they instantly ignore your concerns the moment they get into office. Really, you could give the vote to puppies and it wouldn't influence the way the country is run. If the process bothers you, either become a billionaire or start a revolution.

Athenian democracy involved you, the adult male citizen of any background, turning up in person and representing yourself in discussion and the legislative process. This rule by local citizen-people, this demos-cracy, is as far away from Europe's version of democracy as you can get. All problems in computer science might be soluble with another level of indirection, but in politics it's quite the other way.

Re:dumb sheep (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463293)

Democracy was in Greece millennia ago, not here.

Actually it was in Athens, what we now call "Greece" being a collection of city states. Also the way things were cond in classical Athens was radically different from anything we now call "democracy".

Tools to make a wise voter choice (3, Informative)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462887)

If voting,be sure to check out these impressive tools to help make an informed choice in the European Parliament elections.
http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Political_Memory [laquadrature.net]

http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Campaign-Save_amendment_138_and_Internet_Freedom_from_Council_of_EU#General_Advice [laquadrature.net]

For example can sort by amendment 138, see who was against:
http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Telecoms_package_directives_1st_reading_details_by_score [laquadrature.net]

Re:dumb sheep (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462909)

Democracy functions as long as people vote.

Total Nonsense.

Democracy is only the illusion of freedom. Given it takes around 30% and never more than 50% to get voted in candidates only need to convince the dumpiest 30% to 50% of voters.

It's tyranny of those who manipulate the stupid over everyone else.

Re:dumb sheep (3, Funny)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463033)

It just seems that who ever I vote for, some idiot politician gets elected anyway ...

If only the European Parliament had any power! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463087)

The European Parliament has little to no power in how the EU is run.

It is the Commission and the Council who have the power. And you don't get to (directly) vote for them.

The EU is horribly undemocratic and very non-transparent. For example, how many member states actually let their citizens -vote- on new treaties that strip them of their sovereignty? Almost none!

Re:dumb sheep (2, Insightful)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463171)

"Democracy functions as long as people vote. "

No, it does not. Not when your options are restricted to choosing between people with no *real* differences.

"Democracy" is an illusion, it has been reduced to choosing from a preset pool of incompetent bureaucrats, who pretend to be different from one another by over-blowing their slight nuances of policy.

Re:dumb sheep (4, Insightful)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463245)

This time make sure you go to vote the MEP that will truly represent you and your views.

Wow! Is there an Oscar, or a Nobel Prize for naivety? If so, you have my vote.

The Commission of the EU is unelected. They were all found guilty of corruption a few years ago, and collectively stood down. Only to stand right back up again. Corruption pervades the EU Parliament. It was designed to make sure it could not hold the (even more) corrupt EU Commission to account.

And good luck finding ANY MEP that represents your view if you're a Euro-sceptic. They don't exist.

Even in a multi-party system, you will still get situations where every elected official speaks in unison, and the "Opposition" is an opposition in name only. It happens all the time, whether in the run up to the Iraq war in England (when the Conservatives couldn't wait to kiss Tony Blair's arse) or in the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland (where all the parties said to vote Yes, except for sinn fein, the terr^H^H^H^H ex-terrorist party.)

The only solution is to stand for office yourself, and again, the system is designed in such a way that that can't happen unless you're wealthy. (Not just rich, but wealthy.) And as Declan Ganley of the newly founded Libertas party is finding out, even then, the establishment does it's best to ridicule you, destroy you, and keep you out of their little game.

South Park (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463343)

When it's time to vote, the choice is always between a douche and a turd. (I forget which South Park episode this was in).

This time make sure you go to vote the MEP that will truly represent you and your views.

I don't recall seeing a box labelled "None of the above" on any ballot.

Re:South Park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463375)

"South Park" Douche and Turd (2004)
27 October 2004 (Season 8, Episode 8)

And the vote was Giant Douche vs. Turd Sandwich

For None of the above you have to watch Brewster's Millions.

Re:dumb sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463401)

It's not really that simple. When voting for the European Parliament, you can only vote for candidates from your own country, who are organised into national political parties (the same ones available for national elections.

However, once they are actually in the European Parliament, they will start intensely cooperating with parties from other countries, who have very different views on some matters. Because of this, there are often conflicts between the national and the European versions of these political parties.

For example, I'm Dutch. Say I wanted to vote for our Christian Democrats because I agree with their point of view (which I don't, but that's not the point). They will then start co-operating with the Italian Christian Democrats, who have way more fundamentalist Christian views than ours.

I don't understand why there aren't simply European political parties. More importantly, I don't understand why I am not allowed to vote for some French guy if I happen to agree with him.

The system is inherently broken.

Re:dumb sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463779)

You know, there are European Parliament elections this summer! This time make sure you go to vote the MEP that will truly represent you and your views. Democracy just don't happens. Oil just don't come out from the pump. Your e-mail just does not sit in the "cloud". People make things happen. Democracy functions as long as people vote. We've seen democracy failing too many times (e.g. 1933 in Deutschland). So get involved, is so simple!

Or better yet, work with your local government to secede from the EU.

Re:dumb sheep (2, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462607)

You're so right. The EU has no backbone whatsoever. America is our friend, so we must do everything to please it. Disgusting. Someone said Merkel is bad, well, the NL PM Jan Peter Balkenende is much much worse. He couldn't wait to go to Iraq to please his buddy George. And now that that turned out to be maybe not such a good idea, he doesn't want a public investigation. Coward. We have the worst government we ever had. I wish I lived in Belgium since they don't have a government there.

Re:dumb sheep (5, Interesting)

irae (1152885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462753)

I wish I lived in Belgium since they don't have a government there.

As my Belgian friend said, Belgium is the best example that a government isn't necessary.

Re:dumb sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462839)

As a Belgian I can assure you nothing has changed since the last elections and, actually, we're fine, except our politicians still get paid for doing nothing at all - well, atleast the can't do anything bad either.

Re:dumb sheep (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463279)

As my Belgian friend said, Belgium is the best example that a government isn't necessary.

But a near 70% income tax rate is still necessary to pay for ... what exactly?

Re:dumb sheep (3, Insightful)

brabo_sd (1279536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463431)

Maybe we pay all those taxes for one of the best social security systems in the world? If you lose your job, the government gives you money.. not altogether that much, but at least just enough to survive. Rather not pay a lot of taxes? Think at the downside of that... no good medical assurances.. no serious unemployment money.. Put like this, I actually prefer to pay taxes, I like to share what I have with those less fortunate.

Re:dumb sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463455)

On the other hand, property taxes are ridiculously low.

I'm Dutch and several of my colleagues live in Belgium, but work over here (and are still Dutch citizens). Best of both worlds.

(The downside seems to be that since their children go to school there they end up getting a Flemmish accent.)

Re:dumb sheep (1)

blaine the monorail (1140679) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463677)

As my Belgian friend said, Belgium is the best example that a government isn't necessary.

But a near 70% income tax rate is still necessary to pay for ... what exactly?

Where did you get that idea? http://www.belgium.be/nl/belastingen/inkomstenbelastingen/particulieren_en_zelfstandigen/aangifte/vestiging_van_de_aanslag/index.jsp [belgium.be] (in dutch, but the table should be clear)

The total income tax is always lower than 50%, and there are lots of situations where you get tax deductions...

Re:dumb sheep (1)

Chninkel (1396241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463791)

But a near 70% income tax rate is still necessary to pay for ... what exactly?

I'm Belgian you insensitive clod !

(and it's less than 50% by the way)

Re:dumb sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462977)

We have the worst government we ever had.

Dutch.. Always pining for their proud nazi past. You lost that war twice, get over it.

Betting Pool. How long before it's a torrent (3, Interesting)

upuv (1201447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462063)

Actually two betting Pools.

How Long before all the data is on torrent?

Which country will have the offending sloppy official?

What gives you the right (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462069)

To put up a fence to keep me out? Or to keep mother nature in?

Re:What gives you the right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462123)

If God was here he'd tell ya to yer face, "Man, your some kinda sinner!" Woo!

Re:What gives you the right (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462141)

If God was here he'd tell ya to yer face, "Man, your some kinda sinner!" Woo!

Ha! I knew God couldn't be one of those grammar nazis!

Re:What gives you the right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462307)

You're right. You know, I've given people shit for doing that, and there I went and did it myself. I think I learned a lesson today.

Re:What gives you the right (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462495)

Yes. That you have a split personality.

Watch for him trying to strangle you while you're sleeping! ;)

Re:What gives you the right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462285)

What gives you the right to put up a fence to keep me out? Or to keep mother nature in?

The fence...

All your fingerprints (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462077)

are belong to US, I mean EU.

Re:All your fingerprints (1)

biocute (936687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462273)

It's okay if your fingerprints are belong to you, but not when it's belong to us.

Re:All your fingerprints (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462425)

No no... you're right. They belong to the USA. Because that's who owns most of the European leaders.

Merkel at least. Despite not being the backrub kind, she very much likes to go deep and hard up the ass of Bush. ;)
She even imitates his views and behavior.

Our Cheney is Schäuble, by the way. Mix Cheney's mind with that of some Gestapo-leader with an obsession for control, add a wheelchair, some hair and an evil look, remove some fat, and you got him. All he needs is a fluffy cat and an iron glove (or better a SS-Totenkopfstaffel glove).

Disabled people = 2nd class citizens (5, Insightful)

gavanm (79661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462129)

People with no hands would obviously be exempt from the new fingerprint-based biometric passport system. Instead, they would have to apply for temporary, 12- month passports in order to travel, the MEPs agreed.

I can see this being popular with advocacy groups....

Especially when many non-EU countries are reluctant to welcome people with less than 6 months left on their passports. In effect many will have to apply for a temporary passport every 6 months.

Stupidity at its best. If the passport biometrics indicate they have no hands, the it should be very easy to verify this.

Either that or ask people for toe prints, or nose prints or stump prints.

Re:Disabled people = 2nd class citizens (4, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462153)

Either that or ask people for toe prints, or nose prints or stump prints.

Or better yet, face prints, also known by insiders as "photographs". Presents the advantage of being easily identifiable by anyone.

Re:Disabled people = 2nd class citizens (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462345)

except the blind!

Re:Disabled people = 2nd class citizens (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463193)

``Or better yet, face prints, also known by insiders as "photographs". Presents the advantage of being easily identifiable by anyone.''

We (Netherlands, an EU country) have those, too. And we're not allowed to smile on them anymore. The reason? The photographs are analyzed by computers, and the result of this analysis is stored on a chip on the passport. Then, when they want to identify you, they can do another face print, and match the result with what's on the chip. I'm told the process has a 5 to 10 percent error rate. I leave it up to you to calculate how many false positives and false negatives that yields.

The chip also stores a bunch of other information, of course. And it's readable from a distance. The government would have you believe that the distance is very short (a few cm) and that the information is encrypted securely and cannot be used by malicious third parties, nor can it be used by the government to track your every move (you are required to carry id everywhere you go). None of these claims hold up to scrutiny; the chips are readable from at least a few meters away and, though there is encryption, it is weak and has been defeated.

I believe all the above is due to incompetence and not malice, but that doesn't leave me a lot less concerned.

As our American friends say, "good luck with that" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462201)

I can't see this one going very far. Several of the most influential EU nations have general elections coming up within a year or two, centralised European power is already under the spotlight because of the way the Constitution^WReform Treaty was handled by diktat, and governments already lost at sea over the economic mess won't want to rock the boat any further.

In the UK, in particular, I suspect the NO2ID anti-ID card campaign will pick this up in about ten seconds. At that point, it will become associated with the National Identity Register and National ID Card biometrics programmes, and become a political suicide pill.

With a bit of luck, it'll finally bring down the catastrophe that is centrally dictated European policy, make us aware that we don't have to jump just because some guy at 1600 said so, and restore a little of the democracy we've had stolen from us in recent years along the way.

Re:As our American friends say, "good luck with th (1)

nicklott (533496) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462787)

The UK already has biometric passports, though the fingerprint and iris scan info is voluntary (currently).

http://www.ips.gov.uk/passport/about-biometric-why.asp

I wish ID cards were a political suicide pill. I really don't understand why both main parties are pushing ahead with them come what may. It's ridiculously expensive, impossible to enforce and hugely unpopular, so whats in it for them??

Re:As our American friends say, "good luck with th (2, Informative)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463023)

I wish ID cards were a political suicide pill. I really don't understand why both main parties are pushing ahead with them come what may.

One of us has got completely the wrong idea here: I thought the Tory lot had given a pretty much black-and-white statement that they would repeal the Identity Card legislation, and had consistently opposed the introduction of all the biometric nonsense from the start.

Yep, here we go: ID cards on the Conservatives' web site [conservatives.com] is pretty clearly against them.

Re:As our American friends say, "good luck with th (4, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463093)

It's ridiculously expensive, impossible to enforce and hugely unpopular, so whats in it for them??

Hugely unpopular ? ID cards only seem to be 'hugely unpopular' amongst a vocal minority, everyone else tends to fall into either the 'they will help us catch bad people' or, at most, the 'I've done nothing wrong, so I've got nothing to hide' camps.

Re:As our American friends say, "good luck with th (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463311)

so whats in it for them??

Their bosses gratitude.

(The identity of their masters is a matter of some debate. Insert favourite conspiracy meme. The Rothschilds, the Bankers, the illuminati, the Americans, big business, the Jews, the 4th Reich, Lizard people from beyond the 4th dimension, etc..)

Re:As our American friends say, "good luck with th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462895)

With a bit of luck, it'll finally bring down the catastrophe that is centrally dictated European policy, make us aware that we don't have to jump just because some guy at 1600 said so, and restore a little of the democracy we've had stolen from us in recent years along the way.

There is no centrally dictated European policy: for one, most of it are _guidelines_, and secondly, most `policy' (please mark the quotes) is enforced through jurisdiction, not government.

Besides, in the 1600's, there was no idea of any Unified Europe (or rather, to catch the mood of the times: `Grand Realm of Christendom').
If you are referring to, say, Erasmus and his likes, then you should realise that they did not strive for the political unity we see today. That has mostly come to be as a result of the horrors of two World Wars that bled the continent (and it's neighbour isle ;) of any real political power: `nie wieder Krieg', they say..

Re:As our American friends say, "good luck with th (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463031)

Whatever the official route my be, EU directives have repeatedly been used as an excuse to push through unpopular legislation that would never fly domestically. That really has to stop.

I meant the guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, by the way.

Re:As our American friends say, "good luck with th (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463181)

Maybe it won't get far in the UK, but I'm afraid the rest of Europe (sadly Ireland included) will hop right aboard this.

For example, in Belgium (where love of red-tape is a universal fetish) it is required by law for everyone to carry their ID papers at all times. You can be stopped and asked for your papers by the police at any time, without cause. And this is considered perfectly normal. As if Germany had actually won the war. (Vos papieren! Schnell!)

The Germans will love something like this. The Belgians will love it even more. The French will complain, but no one cares what they think. The Italians will create a market in fake ID. And the Irish will hop on board because they're terrified of annoying Europe after their public said No to Lisbon.

Re:As our American friends say, "good luck with th (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463233)

I think you overestimate the value E.U. citizens put on their privacy, and their resistance to governments collecting data about everyone. There is virtually none.

Are we all criminals? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462239)

I thought fingerprinting was reserved for people in jail?

Re:Are we all criminals? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462569)

Yes....haven't you figured it out? We're all guilty until they fail to find something to charge you with....

Re:Are we all criminals? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463391)

``I thought fingerprinting was reserved for people in jail?''

The question is not if it is, but if it should be. Should fingerprinting be done for everyone, for noone, or for certain groups of people?

Political? (5, Insightful)

youknowjack (1452161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462287)

This is almost certainly a political move; with terrorism being a scarier topic than privacy

Nevertheless, the summary doesn't do justice to the article. The article suggests that experts agree the passports will be much harder to forge (impossible with current methods) - which is a big strength.

In fact, the main argument against using biotech passports (in the article) is that authorities will begin to rely on them 'too much', which doesn't ring true to me, since biotech is inherently MORE reliable than, say, an official trying to identify someone by a small passport photo.

I think the risk of misappropriation of bio-information is worth it, weighed up against the risk of terrorist or criminal activities which it seeks to mitigate.

+1 Troll (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462723)

Can we get a +1 Troll (or maybe Flaimbait) option?

Sometimes inspiring a little discussion is a good thing.

Re:Political? (3, Insightful)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462955)

which doesn't ring true to me, since biotech is inherently MORE reliable than, say, an official trying to identify someone by a small passport photo.

The point is that by removing the element of judgment in favour of something objective but possibly flawed you get a situation where people don't exercise judgment when the machine gets it wrong.

Re:Political? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463029)

Harder to Forge.. The people who did that recent 'Job' in India did not have passports..

In Africa and other places, passports can be bought, if you have the money.

Many people come in .. without passports

Many people BORN - do not have passports

So there is zero advantage, unless the naz err police tap you on the shoulder and say passport or id card for work or whatever.

The risk of being biometrically identified after one blows him/herself up is also pretty useless, as the baddies know this already.

That rules out forgery as a need, and screams police state.

Re:Political? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463063)

Political? Its aboutbback-handers and pocket lining. A Costco card is free with "biometric" picture on, but a govt card costs £70 so that the private contractors can be paid.

Can you say "thieving bastards?" I thought you could!

Re:Political? (4, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463371)

``I think the risk of misappropriation of bio-information is worth it, weighed up against the risk of terrorist or criminal activities which it seeks to mitigate.''

Now this is how we should look at it. In most discussions, all I ever hear is "X is bad, because of Y" or "X is good, because of Z". Usually, both sides are right. But that's not what we want to know. We want to know, considering all the benefits and all the drawbacks, if we'd be better of with or without X.

With the current generation of passports issued in the Netherlands, I am down on the "X is bad" side. This is because the government haven't done their homework (or they have and are trying to mislead us all). The chip that's on them allows anybody who wants to to read the information on it, and this can be done from a few meters away without us knowing about it, let alone consenting to it. Government publications say this is not the case, which I take to mean "that's not how we intended it". That's why I say, even if you are in favor of the government collecting the data that is on those chips, you should still be against the current generation of chips.

Given that the government is lying about these chips, I think much closer scrutiny is warranted. What do they _really_ want to achieve, and what is _really_ being achieved? Also, I want my money back, because all of my money that has gone into implementing the current system has gone into a system that is, at best, dangerously flawed, and at worst intentionally dangerous. Both of which aren't something I want to pay for, nor even get for free.

Underneath all this, however, is the important question of "suppose the system were implemented the government would have you believe it is, would it then be a Good Thing?" It will never be perfectly secure, but it can be a lot better than it is now. And I am convinced we can do better checking of people against passports with additional data stored on the passport than without it. My question is: how cost effective is it all? How much would it cost to implement a decent biometric identification system, and how much would that save us?

Driver license size passports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462329)

If they are going to go all high tech on the passport thing, the feature I want is to re-size the things so they're the size of drivers licenses and credit cards.

Sure, they'd have to rethink the whole rubber-stamp on entry and exit thing but if they're going to pack the passports full of technology anyway how hard can it be to add a digital version of the rubber stamp?

Now all we need is... (1)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462333)

...the abusive immigrations officer.

*badum ching*

Problems (4, Insightful)

tdwMighty (1453161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462349)

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._passport#Biometric_passport [wikipedia.org]

According to privacy advocates, the BAC and the shielded cover are ineffective when a passport is open, and that a passport may have to be opened for inspection in a public place such as a hotel, a bank, or an Internet cafe. An open passport is subject to illicit reading of chip data, such as by a government agent who is tracking a passport holder's movements or by a criminal who is intending identity theft.

If this is true, then wont this just hurt the honest people and do nothing to stop "criminals"?

Re:Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462385)

A passport open for inspection in a hotel? An Internet cafe?

Re:Problems (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462967)

A passport open for inspection in a hotel?

In some places you're lucky if they stick to inspecting it. There are hotels where they try to hang onto your passport until you leave, presumably to ensure you pay.

Re:Problems (1)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463161)

Most people can take your picture in a public area, and hundreds of waiters or anyone around your table in a pub can take your fingerprints.

This is different how from reading it from a chip?

If they are close enough to read the chip, they're probably already in range not to need it.

Re:Problems (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463397)

How much crime does a better passport stop, anyway?

The avalanche has already started ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462353)

It is too late for the pebbles to vote. :-(

A necessity (5, Funny)

Lavene (1025400) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462457)

I think this is good since it helps stopping terrorists and pedophiles. Terrorists and pedophiles are constantly crossing the borders to terrorize us and molest our children. Terrorists and pedophiles. Terrorists and pedophiles.

By giving up my privacy I help catch the terrorists and pedophiles. By registering my fingerprints and DNA I help catch the terrorists and pedophiles.

The terrorists and pedophiles are everywhere. They must be stopped and in order to do so I must let the government read my e-mail, follow my web browsing, track my phone calls. It's the only way to stop the terrorists and pedophiles.

By protesting you support the terrorists and pedophiles you damn pedophile terrorist. If you're not with your government you're with the terrorists and pedophiles.

Terrorists! Pedophiles! Everywhere!!

Must... give... fingerprint... to... stop... terrorists and pedophiles.

Re:A necessity (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462515)

That's what a terrorists would say to deflect suspicion. Or a pedophile.

Re:A necessity (0, Flamebait)

shellster_dude (1261444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462617)

And don't forget about them dangerous homosexuals [youtube.com] . You can be protected from them if you give up your fingerprints.

Re:A necessity (1)

GAB_cyclist (1274556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462923)

this would be funny if not for the more than 50% who actually think this way. The minister of defence in Belgium gave us the "you're either with us or you're with the terrorists" speech as a reply on a valid question asked by a senator 2 months ago and there was no outrage what so ever over this... this is when it hit me that the world is changing rapidly and not for the better.

Re:A necessity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463481)

You forgot the money launderers.

Interesting (1)

Renegade Iconoclast (1415775) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462501)

I've always (naturally) assumed that Osama has an army of zero-handed clones, who look so similar, it's literally impossible to tell them apart from photos, and that they all have valid passports. Finally, proof! This law will definitely hit Al-Qaeda where it hurts!

Dear EU government officials (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462621)

Dear EU government officials,

As a loyal EU citizen, in his mid 30's, who remembers a time when fingerprinting was only associated with criminals (you know, watching German detectives on TV... Derrick, Der Alte), I am again surprised by utter waste of EU tax money by a group of people who need to get out of in the real world.
I am just curious to know if this is a knee-jerk reaction to terrorism, simply blindly following USA regulations, or yet another "Please think of the children" action.
However, this is yet another costly measure for EU citizens: New passports for all children.
Furthermore:
1) Fingerprinting does not stop terrorism, since they can be easily faked (according to Japanese research, please Google for it)
2) Yet another way for identity theft will be created, resulting in more innocent people being falsely accused of crimes committed in their name
3) Does not stop the source and cause of child trafficking, just puts another avoidable barrier in place for the criminals and yet another expensive airport/land border check to be implemented

Be a responsible EU official and stop wasting our tax money.

With best regards,
A concerned, honest and loyal EU citizen

Re:Dear EU government officials (1)

RotHorseKid (239899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462893)

New passports for all children.

Ah well, as an EU govmt official, you have to think hard about how to secure a job in the spying industry after your term of service is over...

And the Swiss will vote in May (5, Interesting)

dago (25724) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462645)

as the parlament changed the law to introduce biometric passports, a group of citizens sucessfully launched a referendum.
As a result, they're going to vote on this in May, so this will be a good indicator as the people will directy decided.

And before other people jump on the democracy aspect and representation in the EU, don't forget that many EU government/parlament (including mine) already introducted biometric passports and are directly elected.

It will be also difficult to guess what the swiss result will be as they already 'confirmed' different EU decision in such referendums.

Re:And the Swiss will vote in May (3, Interesting)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463195)

As I'm sure you know, Switzerland is not part of the EU.

They are also a fantastic country to live in, because everyone is armed, and has done military service.

It's the perfect example of "Government being scared of its people, not people being scared of their government"

If the Swiss government ever tried to do the sort of crap you regularly see in the UK, Ireland or America, they'd be quickly taken out and shot.

mod Down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26462761)

Not agreed to, forced upon us! (2, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462879)

Most people in Europe are horrified by yet another intrusion into their privacy. This agreement is made by a group of people who do NOT speak for the majority of the population.

And all this for the sake of the untangeable "war on terrorism". What a sick display of arrogance.

Classified as disabled (1)

RotHorseKid (239899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462885)

The new law makes no specific reference to bricklayers, who frequently erase their fingerprints in the course of their working lives. "I suppose they'll get classified as disabled and will have to travel on temporary passports," Clayton said. (Emphasis mine)
Oh, the irony...

Maybe not such a bad idea... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26462903)

My mother had five sons. I was one of them. There were moments when she had the damndest time keeping our names straight. I once called my wife by an ex-girlfriend's name... well, that was in my head, but I refuse to call her anything but "honey" for fear that I might slip one day.

Look people, these "government" people are just like our parents. They know what is best for us and want to take very good care of us. So what if they have a little trouble keeping up with our names and addresses and think they need biometric tracking systems just to remember our birthdays? Really? Is it so bad?

----
Leonard: You convinced me. Maybe tonight we should sneak in and shampoo her carpet.
Sheldon: You don't think that crosses the line?
Leonard: Yes... For God's sake, Sheldon, do I have to... hold up a sarcasm sign every time I open my mouth?
Sheldon: You have a sarcasm sign?

In Poland they already issue these passports... (1)

hubert.lepicki (1119397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463061)

They have started issuing biometrical passports already - quietly, so that no one had chance to say no... However, I don't see this as threat to my privacy / human rights. The only thing that concerns me are technical issues - and it seems to be quite poorly protected.

Re:In Poland they already issue these passports... (1)

var-tec (1391451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463283)

You don't see a threat in the fact, that anyone within few feet of you can access your private data?

Re:In Poland they already issue these passports... (1)

hubert.lepicki (1119397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463333)

Yeah, this is technical issue - I won't complain about my data present there but I care about security of it.

Re:In Poland they already issue these passports... (1)

var-tec (1391451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463781)

It's not just a technical issue. It's the design issue. There's absolutely no reason to store actual information in the passport. Information digest would serve as well for verification purposes, but cannot be used in identity theft. And yes, there are well known digest algorithms for biometric data (eg. storing only information about minutia points, instead of actual fingerprints).
Furthermore, whats the point of actually having data in the passport if the Police can access the SIS database [wikipedia.org] ?

Don't worry, this is perfectly safe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463097)

That's right, citizen! Biometric passports are harder to crack and harder to counterfeit!

Oh, wait... [thc.org]

Wait, is this actually news? (2, Informative)

slart42 (694765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463227)

AFAIK most european countries have had biometric passports for years. Certainly my (german) passport has an RFID tag with my photo's biometric information on it. More recent passports also include fingerprints.

AFAIK, this is also mandated by the US, for any foreigners wishing to enter the country visa free (visa waiver program countries). A friend from switzerland told me (in 2007), that he was actually allowed to choose whether he wanted a normal passport or a biometric one (enabling travel to the US).

So what is actually new here? It hasn't been EU-wide before? Not that I approve of this or anything, but most EU countries have this implemented already, anyways.

Re:Wait, is this actually news? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463269)

It is not new. It is an eveil thing done years before in some countries. Starting with Jan 2009 it is implemented also in Romania.
Only IMBECILS would belive governments are after terorists or improved security by using these electronic passports.
Governments don't give a shit on your security, they care about power and control and this is exactly what they are after.

They are already here (2, Informative)

var-tec (1391451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463271)

Most European countries already issue biometric passports. US and UK has been pushing really hard on this issue (US requirement for visa waiver programme). The problem is that they didn't care much about privacy. As an effect the data is poorly protected and what's even worse, accessible by RF. So now, to steal someone's identity, you don't even have to have physical access to his passport. Just get within 20-30cm.

Dutch citizens have no voice (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26463519)

It's just a shame that even when there would be a referendum in Holland, government simply nullifies it because 'the people are not well-informed' or say it's only meant as a guideline.
We only had one referendum and there we voted against a European Constitution. After that they never gave us the chance to vote for the new one and simply adopted it.
Anyway, Whatever Dutch Parliament says, it's almost never representative of what the Dutch people think or want.

We have them for a long time! (3, Informative)

carvalhao (774969) | more than 5 years ago | (#26463549)

Interesting news, considering that Portugal, an EU member since 1986, has been issuing these EU biometric passports for some years now. Actually, nowadays you may even enter Portugal through a completely automated passport control.
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