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Germany Begins Iris Scans at Frankfurt Airport

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the visine-not-included dept.

Privacy 322

securitas writes "Deutsche Welle reports that at Germany's Frankfurt airport biometric iris scans of airline passengers have begun. The German government says that the six-month pilot project is part of Europe's 18-country Automated and Biometrics-based Border Checks initiative to improve 'border control routines' and domestic security, with a full-scale system to follow. The system uses an iris scan embedded in a passenger's machine-readable passport, which is compared to the passenger's iris with an onsite scan. Travelers must 'sign a data security document' and agree to be checked by border guards. The article also references the capability of an iris scan to determine drug and alcohol consumption. The European Parliament is considering replacing all of its traditional passports with a new European biometric passport by 2005. The IRISPASS system (press release) was built by Byometric systems, Iridian and Oki Electric Industry. More coverage at CNet/ZDNet, AP/USA Today and mirrors at AJC, and CNN."

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Don't forget... (-1)

SCO$699FeeTroll (695565) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344684)

...to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

Iris changes (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344691)

greasy, dirty or peeling skin on the finger can easily distort fingerprint-recognition, a factor that plays no role in the case of iris-recognition.

So, does this mean that folks with melanomas of the iris, cataracts, macular degeneration (which is common and can manifest initially through pigment changes in the iris), etc... will have to go through a bigger hassle than the other passengers when traveling?

Also, since the iris does change throughout life, I would guess that one would have to renew their iris scan on their passport from time to time.

Re:Iris changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344735)

What if an electrical discharge destroys your eyes?

Neo in Matrix Revolution comes to mind.

This means Neo cannot take a plane. I guess that's why he learned to fly.

Christ, you mean somebody actually watched that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344882)

Wasn't "The Matrix: Reloaded" warning enough for ya?!!!

Crap, you probably bought "Gigli" on DVD.

Re:Iris changes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344781)

well think of it as free govt. sponsored testing that could lead to early warning signs of serious eye problems ..... or not

Re:Iris changes (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344799)

6 months is too short a time frame to achieve anything. I am guessing it would probably take more than 6 months to get some percentage of Europe to use this. What about travellers from other countries. How can you keep your borders safe when people from other countries can come in without their IRIS scans on their passports.

Iris changes (4, Interesting)

FlyingOrca (747207) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344824)

I would think the scan will have to be renewed on a fairly regular basis.

Still, this leaves me wondering. We hear a lot of negative stuff about universal ID cards of one stripe or another (I won't go so far as to call it FUD, it may be quite reasonable). Most of the cautions expressed seem to revolve around duplication / forgery by criminals etc.

Anyone have any info on how hard it would be to fool an iris (or retina) scanner? Might be a good substitute for universal IDs. I mean, the ostensible principles of univeral IDs aren't all bad...

Re:Iris changes (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344996)

"Anyone have any info on how hard it would be to fool an iris (or retina) scanner?"

Print an image onto a contact lens?

Re:Iris changes (1)

Jim_Maryland (718224) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345003)

Didn't the movie Demolition Man (Stalone, Snipes) have a scene where Snipes used a victims eyeball to open some doors? Been a while since I've seen that movie, but could something like that actually work?

I'm guessing that additional securty methods (security guards) would catch something like this, but I'm sure somebody out there will try it.

Re:Iris changes (3, Insightful)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345037)

Didn't the movie Demolition Man (Stalone, Snipes) have a scene where Snipes used a victims eyeball to open some doors?
Yes, and there was a similar scenario in The Minority Report (Tom Cruise).

The beauty of identity theft + biometrics is that there's no way to issue another account. :)

Using a victim's eyeball (1)

FlyingOrca (747207) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345151)

I'd think you could easily program around that, ditto for contact lenses. Temperature, presence of pulse, etc. - would be hard to fake, I think. Especially with retinal scans.

Re:Iris changes (4, Insightful)

furiousgeorge (30912) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345079)

>>Anyone have any info on how hard it
>>would be to fool an iris (or retina) scanner?

You don't have to fool the scanner. According to the article the iris print is stored on a card/passport that you present. So all you have to do is forge the source.

If they were looking up your iris in a master database that would be a different issue.

Forge the source (2, Insightful)

FlyingOrca (747207) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345177)

Hmm... sounds like a job for strong encryption. I was thinking more of a database, though... and the security issues there are frightening. Hell, just the *stupidity* issues there are frightening!

Re:Iris changes (4, Insightful)

erick99 (743982) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344832)

From an interview that can be found on CNN's site:

Rick Lockridge: Illness and aging cause changes to your eyes, but the iris never changes from the eighth month of gestation until death. That's why EyeTicket and others feel iris-recognition technology is superior to thumbprint recognition and other competitors.

Happy Trails!

Erick

Re:Iris changes (4, Funny)

kolbeinn (101301) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344956)

but the iris never changes from the eighth month of gestation until death.

So, does this mean that folks suffering from death (which is common and can manifest initially through pigment changes in the iris), etc... will have to go through a bigger hassle than the other passengers when traveling?

Re:Iris changes (1, Funny)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345009)

but the iris never changes from the eighth month of gestation until death.

So, does this mean that folks suffering from death (which is common and can manifest initially through pigment changes in the iris), etc... will have to go through a bigger hassle than the other passengers when traveling?

While it shouldn't be a problem for the dead guy (he has a bigger problem than getting past airport security), it could be a problem if you gouge out [imdb.com] someone else's eye to try to get past a scan.

Re:Iris changes (2, Funny)

demaria (122790) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345169)

Nah, you can just check them in the cargo hold.

Re:Iris changes (3, Informative)

Greedo (304385) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344989)

Babies eyes don't settle down to their final colour until sometime bewteen 6 and 12 months (source [ukparents.co.uk] , another [babycenter.com] ).

So, their irises do change, certainly in colour. There aren't many 6-12 month-old terrorists running around, so maybe that's not an issue. But what Lockridge said is clearly wrong.

Re:Iris changes (4, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345069)

but the iris never changes from the eighth month of gestation until death.

This is absolutely wrong. Especially with pathological changes.

And yes, I am a vision scientist.

Re:ring, ring, ring, ring!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8345195)

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > MyD00M.S calls to airport again < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < <

Re:Iris changes (1)

Eradicator2k3 (670371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344861)

Holy shit!!! Did they scan that as well?

Re:Iris changes (4, Interesting)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344982)

If all the machine does is make sure that your IRIS, matches the Iris on your card you hand them, than isn't still going to be fakeable, because the control element is based on the idea that your passport is right about what that persons Iris is supposed to be?


I submit this idea, does it even matter? How many terrorist acts are commited by people who snuck, 9-11 was commited by people who came into the US legally

Re:Iris changes (4, Interesting)

orangesquid (79734) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345034)

I'm also curious about the ability to detect "drug and alcohol consumption." Is this done by checking iris/pupil characteristics?

And, drugs---you mean like antidepressants and anxiolytics, both of which are wont to induce mydriasis?

"I'm sorry, sir. Dilation says can't let you on the plane. You're either on speed, or you're on happy pills, and either way, we don't want you."

If there are other detectable characteristics in the iris area besides pupil dilatation, I'd love to know. Any ocular pharmacology researchers out there?

Re: it's a lack of privacy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8345090)

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > MyD00M.S calls to airport < < < < < < < < < < < < < < < <

Minority Report (2, Insightful)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344698)

I fear a bleak future run along the lines of Minority Report's eye scanning. Honestly, this technology is scary.

Re:Minority Report (4, Funny)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344713)

I'd start checking ebay for tinfoil lenses then.

Re:Minority Report (1)

Eradicator2k3 (670371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344919)

I totally agree with you and "Metallic Matty" (if that's really his/her real name). Next thing you know, the government will employ people who can see the future AND see what crime someone will commit REGARDLESS of whether they're wearing tinfoil "accessories" or not. Oh, the humanity!!!

"this technology is scary" (5, Insightful)

funny-jack (741994) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344730)

Honestly, this technology is scary.

I think that has probably been said by someone about pretty much every technology we use today. It isn't the technology that's scary, it's what people might do with it. Almost every new technology has the potential for good, as well as evil.

Re:"this technology is scary" (4, Insightful)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344802)

I think that has probably been said by someone about pretty much every technology we use today. It isn't the technology that's scary, it's what people might do with it. Almost every new technology has the potential for good, as well as evil.

I completely agree. But with a congress passing legislation like the Patriot Act, I believe the potential for evil is reasonably feared.

Re:"this technology is scary" (1)

funny-jack (741994) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344873)

And whether or not I agree with you, that is a reasonable opinion. But since you stated a concern with the technology, not the people who would use it (or legislate its use), I felt it necessary to point out the general neutrality of most technology.

Of course, being that this is Slashdot, I can understand making a comment as quickly as possible (and thus not clarifying one's opinion) in order to try and make first post. I'll even admit to having done it before myself. :^|

Re:Minority Report (4, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345105)

"I fear a bleak future run along the lines of Minority Report's eye scanning. Honestly, this technology is scary."

I don't. Hollywood's been predicting that the world will rot for decades. Instead, it slowly gets better and better.

Technology can be dangerous if it is absorbed too quickly. There's no time for thought and adjustment. However, we have a very big population, and that means technology is very slow to be adopted, and by then proper precautions are usually taken.

It's also worth noting that nearly everything people imagine happening that would be real 'bad' has large problems with practicality. The benefit has to outweigh the practicality, and nearly everything that people are afraid of fails that test in one form or another. Somebody told me once that they were afraid that if electronic identification got too out of control, the gov't would watch what everybody's doing. You could get stopped from boarding an airplane because you were at a Muslim church earlier that day. (Note: That's what he told me, that's not my own idea there.) Everybody worries that it'll be the case, but nobody thinks abou twhat it'd take to do that. Besides requiring a massive computer network and central data archive to store all this information, a computer has to go in and do the analysis on it. Hello?! There are 300 million people in this country. We're a long ways away from having that data available. Then there's the whole matter of false positives. Make it too sensitive, and you'll have a lot of people chasing false leads indefinitely. The only way it would practically work is if it looked for VERY strong stuff. Even then, you still have to have a human review it and make a judgement call. The United States Gov't would have to front a LOT of expense and co-ordinate a massive effort to do what people are afraid of, and the benefit is... What? Total control? Our gov't isn't after that. It's too hard to acquire, too hard to maintain. On top of all that, even those in power find themselves in a not so lovely position. I'm sure Mr. Adolf had a terrible time knowing who his friends were.

It's not that I'm trying to be dismissive here, I'm just not sold on the idea that it's all that scary. I am quite happy to support the right checks and balances, however. If we were talking about electronic law enforcement (as opposed to electronic flagging, which is what this technology is about) you'd be having an entirely different conversation with me.

(Cliche Slashdot post...) (-1)

Bryan Gividen (739949) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344715)

I for one welcome our Nazi, eye-scanning German overlords.

Re:(Cliche Slashdot post...) (2, Insightful)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344788)

Oh, it's all for the security of the United States. there is the pressure from. The next time a terrorist group attacks Manhattan, we will know a little bit more about these guys, their biometrical data. To look someone in the eyes is very important for psychologial reasons. Eyes don't lie :-)

Oh fer crying out loud. (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344911)

Oh, it's all for the security of the United States.

Ah! I was wondering why those Germans in Germany were scanning passengers in a German airport as part of a European initiative. Turns out it's to secure the United States!

Tell me, are European tinfoil hats more stylish than the American variety?

Re:Oh fer crying out loud. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8345042)

Well, in case you didn't know, the whole project has been fast-tracked because the US administration has insisted that they will stop visa-free travel from friendly countries that won't implement biometric identification data in their passports. It's been all over the newspapers over here... American pressure makes good jingoistic copy. Not that we don't have our own law enforcement happy to oblige in Europe, but the US ultimatum has been effective in making political opponents of the plan appear "irrational" and "non-practical". After all, it's all being done for our own good and for the good of our good friends in the US...

Re:(Cliche Slashdot post...) (4, Insightful)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344800)

Excuse me, just because something the german's do is something you don't agree with you call them Nazi's? EXCUSE ME?

Right now our own [US] government is a lot more like the Dritten Reich than the current german government.

As far as many europeans I know this doesn't bother them, because it's not more invasive than many other things that happen over there.


Be careful about throwing around the "Nazi" term - it may offend some of us around for many reasons, especially when it's inappropraitely and racistly used like you just did.

Re:(Cliche Slashdot post...) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8345058)

Right now our own [US] government is a lot more like the Dritten Reich than the current german government.

Except they're not German...

It's a joke. Meant as such. I'm not going to be PC when I'm making a joke. Sorry if it offends you.

In Soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344716)

In Soviet Russia, scan IRISES YOU!!!

So, tell me........ (5, Funny)

Eradicator2k3 (670371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344723)

...who is this "Iris?" Was she clothed when she was scanned and, most importantly is she seeing anyone?

Re:So, tell me........ (1)

supe (163410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344836)

Mod up parent! I was seeing her 'till I failed her
scan.

Re:So, tell me........ (5, Funny)

senor_burt (515819) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344966)

If it's a pilot project, why are the passengers checked?

Iris Smith sues Frankfurt airport (1)

Tandoori Haggis (662404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344728)

after scan images are published in seedy newspaper.

I sense an opportunity for profit (2, Funny)

qewl (671495) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344731)

*Gets to work on iris creation and replacement machine* *Puts away fake (novel) ID machine*

Re:I sense an opportunity for profit (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344791)

*Gets to work on iris creation and replacement machine* *Puts away fake (novel) ID machine*

Profit? You can imagine how well the first person to sell the machine to organized crime will profit. Build a better mouse trap and the rats will simply bribe someone for the plans.

Re:I sense an opportunity for profit (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344943)

I want to get an Iris-RW device.... change my iris as needed, make for creepy half/half solid as well as six even portions alternating colors

Aye, Aye, Cap'n (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344736)

I predict a rise in the number of passengers who claim to be blind.

Jan 1, 2006: "The Berlin Who's Who lists a lot of people nicknamed Cyclops"

Re:Aye, Aye, Cap'n (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344827)

I predict a rise in the number of passengers who claim to be blind.

I predict me not going back to Germany until they realise this is stupid if the rest of the EU doesn't do it too.

Shortly after that, I predict either going to Germany, or more likely, not going back to the EU.

At least they aren't... (5, Funny)

pzycho (745634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344745)

At least they aren't Frankfurt scanning.

Re:At least they aren't... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344940)

At least they aren't Frankfurt scanning.

Hey! I haven't done anything wrong! Let me go! Damn, at least let me call my embassy! You've got the wrong guy! No, I won't cooperate, I'm about to miss my flight to Las Vegas, lemme go! I tell you, I got these purple pills on the internet, that's all, I'm not trying to pull a fast one!"

These Bloody Nazis... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344757)

...sound like a bunch of Americans.

ACCESS DENIED! (5, Funny)

plams (744927) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344772)

My dad always thought that the best security meassure for these iris scans would be some sort of icepick-like tip that pokes you hard in the eye if the scan fails.

Re:ACCESS DENIED! (4, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345170)

"My dad always thought that the best security meassure for these iris scans would be some sort of icepick-like tip that pokes you hard in the eye if the scan fails."

Boy you really gotta laugh at the guy that fails the test twice.

Iris scans are so passe! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344787)

In the Soviet Union, they did iris scans at airports already in 1984!

They won't get me! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344792)

My tin foil contact lenses will put a stop to that nonsense.

Well personally... (2, Funny)

Bingo Foo (179380) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344797)

...I blame Ashcroft.

Re:Well personally... (1)

jonesbarrym (754964) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344835)

(Germany)

Hm. (2, Interesting)

MrEd (60684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344801)

The system uses an iris scan embedded in a passenger's machine-readable passport, which is compared to the passenger's iris with an onsite scan.


So you get a passport made with a fake iris scan, just like you would get one with a fake photo.


Or would it cryptographically check with a central office to make sure the passport iris scan is the same one you got when you applied for the passport? Whole other can of worms...

Re:Hm. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344923)

actually the iris scan is not embedded in the machine readable passport. (such passports do not exist in the EU (yet)..). instead the iris scan is stored in a database linked to a machine readable passport.
passport number and iris scan don't match --> access denied

Re:Hm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344958)

I'm surre Larry Ellison will design the cards so they can't be made by anyone else.

well... (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345049)

Or would it cryptographically check with a central office

you just have to do two things:

#1 you check the digital signature of the actual data payload on the passport (which probably contains other things besides the iris scan, things like your name, address, blah blah blah)

#2 you do status checking on the certificate that was used to sign said data (just in case it was compromised, hey, it could happen).

#1 will already give you a pretty high level of confidence that things haven't been mucked around with (no way you'd be able to forge a digital signature, and one assumes that the certs used for this signing will be well guarded), #2 can be done in a variety of different ways (retrieving CRLs from the CA at specified time intervals all the way to realtime status checking via OCSP) depending on your level of paranoia.

Re:Hm. (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345135)

cryptographically check with a central office
  • Across the internet
  • To/From MS Windows OS driven machines
I feel like I'm quoting from Cluedo.
  • Colonel Mustard
  • In the library
  • With a Candlestick

We've all seen the movie .... (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344807)

passanger get's mugged by terrorist who steals his ticket ..... and now his eyes to present to the machine ....

Re:We've all seen the movie .... (1)

bobbis.u (703273) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345068)

I believe it is possible for the scanners to tell whether the eye is dead (by looking for movement).

What Privacy? (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344810)

I know people are going to trash this idea as a Privacy Issue, but keep in mind, there *are* a lot of bad people out there. But also, at this point in the evolution of technology, talking about "privacy" is almost silly, TRW and Nexus/Lexus already know more about you than you do.

Re:What Privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8345122)

There are a hell of a lot more good people in the world than bad. So, we get to jump thru hoops and have our eyes scanned so the Fatherland can say we're the good guys?

Remember, when eyes are outlawed, only outlaws will have eyes!

Colored contact lenses (2, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344811)

What about using colored contact lenses [coloredcontacts.com] to change identities. The only way to make brown eyes look blue is with a fake iris. A less suspicious person gets a passport wearing a pair of these and then gives that pair of contacts to another less-reputable person. I wonder if German authorities would even look twice at a nice artificially blond, artificially blue-eyed disguised terrorist.

Re:Colored contact lenses (2, Insightful)

selphish189 (754989) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344999)

Ahhh... as with most iris scanning I would assume that one of two things would happen (or both). 1) Whenever you got your passport, and everytime you got scanned at the airport, you would be required to remove your contacts. 2) The iris scanning will probaly be able to read through contacts or at least dectect that they are contacts. You cannot fake a the depth of an iris with a contact, so i am sure that could be dected. Also, you get different contacts regualry, so since no two contacts can be the same, just as no two irises can be the same, your passport would only be good for a few months at a max. of course this is assuming 1 and 2 are not correct.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol introduced this in 2002 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344812)

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol introduced iris scanning in 2002

http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/03/27/schipho l.security/ [cnn.com]

Odd for the Germans considering... (-1, Offtopic)

Eagle5596 (575899) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344814)

You'd think the Germans would have more trust for the Iris, I mean, they both like their beer, both have some good brews in their country, so who cares if they have read hair!

What me, worried? (4, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344817)

Germans collecting bilogical data about everyone who comes through their borders...what could go wrong?

Re:What me, worried? (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345100)

I just spit up my drink. The worst part is I'm applying to get a German passport. My father passed away recently, and considering the data that was in his birth certificate (family history for 300 years). I would say that things have been known to go wrong with collecting this much information. Especially considering what my birth certificates from that era were used for.

But I'd have to say that Germans would probably be the last people to abuse that data considering that a vast number of them know the consequences. I'd be far more worried about Ashcroft with that data than Schroder.

Anyways, this iris scanner thing is only good for as long as iris scanners are rare. Just like you can fake a photo on a passport so could you fake an iris scan.

WTF? Future use in DEA witchhunting campaigns? (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344838)

Furthermore, the iris doesn't just betray the identity of the passenger, but can also tell much about his or her possible drug and alcohol consumption.

Cuff him, the computer says he might be high!

On the one hand... (4, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344839)

This is rather invasive and doesn't bode well for privacy. Not to mention the issues of being able to get the same scan every time (eye damage, anyone?). On the other hand, it does make an attempt to solve the authentication problem -- how do you know that the person holding the passport is the person the password was issued to? Take a sample of data points from the scan at the time of application which are guaranteed to be reproducible (the signature) and sign it against a government-held private key. Barring changes in the eye structure, this should be easily reproducible.

Still, all these methods do nothing to prevent terrorism. They only validate that the person shoving their eye into the reader, terrorist or innocent, matches with the passport. Done properly, it should be incredibly difficult to forge a passport without having someone high up on the inside with access to the private encryption key. But it won't stop terrorists.

Re:On the one hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344888)

freudian slip... s/password/passport/

Re:On the one hand... (4, Informative)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345186)

The problem is these IDs are based on a non-biometric data source. (ie. birth certificate). As long as the root of the document chain is comprimisable the whole system is. If I am the same age and gender as another person they can become me if I can get their birth certificate.

Abnormalities? (5, Interesting)

MysteriousMystery (708469) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344848)

What about the blind? People who use colored or distorted contacts (IE shaded contacts, contacts with designs on them), or other abnormalities of the eye. There might be a lot of ways people could potentially bypass a system like that.

Why RMS objects to fingerprint scans... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344857)

greasy, dirty or peeling skin on the finger can easily distort fingerprint-recognition, a factor that plays no role in the case of iris-recognition.

This, of course, is why RMS does not believe in fingerprint scans...

The beginning of the end (3, Insightful)

NeoTheOne (673445) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344858)

Its only a matter of time before walking out your door requires a biometric scan. It is preposterous that we as free people of the world allow ourselves to be subjected to this for the sake of "security". This is like any other "protective" measure. It screws over the decent people of the earth and does nothing to the criminals. GUN LAWS DONT KEEP GUNS OUT OF CRIMINAL HANDS! All the terrorists and bad guys are gonna do now is sneak into countries without flying to them directly. Or the terrorists will recruit people inside of countries they dont like. You dont stop bad guys by telling them to stop. You MAKE the BAD GUYS stop. Leave joe-shmoe's rights alone.

Now that I think about it... (0)

HenryFjord (754739) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344860)

This is just yet another indication of the dwindling nature of our personal liberties and privacy. I think I am going to craft some tinfoil glasses to go along with my hat. *twiddles thumbs*

Just wait until this stuff gets cheap. (3, Insightful)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344864)

When all this "We Will Keep the Terrorists Away(TM)" technology becomes really cheap, we will enjoy a future where:

All transactions are electronic. Think "Credits" in "Total Recall".

All movement is scanned. Think eye scanning in "Minority Report".

All new information is copyrighted, and DRM free info is exchanged amongs the population like drugs are today. Think "Matrix" where Neo gets his little disks for cash, before he goes and follows the White Rabbit.

All information is put together in a database, where the Government can search it at will, without a warrent. Think "198..." scratch that. Think "2004", TIA project, Echelon, Patriot Act I, Patriot Act II, Patriot Act III (comming soon to a Democracy near you) et. al.

FUN!

This will just make terrorist groups... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344877)

...start using operatives who have no eyes. And then what will we do?

Re:This will just make terrorist groups... (3, Funny)

ice cream koan (634082) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344977)

That's easy, we'll keep moving all the big skyscrapers around so the blind terrorists can't find them anymore...

Unbalanced security (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344890)

With each new device or method used in airports to catch or filter out terrorists, the barrier to commit terrorist acts is raised higher. What do you think will happen when it becomes virtually impossible to do anything even remotely odd near or inside airports and airplanes? well I'll tell you : terrorists will fall back on easier targets, chiefly trains. And then, once a train has been derailled, every government will start applying airport police-state methods to railway stations and trains, and so on ...

It's an endless battle. If countries carries on trying to defend themselves like they do now (mostly in the US, but also in other countries), they'll all turn into huge menacing police states. and terrorists will have won. If those countries don't defend themselves, terrorists will blow things up forever and will have won again.

What the world really needs is a true force of education in dangerous countries, a project that spans over 2 or 3 generations. The US is in Afghanistan and Iraq, why don't they set up schools to teach the current generation of kids there not to hate, and why terrorism is bad? They're not doing jack squat, and neither are any other countries concerned by terrorist threats. Instead of starting to implement that long-term, but only real solution to the terrorist problem, they barricade themselves and make life miserable for their own populations.

Re:Unbalanced security (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345002)

It's an endless battle. If countries carries on trying to defend themselves like they do now (mostly in the US, but also in other countries), they'll all turn into huge menacing police states.

But dude, we have to do it to protect our freedom and our way of life.

You're not against freedom and our way of life. . . are you?

KFG

Re:Unbalanced security (1)

ballpoint (192660) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345182)

You're right about the trains. My colleague keeps bragging about how the TGV (the French High Speed Train) is more practical than the airplane as there are no security controls.

He's right. For now.

Just wait until somebody puts two 3 meter long pieces of derailing hardware on the tracks near a bridge. Off goes the TGV at 350km/hour.

Just wait until somebody positions two suitcases filled with explosives near a bogey using a GPS to accurately detonate them near a point of interest.

Just wait until somebody makes the TGV enter the Gare Du Nord at 150km/hour around 09:00 or 17:00.

We're all at mercy of the 'tewwowists'. And I'm not so sure it will be possible to create such an ideal society that there won't be any. Maybe it's natures way to deal with overpopulation; you don't see too many terrorist acts where there are few people together.

mod dOwn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344903)

toosers, went out not going home

New, superior method of identification (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344941)

Every anus has a unique pattern of wrinkles.

Picture that security line now...

Re:New, superior method of identification (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8344960)

I suspect yours is too smooth to detect anything, with all these cocks going in and out all day long. So it wouldn't work.

As one who's actually worked with iris scanners... (5, Informative)

jskiff (746548) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344955)

I actually worked with Iridian [iridiantech.com] back when they were called "Iriscan" a few years ago. The technology was pretty cool; unlike fingerprint or voiceprints, which can only verify someone's identity after they tell you (via a username, prox card, etc) who they are, an iris scan can actually identify a user based off of their iris pattern.

A typical fingerprint has about 10 points that can be uniquely identified, and on a thumbprint scanner you're lucky to get 5 or 6 of them reliably. The iris has roughly 26 unique points that can be picked up every time. Back when I was working with Iridian's stuff they used a low light video camera to basically take a picture of your eye...no funky lasers or anything like that. Additionally, and perhaps morbidly so, they had built technology to help identify if the eye was live or not, so not only could you not just hold up a picture of an eye, but you couldn't take someone else's eye (a la Demolition Man, I believe) and hold it up to the scanner.

Additionally, the iris pattern (and thumbprint or voiceprint in other applications) is never held as an actual pattern; it's just a hash based off of what comes off the scanner, so privacy was not much of a concern.

Re:As one who's actually worked with iris scanners (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345074)

. . .an iris scan can actually identify a user based off of their iris pattern.

. . . privacy was not much of a concern.

You are using a different definition of privacy than one many people are concerned about.

KFG

Thank goodness (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344983)

this poor kid [noeyes.com] wasn't born in Germany.

Surprise Surprise... (-1, Flamebait)

SparafucileMan (544171) | more than 10 years ago | (#8344988)

...the fascists are at it again.

Me as a German (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8345018)

who never flew anywhere gets angry when he hears about that at /. I did not here a beep about this here in Germany, I guess the plan is to introuce the system through the backdoor.
Sometimes you get the impression that politicians are all paranoid. And our home secretary, Otto Schily [spdfraktion.de] , who was a former defender (lawyer) of terrorists (German RAF) seems to have the greatest paranoia of them all. Otherwise I think that it would be equal by whom germany is led, they all would run behind the great and allmighty USA and try to stick their heads into its butt.

What if.. (3, Informative)

LazyBoy (128384) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345065)

What if I come from a country that doesn't have an iris scan embedded in a passenger's machine-readable passport?

Also, Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea to deform. This would cause scans of your iris to change. Also, people with this often have cornea transplants. The stitches (which are sometimes left in "forever") are right over the iris.

Never trust the client (3, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345078)

What good is comparing an iris scan to information on the passport? It should be compared against a central database. At some point the system used to place the information on the passport will be cracked - either by hacking or theft. Criminals or terrorists with the most money (Al Qaeda have had access to millions of $$ in the past) will be able to effectively bypass the system whilst the honest individual citizens are kept under the thumb by big brother.

We tested them at work (2, Informative)

crimestopper (754997) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345082)

I work for a private security company (can't give you the name) and we are looking into biometrics too.

They seem to work quite well. There is one "drawback" though: you can only use them to identify people who are already in your database. So it can only be used to authorize personel and not to identify visitors for example. This will remain like this until governements start keeping databases of biometric records.

Ofcourse this isn't very evident because the TTEI-resolution of 2001 specifically forbids practices like this on grounds of techfear I suppose.

Potential Abuse (1)

d_force (249909) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345103)

Thought process:

- Many official documents require you to provide your fingerprint information. In fact, some gov't agencies even collect this information.

- Assume you would like to use your fingerprints for personal authentication for your own use (accessing computer system, data, etc... yes, I know it's a crappy tech for various reasons, but humor me)

- If someone can access your collected fingerprint data from the agency, he/she could (potentially) use this data to bypass your personal authentication.

Now, in that line of thought, replace "fingerprint" with "iris" and "personal authentication" with "commercial authentication".

I think you see where I'm going with this...

- dforce

hah! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8345108)

All you Eurotrash hating on the US all day long can now bend over and prepare for GPS transponder insertion...

uh oh (1)

bmajik (96670) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345109)

sounds like a good reason to not fly.

I just saw minority report a few weeks ago. I very quickly thought to myself "when some government tries this mandatory retina scanning shit, humanity is done"

thanks EU.

I'm wondering when some government is going to require every citizen to wear a mark. maybe the same government will link the mark to being able to participate in monetary transactions.

I'll be moving to a desert, thanks.

Open Biometrics for the home? (3, Interesting)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 10 years ago | (#8345168)



I've always had a geeky dreamproject of supplementing my traditional lock and key entry to my house with biometric security devices. The idea being that in the event of a systems failure, instead of being locked out of the house I could fall back to the old lock-n-key method.

My idea would be to use either iris-scanning, breath analyzation or some combination of the two (ideally a choice so that if one were to fail, say the iris, the breath analyzer would let you in). Much more efficient than fumbling around for keys in the dark! And a blessing to the drunken Irishman I can sometimes be (not all, but SOME stereotypes certainly hold more than a little water...and occasionally some whiskey too!) I digress.

But the last time I checked, (this was a few years ago) such devices were not so readily available. And when you could find them they were exorbitantly expensive. Insult to injury drivers were only available for NT. Not that it would be that terrible to set up an NT box for this purpose, but Linux of course would be much preferable.

So my question is, has this situation changed? Has the price of this technology become more available and affordable? Still prohibitively expensive? Any sourceforgian opensource driver alternative for the devices that are?
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