Feeds

US expected to abandon Biometric passport plan

Technology seen as unreliable, say reports

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Rules requiring Irish citizens to carry high-tech passports when visiting the US are to be dropped because the technology behind the scheme is seen as unreliable. The US Department of Homeland Security had previously set an October 2005 deadline for the inclusion of biometric information chips in the passports of European citizens who avail themselves of the Visa Waiver programme. This programme allows people to make short-term visits to the US without a visa. The chips would have included a variety of biological information about the passport holder, such as their fingerprints and retina scans.

But according to a report in the Sunday Times, Ireland has shelved plans to include biometric chips in passports amid expectations that the US is to abandon its biometric passport requirements.

"Biometrics are just a tool, the real concern is that the information would be used for more than immigration control," said Aisling Reidy, director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, speaking to ElectricNews.net. "There is also a significant risk of false positives, that people could be wrongly identified, because the technology is not reliable."

The Sunday Times, meanwhile, quoted a spokesperson from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, who said that the US has now recognised the technical challenges involved in implementing biometric information.

Trials carried out in the UK last year, for the purposes of introducing a biometrics-based UK national identity card, showed significant levels of failure in the registration and verification of iris, fingerprint and facial recognition trials involving 10,000 British citizens.

Under a new arrangement, holders of passports that include digital photographs could continue to avail of the visa waiver programme. The latest Irish passports include a secure digital photograph, but do not include biometrical information.

The new arrangement is understood to have been devised following discussions between the US and the European Commission. European officials believe the Americans have taken on board concerns that the move would reduce the number of people traveling to the US for business and leisure purposes.

Biometric passports have been under consideration since 2002, when US legislators passed a law requiring the 27 countries in the Visa Waiver programme to start issuing high-tech passports by October 2004. The deadline was subsequently extended to October 2005.

© ENN

Related news

US biometric ID request raises ID concern in UK
ID cards technology is ready, says UK minister
EU biometric visa trial opts for the tinfoil sleeve
Smile: you're under global surveillance
UK to use passports to build national fingerprint database

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.