Feeds

US expected to abandon Biometric passport plan

Technology seen as unreliable, say reports

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.