Feeds

UK and US agree biometric heavily vetted trusted traveller deal

'Built on UK success' - have the yanks lost the plot?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The UK and US governments are to set up a fast-track scheme for trusted, frequent travellers between the two countries, immigration minister Liam Byrne announced today. So say goodbye to immigration blues? Not so fast - the agreement between the two countries only "sets out the shared determination to develop a swift channel across the two borders for trusted travellers", presumably meaning that it'll be a while yet.

The proposed swift channel, says the Home Office, will use fingerprint, iris or facial recognition to speed up border control, and "builds on the success" of the UK's IRIS scheme, which uses iris scans to identify registered trusted travellers at the border. IRIS isn't massively popular (it's been used over a million times since March 2006), but at least some of its 200,000 registered users are enthusiastic about it, and registration is relative simple, albeit involving a measure of agreed privacy invasion.

Implementing a system of this sort that the US would be happy with is however not necessarily trivial, and it's the 'trusted' bit of trusted traveller that the Department of Homeland Security is likely to chew away at. User registration for the proposed system would have to be carried out to the satisfaction of both governments, with both running background checks and watchlist checks of the candidates. And one can probably presume that whatever data on you the UK government looks up will automatically be passed on to the US.

Besides that, the biometric identifier used to verify the user needs to be agreed. The US possibly isn't too particular, as it now takes photos and collects all ten fingerprints on entry, and a trusted traveller scheme might mean it was happy just checking the one, provided it had all of the rest on file and could be sure the owner was still the owner. It might even be happy to have the UK authorities collect the file biometrics for it (the UK authorities certainly would be).

The system will almost certainly have some relationship to the 'clear to fly' Electronic Travel Authorization system the US plans as a successor to the visa waiver programme. Under this, prospective travellers will need to be pre-authorised prior to being allowed to board a plane to the US.

So with the ETA, people wanting to travel to the US will be checked out before they're allowed to, and hence those allowed to can be deemed trusted, right? Whereas with the proposed trusted traveller scheme, people travelling frequently to the US will be checked out first, and those allowed to participate can also be deemed trusted. More trusted? Are the rest of the travellers still potentially dangerous despite having been cleared?

Or might those on the trusted traveller scheme be business travellers vouched for by their companies? As Byrne made the announcement to representatives of large City of London employers, noting as he did the importance to large financial organisations of speedy travel between the UK and the US, one could hazard a guess... ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.