Re: TIDE, Railhead, and Oracle (waaaay ot)

From: Niall Litchfield <>
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 22:16:27 +0100
Message-ID: <>

Just to be clear, the UK proposal is different in that it involves storing the biometrics in at least one central govt database. We already have a non-optional DNA database for those the police decide to pick up. I agree that validating cards presented by travellers against the biometrics of those travellers raises the bar of fraudulent travel, though not I guess for long. I rather suspect though that each of us if presented with an authentication scheme for our core databases that involved validating one set of credentials presented by a client against another set of credentials presented by the same client would be sceptical. So for me the benefits from schemes like this are in convenience and speed, rather than security. I might well trade that for a card that I carry, I won't for a central database - or 'the record on file' as it was described earlier.

And yes I've worked on govt databases, though I guess I've just ruled out a future job opportunity here, and no they aren't bullet-proof, neither of course are the banks, and the major IT consultancies seem to be engaged on a spate of losing data, and not admitting it, right now.

And to be further clear :( I know I'm presenting the anti case against something that isn't proposed anywhere other than the UK, It does seem to me to be a balancing act, and technology is only a part of it. Whom do you trust and is everyone you need to trust included, is the bigger question. One or more central govt databases that store useful and valuable biometric data about citizens (and maybe are shared across borders - give that till say 2015) will have real benefits, I just don't believe the risk is worth it, and wouldn't start with airport inconvenience, but then I'm British and like queueing....


On Mon, Sep 8, 2008 at 8:17 PM, Carel-Jan Engel <> wrote:
> we do that here in the netherlands for a couple of years already.
> my passport data is stored on a cc-format piece of plastic. so is the data
> of the iris of both my eyes.
> i got my card some 3-4 years ago.
> now, when leaving or entering the country, i have the chip of the card read
> at the first door of the special lane. it opens, allowing me access to the
> iris-scan device, and closes behind me. if my eye matches the card, the
> second swings open. at random, sometimes the other door swings open, giving
> me priority access to the immigration officer (who can see the whole
> process, the doors are only appr. 1m high). in that case:
> 1. i was randomly picked out for a check of my real passport;
> 2. my eye wasn't recognized (glasses dirty, i don't have to put them off,
> having my eye outside of the pretty wide scan area, whatever)
> 3. some (traffic?) penalty wasn't payed in time.
> 1) has happened once so far, 2) has happened twice.
> mind that no biometric data of me is stored anywhere in a database, just on
> the card i'm carrying. maybe i'm naive, but i cannot see a potential data
> leak there. well, i shouldn't lose the card. but then, who has the software
> to read it? and what can they do with it? i can lose my passport too. these
> are documents you treat very carefully.
> data regarding 3) is matched, based on our equivalent of the us social
> security number. that would be matched when they scan my passport too.
> it costs me EUR119/year (appr. usd 238). i get closer parking spots,
> business class check-in at many airlines, and so on, for that. when i renew
> my passport, i get a new card. takes 30 minutes at the airport, and i'm fine
> for again 5 years.
> when returning from the us, or any other country that is not part of the
> schengen-treaty, normally i'm in the car some 30-45 minutes after docking at
> the gate. that is, when i have to pick up checked in luggage, otherwise it's
> appr. 15-20 minutes.
> alas, available only at schiphol airport, although it seems we dutch
> pot-smoking liberals are allowed through electronic immigration procedures
> in washington dulles and jfk rsn (real soon now), based on the very same
> card.
> check for more info.
> Best regards,
> Carel-Jan Engel
> ===
> If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. (Derek Bok)
> ===
> On Mon, 2008-09-08 at 18:28 +0100, Niall Litchfield wrote:
> Interesting to me that you propose that. Here in the UK we have the
> same idea - government gets to store our biological identities in at
> least 2 databases - I'm pretty sure that's a bad idea. I certainly
> don't wish to trade it for faster check in. Especially as no-one wants
> to use the same tech for better health care. Still if you want every
> border guard and cop to have access to core identity data for legal
> citizens, I imagine that faster airports will be only one advantage.

Niall Litchfield
Oracle DBA
Received on Mon Sep 08 2008 - 16:16:27 CDT

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