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back to article Air France trials biometric boarding cards

Air France has started trialling RFID-equipped smartcards which store passenger fingerprints to allow automated boarding. The card contains an encrypted version of forefinger and thumb prints. It can be used at a dedicated gate, which checks the card, compares it to the passenger's finger or thumb print and, assuming the dabs …

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Police state technological solution-in-search-of-a-problem

Let me see if I've understood this right.

The reason for using biometrics in this case is to prevent someone being given a boarding pass and then handing it over to someone else, right?

But this is an old problem that has many and varied perfectly effective solutions already. And most of them cheaper and simpler and with less potential for abuse.

What is wrong with the old low-tech solution of stamping the back of their hand with an ink stamp? It needn't be an actual rubber stamp, maybe it could be one of those ink-jet printers that they use to spray use-by dates on eggshells and it could just print a bar-code on the back of your hand. (Cryptographically generated random number, so it can't be predicted or reused, of course, but that's not very hard).

Pointless, overengineered, expensive and repressive technology for its own sake, in search of government pork. Bah.

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Stop

Social hacking

All this does is prove that the fingers on the print reader are the same set at the gate.

There are at least 2 easy ways I can think of right now to bypass this:

1. Terrorist A gets Patsy B to buy the ticket, then Terrorist A goes with Patsy B to the kiosk, and substitutes A's fingers for B's when the machine reads them.

2. Using a PCB, transparency paper, and a printer you can create a fake set of prints out of latex, or gelatin. Hell, you don't even need to have real finger prints.Since the system reads your prints when it makes the card, you could use anything at all.

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Whats that little red book with my picture in it for?

At the check in desk the only proof that you are who you say you are is your passport *.

At security and the gate they also check your passport along with your boarding pass.

So this new biometric system just tells the professional security/police/immigration officials to not look at your passport because 'Traci' at the check-in desk, or a card reader at the automatic check-in has already done it?

(or driving licence if you are traveling in democratic Europe)

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Nev
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Coat

So, just a replacement for boarding cards then.

Wow, how very 21st Century.

Yes that's mine, I took it off whilst standing in line at security instead of waiting till I'm at the metal detector so that I can make everyone wait a few minutes more whilst I struggle to take it off.

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@Stephen Hunter

You forgot the machete method. That's real hacking: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4396831.stm

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