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back to article Passport PIN tech could have SAVED MH370 ID fraudsters

A man who developed PIN code protection for credit cards is looking to extend the technology to passports as a way of making stolen credentials more difficult to use. Kenneth Cecil of International Security, who came up with PIN code protection in US patent 6,340,116), will present a white paper on extending the technology to …

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Another excuse to jack up the passport tax?

I'm sure UK gov will jump at the opportunity. A measly £150 should cover the "cost" of these new fangled ID papers, we must also consider that technology becomes obsolete so quickly nowadays, so a 1 year expiry date is by no means unreasonable.

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Pint

Is there electricity and a network connection at your border entry points?

One's travel documents themselves are only critical at remote, isolated border crossings where they lack access to the (?) database(s).

At the other 99.9999% of border crossings, the document should be simply used as a token or index to bring up the online record (including an image of the subject's face and any other identifying info). The document itself could be a slip of paper with a ref. number or barcode printed on it.

The policies and procedures of "ID" predate the wired world. Daft.

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Re: Is there electricity and a network connection at your border entry points?

This is a brilliant idea.

In order to make this work every country is going to have to agree on a single standard and share their databases. The USA, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Ukraine, Britain and France - all working together in a spirit of cooperation and international brotherhood

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Anonymous Coward

Where's the data to support the fact it's needed

You've looked at ONE plane and found two passengers on fraudulent passports. There are around 100,000 flights per day - they've not even sampled one days worth of data to see how many fraudulent passports are being used. Maybe it's 2 per flight for every flight. Maybe it's only 2 when they plan to blow up the plane.

More data, less knee-jerk technical solutions required here, especially since we will have to foot the bill.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where's the data to support the fact it's needed

And the cheaper solution for everyone concerned would be to actually check passports to see if they have been reported as stolen or lost.

Trying to push for a hitech solution based on one incident is, as you've pointed out, ridiculous

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Re: Where's the data to support the fact it's needed

I'm with AC on that one.

The system exists and would be perfectly capable of exposing this without any gizmo or fancy modification.

The reason that these slipped through was that the Interpol database isn't directly and easily accessible by airlines (which makes sense given that check in agents would have the keys to thing, otherwise).

Argue about simplifying the access procedure, not about splashing out on unnecessary kit.

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Re: Where's the data to support the fact it's needed

Every time I've gone through passport control in anywhere resembling a reasonable airport the staff swipe my passport (or RFID check it) which reads the passport number off the page or off the chip.

There is no reason why this number can't be sent to a remote service and require just a four or five option response, "Okay", "Alert", "Call", "No Fly" for instance.

The agents don't need access to the database itself or to see any actual details.

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Holmes

AC - Re: Where's the data to support the fact it's needed

Wrote :- "You've looked at ONE plane and found two passengers on fraudulent passports. There are around 100,000 flights per day ..."

Well aimed at foot. I thought you were going to argue how many fraudulent passengers there must be all together - I make it 200,000 per day in the absence of any other information. Judging by the number of illegal immigrants in Britain alone there are indeed significant numbers of fraudulent passengers - even if not as many as this sample point would suggest.

But you are right, let's get some more accurate statistics, even if the bosses and politicians don't want to hear them in case it might affect the flow of illegal cheap labour to do the crap jobs.

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Government decision making is seldom data driven

This is a sad outcome of democracy. Everyone has a vote and all feel their opinion matters the same whether it is based on hard facts, feelings or from reading tea leaves, bibles, or other erroneous inputs.

Politicians have to pander to the masses. Those that don't get voted out and don't get to make policy. Thus, we get stupid laws and government policy because the great unwashed hold more power than critical thinking, rational, informed people.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Government decision making is seldom data driven

@Charles Manning

And the problems starts when somebody wants to decide who are critical thinking, rational, informed people.

Just forget it. Read some history.

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Def
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Or...

You could look at educating people into realising that being born or living on one side of an imaginary line doesn't make you better or worse than someone on the other side and passports are just a way to continue that myth in order to maintain governmental status quo.

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Re: Or...

I think the fact that 2 people took the time to mod parent down is the most damming piece of social commentary I've seen this year.

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WTF?

@Pypes - Re: Or...

Wrote :- "that 2 people took the time to mod parent down is the most damming piece of social commentary ..."

Six people by now including me, and you as well. I decided to mod him down as soon I read "you could look at educating people". Anything that relies on "educating people" is a non-starter.

And it is not about whether people consider themselves "better or worse than someone the other side [of a line]" , but about whether people reckon they will gain some greater advantage to themselves on the other side of a line.

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Re: Or...

I think the fact that 2 people took the time to mod parent down is the most damming piece of social commentary I've seen this year.

I've just given him another: look at what he said, think about it, and it is outright objectionable:

You could look at educating people into realising...

In other words, "This is what I think and therefore what all educated people think". It doesn't matter what the actual position is, the logic is dangerous and wide open to abuse. If the logic has any validity whatsoever we needn't bother educating those people, since the result is already known - we do whatever it is he wants.

That isn't a free democracy. It's a dictatorship ruled according to his own personal views.

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Def
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Re: Or...

I think you're reading too much into what I said. :)

The point I was making is that arbitrary lines on a map really don't matter. They really haven't ever mattered. Except to people in positions of power. People who have vested interests in maintaining those lines.

My point about educating people is this: No matter where you are born, you somehow grow up with prejudices against people who live in the country next door. The Scots hate the English. Norwegians hate the Swedes. Swedes hate the Finns. Americans hate Canadians. Everyone hates the French. While a lot of this 'hate' mostly provides material for comedians, it still finds ways out into everyday life - complaining about German tourists hogging all the deckchairs when in fact everyone does it. Thinking that because certain delicacies in one country are disgusting, therefore everyone in that country is disgusting. You were never taught any of this at school. It's just absorbed knowledge through childhood.

And it's all bullshit. Enforcing and encouraging nationalism on people through passports, border controls, etc. should be considered strange. Not normal. People are people. There isn't any real difference between any of us throughout the world. That is what should be taught.

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Holmes

@Def - Re: Or...

Wrote : "The point I was making is that arbitrary lines on a map really don't matter. They really haven't ever mattered. Except to people in positions of power."

They matter to me, and I am not in a position of power in this issue. Take criminals as an example: I don't like criminals being able to get away to countries that are indifferent or friendly to them, or other countries' criminals coming here when things get too hot where they came from.

Def wrote: "My point about educating people is this: No matter where you are born, you somehow grow up with prejudices against people who live in the country next door. The Scots hate the English...[etc etc] "

You are the one who introduced hate into the discussion. I would not want people barging into my living room or camping uninvited in my garden, and I suspect that even you would not either. Does that make me "hate" people?

You are like the people who claim that it is hypocrisy to like French wine (as I do) but be opposed to being in the EU (as I am). They assume that the only possible reason to be against the EU is "hate". But my car has tyres made with rubber from Malaya, but I don't think that Britain should therefore join the Malaysian federation - does that make me "hate" Malays? Hint - I once had a girlfriend from Penang.

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Re: @Def - Or...

They matter to me

Why do they matter to you? I mean, seriously. I doubt very much you're hounded by international gangs so much that you fear your life would be over if international borders (and therefore countries as a concept) were abolished.

You are the one who introduced hate into the discussion. I would not want people barging into my living room or camping uninvited in my garden, and I suspect that even you would not either. Does that make me "hate" people?

I was wondering when I was writing my last post whether 'hate' was the right word, or whether it was overly harsh to describe the real sentiment. But overall, I think it's the perfect word. Yes, I think you would hate them. As I probably would as well. But exactly why you think allowing people to travel freely would encourage them to come and camp in your garden is quite baffling to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Def - Or...

"Why do they matter to you? I mean, seriously. I doubt very much you're hounded by international gangs so much that you fear your life would be over if international borders (and therefore countries as a concept) were abolished"

I think Nuke was pointing out that your back garden is just an 'arbitrary' line on a map and therefore the removal of such might lead to etc etc.

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Getting through Airport Security

It's a slow and painstaking task already, can you imagine just how much longer it would take at passport control if you had to enter a PIN ?

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Re: Getting through Airport Security

It would be even worse than my bi-weekly shopping experience.

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Vic
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Re: Getting through Airport Security

can you imagine just how much longer it would take at passport control if you had to enter a PIN ?

Exactly. Passports get used a couple of times a year for most people - most of those PINs will get forgotten, so either they'll be written down on a piece of paper kept with (inside?) the passport - rendering the whole thing useless - or people will cluster around the gate trying desperately to remember a number they last used a year ago.

And then you've got the reliability issue. Given the *huge* number of passports in circulation, there will inevitably be some faulty keyboards. So even if the traveller can remember the PIN, he still can't type it into the passport, so he still misses his flight.

So there you go. Perhaps the article should be re-entitled "Man With Patent Seeks Ways To Make More Money"...

Vic.

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Re: Getting through Airport Security

Perhaps the article should be re-entitled "Man With Patent Seeks Ways Shamelessly Exploits Significant loss of Human Life in Attempt To Make More Money"...

FTFY

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Re: Getting through Airport Security

As a British person re-entering Britain, I observed that the manual passport control was faster than the electronic one.

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Vic

Like it +1

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Megaphone

biometric anyone?

I do not believe that it is even possible to get past passport control with a biometric passport.

You stand in front of the official, they scan your passpoprt code. up come your details, they look at you and pass you through.

Coming home, my passport lets me into the booth, my face etc is scanned and I walk through (to wait half an hour for my bag...)

Plus, all the loudspeaker calls for people who have forgotten to even GET on the plane.

AND STILL, we're made to feel like criminals just before we go onto a half hour flight!

El Al, everyone can take their water onto the plane. UK - "Excuse me Sir, but it's a criminal offence to carry a bottle of water onto the plane" (which I forgot was in the bottom of my bag from my hiking weekend....)

I ask again. How the hell did they get ON a plane with a stolen passport. ridiculous, or, as usual, only the UK and the USA are following the rules...

[I'm going to have a little lie down now....]

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Re: biometric anyone?

Huge amounts of airports don't have biometric checking, even if everyone did, it would only check a certain set of names (can you imagine the US allowing most of the world to check on THEIR citizens ).

So until you have a global installation, with a global database, at every airport, no matter how small, it will be easy to get around. Now let's not even mention good old fashioned bribery.

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Boffin

Re: biometric anyone?

All passports are biometric, they have a picture of your face in them.

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Joke

Re: biometric anyone?

"All passports are biometric, they have a picture of your face in them."

Total fail, you know that those bloody foreigners all look the same.

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Alien

... and the current missing aircraft..?

1) Bond Super Villain with blimp/thunderbird2 type vehicle has 'swallowed' it. (coated in stealth material of course.

2) mechanical failure and it went straight down.

3) Aliens (see one, but with a tractor beam / transporter)

4) the pilot did it.

99) maybe a hijack, but I really don't think so.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ... and the current missing aircraft..?

99) maybe a hijack, but I really don't think so.

Someone looking to seek asylum in Antartica maybe?

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Using disasters to promote sales

Despicable

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Patent troll cashing in

C'mon really? A PIN on a contact card vs a PIN on a contactless card?? Why would they award a patent?

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Am I missing the point ?

PIN and Bio-metric data are irrelevant, the passports were reported stolen 1 and 2 years ago, a simple look-up of the passport number should have prevented the use of the passports, passports now usually have a machine readable printed code and an rfid, these should be easily checked, before we worry about associating a particular person to a particular passport, surely just ensuring the passport is valid and not stolen is the first thing to get right, then worry about who has it.

After all if its not a valid passport it doesn't matter how much the person looks like the original owner.

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They were leaving the country....

Why would a nation want to prevent people travelling on stolen passports from leaving their country?

It would create a mess of inconvenience and expense.

You want to prevent them from entering your country; and if they got in, to leave.

It isn’t a technology problem.

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Anonymous Coward

UK passports already use RFID

Whilst many of these comments may be relevant for any territories, the UK passport already contains RFID EPassport technology and a high number of security features which make it almost impossible to counterfeit provided adequate security checks are performed by trained staff. The next generation of UK passport enhances these security features even further, and logistics of passport holders even remembering their PIN for up to 10 years would likely require further backend infrastructure investment.

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Re: Am I missing the point?

No, you're not. The simple fact that the FUD being put out by Malaysian authorities has conveninently allowed them (and rent-a-quote pundits) to side-step the frankly screaming failure of one (or several) immigration officers doing their job.

I've flown into Portugal, Spain and Abu Dhabi and Dubai and not encountered passport control at all - I've simply walked off the plane and straight through to collecy my bags and then out. My last transit through Dubai, the scanned my passport - initially it failed to scan, then it through up sort of flag. The Officer just scanned it gain...it flagged me again. He looked at the screen, then me, handed my passport back to me, shrugged and waved me on, like it was too much effort to check me out.

My passport photo makes me look like a boss of a columbian drug cartel, and the only country in the world that actually spent more than five seconds checking any resemblance was Singapore. And they fingerprinted me when I re-entered the country by car.

As usual, it's the 80lb bag of meat sat in the process that's the point of failure. All the tech in the world won't fix that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Am I missing the point?

As usual, it's the 80lb bag of meat sat in the process that's the point of failure.

Although to be fair the effects of malnutrition might have something to do with why it fails?

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FAIL

Lost or stolen (or dead)

If, like me, you don't go abroad too often, then how can even know when a passport is lost/stolen ? Mine (and MrsJPs) are kept in a drawer in the "office". I can't remember last time I actually saw they were there (it's now 30 seconds ago ;) ).

So it's quite feasible to acquire a passport not reported stolen, or lost.

Also, what about a dead person ? Does a death certificate automatically notify the passport office ?

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Re: Lost or stolen (or dead)

Shush! You'll give those undercover cops ideas!

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Re: Lost or stolen (or dead)

I think the executor is meant to send back the dead person's passport.

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Joke

Re: Lost or stolen (or dead)

You mean as well as clearing up the blood and disposing of the body I have find the passport and send it to the passport office. Oh you didn't mean executer...my bad :-(

My coat is the one with executor instructions in the pocket along with the bloody knife. A bloody dictionary would be better!

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Facepalm

After reading the article I think it can be summed up as:

Airport fails to perform even a basic passport check which would have stopped two travelers. Troll who was issued a patent that should never have been granted says the answer is more tech.

This is me moving on.

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Why mess around?

Come on, if we're going for the tech solution, everyone just gets chipped at birth, you know, like dogs. That way Big Brother can know who you are, where you are, whenever they want.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why mess around?

Woof!

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Re: Why mess around?

Totally unecessary - in fact there is no need for a passport at all.

If you are British, by God, the only reason to leave the country is the occasional need to teach johnny foreigner a lesson - and invasions normally entail a minimum of customs formalities.

If you are a foreigner you should jolly well stay there.

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Do you have any idea how many incompatible biometric security passports are in use? This is an area where every country likes to do its own thing.

One issue is that transit countries don't particularly want to stop outgoing false identities as then they may get stuck holding a refugee

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Facepalm

Scam

Expect more scam regarding that flight.

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