Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Going high-tech against terror 

God bless one of the weasels for doing their bit in the war on terror:

"In a bid to end repeated criticisms that the world market in illegal travel documents is awash with fake and stolen Belgian passports, the Belgian Foreign Minister on Monday unveiled a brand new passport that he insisted was almost impossible to copy."
Unfortunately the problem with Belgian passports is not so much that they are easy to forge but that they are so easy to steal. Like 19,000 blank passports stolen in 2001, providing al Quaeda with an almost limitless supply of legit travel documents.

The story goes on to say that the new and improved passports will include a special microchip containing biometric information about the document-holder:

"Biometric data can include iris scans, fingerprints and details about the passport holder's face. According to the Foreign Ministry, the biometric chips will make the passports almost impossible to forge, as every document will be uniquely matched to its owner."
Unfortunately, how many countries in the world have the necessary technology at their entry points to "read" the biometric information? Improving security at the Foreign Ministry might have been a better first step in trying to fix the problem.


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