02 September 2008

Photo ID Checks at Airports

Bruce Schneier 's  LA Times Op Ed explains why no-fly lists and photo IDs do not help protect the flying public from terrorists.The crux of the article is:  Previously, people with expired IDs or who claimed to have lost their IDs were subjected to secondary screening. Then the Transportation Security Administration realized that meant someone on the government's no-fly list -- the list that is supposed to keep our planes safe from terrorists -- could just fly with no ID....however...The problem is that it is unverified passenger names that get checked against the no-fly list. At security checkpoints, the TSA just matches IDs to whatever is printed on the boarding passes. The airline checks boarding passes against tickets when people board the plane. But because no one checks ticketed names against IDs, the security breaks down.
Schneier then goes on to point out that this is not so important because the no-fly does little to prevent terrorism
  • even if these lists were complete and accurate, they wouldn't work. Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber, the D.C. snipers, the London subway bombers and most of the 9/11 terrorists weren't on any list before they committed their terrorist acts.
  • the photo ID requirement is based on the myth that we can somehow correlate identity with intent. We can't.
No surprises here. If we knew that people were terrorists then we prove so in a trial and put them in jail. Most western countries have a judicial system based on hundreds of years of applying this common sense. However governments continue to spend money on this which is good for some technology based industries such as biometrics,  which seems to have coalesced into a few big players such as L1 and the big defense contractors.  Highlights from the Research and Markets' Global Biometric Forecast are
  • Propelled by several regulatory compliances and mandates, the global biometric market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 20% through 2012.
  • Biometric technologies like facial recognition, fingerprint, AFIS and iris are anticipated to account for more than 80% of the global biometric market by 2012.
  • Iris recognition technology is projected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 36% from 2008 to 2012 followed by hand geometry, voice recognition and face recognition.
  • Financial and healthcare sectors are likely to emerge as the major technology consumers over the forecast period with future CAGR pegged at around 45% and over 31% respectively.
  • North America and Asia-Pacific together are expected to account for nearly 55% of the global biometric market by 2012.
  • The global biometric market offers huge scope for devices/peripheral manufacturers and software developers to offer better quality services at affordable price in order to serve mass market.

There are moves to coordinate biometrics information:

3 comments:

Peter Williams said...

See also http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/08/19/europe/EU-Britain-Border-Control.php

Peter Williams said...

See also http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/08/19/europe/EU-Britain-Border-Control.php

Matthew said...

Most of this sort of security is to make people feel safe. So they will continue to go about there business. Like flying.