• EU biometric passports not that safe, experts say

    The EU’s e-passports were supposed to be fool-proof, even impossible to counterfeit; Europol has warned, though, that despite the biometric changes to passports, counterfeiting still remains a major problem for criminals or others “who are determined to do so,” with the provision of documents for irregular immigrants being the main driver of the activity

  • Ireland to block EU-Israel data-sharing agreement

    The EU and Israel planned on launching a data sharing agreement aimed to enable law enforcement better to identify and track terrorists and criminals; Ireland, still smarting from what it says was Israel intelligence’s misuse of Irish passports in the assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai earlier this year, blocks the agreement

  • MorphoTrak receives secure driver license contract award from North Carolina

    The $47.5 million contract calls for the company to supply the state with MorphoTrak’s Secure Credentials Center for identity assurance; the company will implement its 3D Photo IDTM technology, which features laser-engraved three dimensional photo-images

  • Puerto Rico overhauls birth-certificate systems; will annul 5 million birth certificates

    More than 40 percent of all passport fraud cases in the United States start with a stolen Puerto Rican birth certificate; identity thieves have targeted Puerto Ricans because Puerto Rican names provide the perfect cover for Hispanic illegal immigrants entering the United States and are worth as much as $6,000 on the black market; the documents are so valuable that drug addicts trade them for a fix; the Puerto Rican government has decided to change all that: current Puerto Rican birth certificates will no longer be valid after 30 September; between now and then, all Puerto Ricans will have to apply for more secure birth documents

  • "IPhone on Steroids" to bolster law enforcement biometric capabilities

    Plymouth County, Massachusetts became the first in the country to deploy the Mobile and Wireless Multi-Modal Biometric Offender Recognition and Information System (MORIS). The system is part of a national network, designed to help law enforcement agencies keep track of sex offenders, gang members, inmates, and illegal aliens

  • Government plans new biometric passport rollout

    The U.K. government is planning to begin issuing new biometric passports in the autumn; the Home Secretary said the government was looking at providing better physical security and stronger electronic security for a new design of passport to be made available from 5 October

  • Despite warnings, sensitive components of U.S. e-Passport are assembled in Thailand

    Security experts have warned about the security risks for a while now, but a U.S. government contractor is still assembling a key passport component in Thailand; the Government Printing Office (GPO) inspector general has warned the GPO lacks a basic security plan for protecting blank e-Passports from theft by terrorists, foreign spies, or counterfeiters

  • Biometrics and cloud computing

    More and more biometric-enabled identity cards are being issued by governments; taking these cards into the streets and other remote locations will increase the demand for mobile biometric devices; these mobile devices permit a country to take biometric-based critical services directly to citizens, rather than requiring citizens to come to the technology

  • It is official: U.K. national ID cards scrapped within 100 days

    The new U.K. government made it official; within 100 days, the biometric national ID scheme would scrapped, and the National Identity Register, the database that contains the biographic and biometric fingerprint data of card holders, would also be destroyed

  • U.K. ID card cancellation to save taxpayers more than £800 million

    Documents accompanying Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech say that the U.K. government will save £86 million and the public will save more than £800 million in fees from the abolition of biometric national identity cards; the Queen outlines several other bills the Tory-Lib/Dem government will push, including adopting the Scottish model for the National DNA Database in England and Wales, further regulating CCTV, and ending the “storage of internet and email records without good reason”

  • U.K. second-generation ePassports project appears doomed

    A clause in the coalition agreement between the Conservatives and the Liberal democrats call for chopping the second generation e-Passport scheme initiated be the departing Labor government; the U.K. biometric industry may not like this, but it is not yet clear what the impact on the industry will be; depending upon the water-tightness of contracts already signed with suppliers, the ID card project could still be fundamentally redesigned, rather than scrapped in its entirety; also, many other U.K. biometric projects will continue — IDENT1, Border Agency’s visa application program, eBorders program, and various Ministry of Defense documents that use the technology

  • Paper I-94W forms will be no longer be needed for travelers from Visa Waiver nations

    By the end of the summer DHS will do away with paper I-94W forms for travelers from the thirty-six Visa Waiver Program nations; the process will now become completely electronic; travelers will log on to CBP’s Web site, submit their personal and travel information, and answer a list of questions related to public health and criminal activity that could make the traveler inadmissible

  • Bulgaria's biometric passport scheme

    The introduction of ID documents with biometric data was a requirement for Bulgaria to join the European Union (EU) and was originally scheduled to come into effect before EU accession in January 2007, but was later rescheduled, with a final deadline in mid-2009; the implementation of the e-passports plan has not been a picture of efficiency and good management

  • Safer e-cards for passports, e-IDs, and electronic voting

    Researchers find serious security drawbacks in chips that are being embedded in e-passports and other e-IDs, and in credit, debit, and “smart” cards; the vulnerabilities of this electronic approach — and the vulnerability of the private information contained in the chips — are becoming more acute; using simple devices constructed from $20 disposable cameras and copper cooking-gas pipes, the researchers demonstrated how easily the cards’ radio frequency (RF) signals can be disrupted; the method can also be used to corrupt the results of electronic voting machines

  • New Hampshire legislature overwhelmingly defeats biometrics restrictions bill

    The New Hampshire legislation considered a bill which would have banned the use of biometrics in identification cards issued by the state and private entities, except in the case of employee identification cards; the bill also would have barred a state or private group from requiring individuals to submit biometric information as a condition for doing business; the bill was overwhelmingly defeated in a vote last Thursday