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  1. #1
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    Upcoming UK ID cards to be US agency accessible

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/05..._compatability

    A sensible thing or does it raise any concerns not just in regards to the UK - but other countries introducing biometric machine readable cards too?

    The UK government plans to issue its ID card as a passport with biometric identifiers stored in a chip and the US wants those chips to be compatible with its own scanners, raising the possibility that US agencies could have access to the ID Card database.

    The US call for biometric standardisation exceeds currently agreed international standards for airline navigation, safety and security. In 2003, it was agreed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that the initial international biometric standard for passports would be facial mapping, although additional biometrics such as fingerprinting could be included.

    Currently, for example, all foreign visitors entering the US have their two index fingers scanned, and a digital photograph taken before they are granted entry. Most visitors are also required to obtain a visa.

    Nature of the US request
    Michael Chertoff, US Secretary of Homeland Security, last week said this the EU and US were close to a deal on the introduction of biometrics in passports for those seeking entry to the US, and urged the EU to ensure compatibility between EU and US biometric systems.

    According to press reports, Chertoff has also asked the UK to consider chip compatibility in respect of the proposed UK national identity card scheme.

    He told reporters: "It would be a very bad thing if we all invested huge amounts of money in biometric systems and they didn't work with each other."

    "Hopefully, we're not going to do VHS and Betamax with our chips, he added.

    Compatibility could deliver on-line data exchange
    According to The Independent newspaper, this could mean that information held on UK identity cards could be accessed in the US.

    The potential for this link arises because of the decisions of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to promote an international standard for passports. These decisions have been reinforced by a decision of the Council of Ministers of the European Community to introduce a common format passport for member states.

    The decision of the UK government to link the ID cards with the passport means that the UK's ID card will be compatible with international passport standards. According to the Passport Office website, "For many UK citizens the identity card will be issued as passports come up for renewal or for first time applications." As a result, "The Home Office, the UKPS and other government departments will now work together "to start to lay the foundations for the scheme, which will establish a more secure means of proving people's identity."

    As part of this process, the UKPS "will progress its major anti-fraud and secure identity initiatives including the addition of a biometric to the British passport. So if a biometric passport is linked to the ID Card in a common format which is compatible with the USA's travel requirement, then direct USA access to the ID Card/Passport database becomes an option in relation to travel to the USA."

    Lack of biometrics still a problem
    The US had initially set 26 October 2004 as the date by which Visa Waiver Program travellers were supposed to present a biometric passport for visa-free travel to the US, but extended it for one year when it became clear that the 27 states that are eligible for the Program including the UK would be unable to comply.

    Unfortunately EU countries are still unable to produce the biometrically-enabled passports, and unless the US is prepared to extend its deadline again, EU visitors to the US will soon find themselves obliged to obtain a visa before they will be granted entry.

    According to reports, the US and EU are now close to a deal on the timing of the biometric passport requirement.

    Biometric passports and terrorism
    Biometric passports have been identified by governments throughout the world as a key factor in the fight against terrorism, and their implementation is being driven by the US.

    The USA-PATRIOT Act, passed by the US Congress after the events of September 2001, included the requirement that the President certify a biometric technology standard for use in identifying aliens seeking admission into the US, within two years.

    The schedule for its implementation was accelerated by another piece of legislation, the little-known Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act 2002. Part of this second law included seeking international co-operation with this standard. The incentive to international co-operation was made clear:

    "By October 26, 2004, in order for a country to remain eligible for participation in the visa waiver program its government must certify that it has a program to issue to its nationals machine-readable passports that are tamper-resistant and which incorporate biometric and authentication identifiers that satisfy the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)."

    Citizens from those countries belonging to the Visa Waiver Program (including many EU countries, Australia, Brunei, Iceland, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and Slovenia) do not require a visa, but as from 26 October last year, have been obliged to show a machine-readable passport.

    Unless a further deadline extension is reached, VWP citizens entering the US after 26 October 2005 must, if their passport is issued after 26 October 2005, use a machine-readable, biometrically-enabled passport or obtain a visa.

    Copyright 2005, OUT-LAW.com

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  2. #2
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    Citizens from those countries belonging to the Visa Waiver Program (including many EU countries, Australia, Brunei, Iceland, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and Slovenia) do not require a visa, but as from 26 October last year, have been obliged to show a machine-readable passport.
    Well, given my passport is machine readable, and has been for much longer than the date given I don't see it as much of an issue (Australian).

    Beyond that I see the biometric scans as silly (I moved to the US before this silliness ensued).

    Anything beyond that, I feel, is just the Dept of Homeland Security proving themselves to everyone as something that's 'needed'.

    Passports work just fine.
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  3. #3
    They'll never get anything that the US has access to through parliament. (I hope)

  4. #4
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    If something more concrete on the US link comes out it will put a right spanner in the works, more so with some wathering Labour MPs i tink.

    Another thing is, whenever Balir talks about ID Cards, he often refers to to the need for us to move with the rest of the world. Now i'm sure he wants to intoruduce ID Cards to some extent but factos such as the long term vision's of both the EU and the US must also come into play i think.

    Not so much an English nor British wish you see.

    I don't beleive [and hope] that the govn't will be ablt to get it through the Commons, it will be very close though no matter which way it goes. How unified the Tories are on the issue will be a big factor.

    The nightmare stories you hear of Brits travelling to the States these days are bad enoug as it is, not exactly a nice welcome as soon as you get off of the plane if you know what i mean. But then things ahve changed there since 911 haven't they. Hmm

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  5. #5
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    The nightmare stories you hear of Brits travelling to the States these days are bad enoug as it is, not exactly a nice welcome as soon as you get off of the plane if you know what i mean. But then things ahve changed there since 911 haven't they. Hmm
    I've never had a problem getting into America with my British passport (although I did have to more or less strip off at the security checks!). Last time I went over they scanned in my passport and up popped my details. The last time my sister went over they took it a step further I think and she was finger printed, although I'm not certain on that.

    I'm going over again in a couple of weeks so I'll let you know how I get on
    Steve

  6. #6
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    (although I did have to more or less strip off at the security checks!).
    Yeah it's that sort of thing i was talking about, you hear them slightly huped up in the papers over here every now and then dont' you.

    I think Neil Morrissey lost it when he was queuing up at US immigration at JFK a month or two back.

    More directly related to this thread would be the incident involving Yusuf Islam [Cat Stevens] not too long back.

    Critic,
    Last edited by Critic; 06-01-2005 at 12:04 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Steve, same thing happened to me. I was also finger printed by a very rude/ignorant attendant.
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  8. #8
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    Got finger printed and eye scanned just before Christmas. Also had to remove shoes, take laptop out of the bag etc etc. No problem for me.

    I am going back in a couple of weeks too. Just allow at least an hour and a half to clear the airport and you won't get too stressed.

    Simon

  9. #9
    I dont want Europe, I dont want the USA, why can we Brits/English not be left alone and just exist as our selves

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