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Australia Encryption Technology

Australia Plans Biometric Border Control (bbc.com) 94

The Australian government is planning to allow 90% of travellers to pass through passport control without human help by 2020. From a report: With a $100m budget, it has begun the search for technology companies that could provide biometric systems, such as facial, iris and fingerprint recognition. Head of border security John Coyne said it could be a "world first." But critics have questioned the privacy implications of such a system. "Biometrics are now going in leaps and bounds, and our ability to harness the power of big data is increasing exponentially," Mr Coyne told the Sydney Morning Herald. The department of border security hopes to pilot the "Seamless Traveller" project in Canberra this summer, with rollout to larger airports scheduled to be completed by spring 2019.
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Australia Plans Biometric Border Control

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  • The NSA regulary takes my biometric data, such as, the size of my anal cavity.

  • by Ranger ( 1783 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @02:15PM (#53729701) Homepage
    I went to Australia two years ago and passport control was pretty much all automated. A machine scans your passport and takes your picture, you answer some questions on the machine, and you are printed a little receipt with your picture. Pretty much your only human interaction is handing that printout to an agent on the way out to collect your luggage. They still had plenty of human border patrol agents. And my last from the US to UK and back had a lot of passport control automation to it as well. Smile! You are on facial recognition TV.

    Besides the Orwellian aspect of the whole thing what I miss most is having my passport stamped.
    • There's a digital stamp going into a computer somewhere recording when you entered the country if that makes you feel any better.

    • The US and UK have something similar. Automation and biometrics have been going on for years at our country's borders. For island nations it's basically impossible for most people to enter/exit the country anonymously. I'm not sure what the critics are whinging about in this case because they do seem a little late to or detached from the game.

    • I went to Australia two years ago and passport control was pretty much all automated.

      That's not biometrics. That's scanning a passport and making sure you like like your picture. Nothing more. It's also quite common in many countries.

      Biometrics would be going in and doing an iris scan rather than showing your passport. That also wouldn't be a first, and I believe you can do that on the Canadian boarder, and I've seen the systems also at Schipol Airport.

      • by Ranger ( 1783 )
        It is a form of biometrics to compare the picture on your passport with the one the machine took.
      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

        That's not biometrics. That's scanning a passport and making sure you like like your picture. Nothing more.

        Facial recognition isn't biometrics? That the "database" is a file of 1 for the current system and a national database for the new system doesn't make a difference to the fact it is biometrics.

    • My own sister can't tell my brother and I apart and we're not twins the only reason she doesn't have trouble now is because we wear our hair different and only one of us wears glasses even our friends had trouble telling us apart until we were in our 30s.

      I have no faith in facial recognition...

         

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        What are the odds that someone randomly stealing your passport would find it useful? What are the odds a human border agent could tell the two of you apart? Biometrcs aren't supposed to be a magic answer, just a way to help automate the process.

        • If I decided to impersonate my brother or he impersonated me someone that had never met us before would probably never be able to tell just from any type of picture ID. My brother isn't the only person I have been mistaken for I have a very common face shape, nose, and other features. A police description is even more worthless when you are the average guy about 5'10 170lb with brown eyes, brown hair, wearing common nondescript clothes like bluejeans and t-shirt with no visible tattoos, scars, or jewelry yo

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            Sounds like the automatic system would be just as good as a human looking at your passport, then? I think that's all they're going for here.

            • A finger print would be more practical and reliable than facial recognition... I'm not sure about the accuracy of iris scans although I imagine it would be harder to fake.

              • by lgw ( 121541 )

                Fully automatic fingerprint matching is harder than you might expect. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that it would be easier or more reliable. I'd like to think those options were compared rationally as part of the project, but government so maybe not. I do think people see fingerprinting differently, perhaps as more intrusive or as something you only do to criminals. I remember an outcry when the US announced it would do some fingerprinting at the border.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Of course biometric data security simply present the new problem. People can pretty much steal your identity in reality by the simple exchange of a few bytes of data. Those particular bytes being the ones that match your biometric data to your legal identity. So to steal your identity, they just need to point your legal identity to their biometric data and you are hosed, seriously, proving that theft would require major legal effort in a world driven by that biometric data. There is also the idea of hacks t

    • That's what I thought too, Australia and NZ have been doing this for years, while the country that forced everyone into it, Bushistan, probably won't get it sorted for another decade or two. In Australia you can clear immigration in under 5 minutes via their automated system, in the US it's typically an hour, sometimes two or three.
  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @02:25PM (#53729777) Homepage
    Australia should build a wall to keep out illegal immigrants!

    There will be some controversy about which country will pay. For example, who pays for the wall along the Australia-Canada border?
  • from the ./ summary:

    But critics have questioned the privacy implications of such a system

    Why? The proposal is to make border control more efficient and accurate; They already check to see who you are when you enter or leave the country and you are required to show ID. You have no privacy now. Next, you will continue to have no privacy but transiting the the border will be faster and terrorists and other criminals faking their identities will be more easily detected.

    If you oppose a government policy, the

    • If you oppose a government policy, then change the law, don't handicap its enforcement.

      Conversely, and arguably more importantly: If you can't get sufficient consensus in favor of the law to ensure that it will be enforced efficiently and uniformly, don't pass it in the first place!

      Of course repealing the law would be the best approach, assuming it can be done. In the meantime, however, when a bad law can't be changed handicapping its enforcement is a far better option than simply giving up and letting others with no regard for your rights do whatever they please.

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @03:24PM (#53730207)

      I'm guessing the main concern among the listed methods is fingerprints. Unlike some other biometric identifiers, fingerprints linger, and they get picked up at places like crime scenes. Given the questionable standards of forensic analysis in criminal cases in recent years, the potential fishing expeditions when fingerprints are found in connection with serious crimes, and the scary potential consequences if you're involved in a case of mistaken identity, I can entirely understand why some people would be hesitant about giving any government their fingerprints (or a DNA sample, for the same reasons and more).

      Something like an iris scan seems significantly less problematic from that point of view. It's still a useful identifier for practical purposes, but it lacks the persistence of fingerprints or DNA, it lacks the ability to identify covertly at a long distance like a voiceprint, facial recognition or gait analysis, and crucially, it will probably continue to lack those risks for a considerable time, because physics.

    • by e r ( 2847683 )

      from the ./ summary:

      total 96K
      drwxr-xr-x 6 4.0K Jan 24 13:42 ./
      drwxr-xr-x 8 4.0K Jul 28 14:34 ../
      drwx------ 3 4.0K May 27 2016 .cache/
      drwxrwxr-x 4 4.0K Jun 28 2016 .config/
      drwxrwxr-x 3 4.0K May 27 2016 .local/
      drwxrwxr-x 808 32K Jun 28 2016 .npm/
      -rw------- 1 4.4K Jul 13 2016 .bash_history
      -rw-r--r-- 1 3.5K May 17 2016 .bashrc
      -rw-rw-r-- 1 51 May 17 2016 .gitconfig
      -rw------- 1 51 Jun 28 2016 .mysql_history
      -rw------- 1 8 Jul 12 2016 .nano_history
      -rw-r--r-- 1 8.5K May 17 2016 .nan

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

      terrorists and other criminals faking their identities will be more easily detected.

      Objection. Assuming facts not already in evidence.

      They already check to see who you are when you enter or leave the country and you are required to show ID. You have no privacy now.

      That assumes the border database is inaccessible to all other governments and government organizations. Again, something that hasn't been shown to be true.

      Most likely, the database will be open to all law enforcement, and if so, the privacy of someone not at the border would be reduced by this system.

  • With the Nexus system, we already have this in Canada. When flying, i stick a card in a terminal, it scans my irises, asks a few questions, and prints out a receipt to give to the official upon exiting, no questions. Super easy. Similar with Global Entry in the US. That one scans your passport and finger prints and takes a picture to present to the official who then asks a few questions...because America.
  • Authentication credentials that can't be hashed, can be stolen off your body, and can't be reset at will - but they do change with age, so maybe you can wait it out?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes. Then again, it's not really a biometric if you don't need a living human to gather the metrics. Biometrics would be fine if that's what we had. But we don't. The systems are not tied to living entities in any meaningful way. The whole idea of "stealing" a biometric proves the falsity of the claim. My friends use biometrics all the time with great success to recognize me. But that's because they are really using biometrics, and not a cheap imitation.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Authentication credentials that can't be hashed, can be stolen off your body, and can't be reset at will - but they do change with age, so maybe you can wait it out?

      I think those in favor of biometric identification consider that features, not bugs. If it wasn't cost prohibitive they'd probably like to make a DNA swab of everyone too. You leave them by accident at crime scenes, you can extract them from anyone against their will even if they're migrants that have burned all their ids and while you might fool the odd scanner they're ridiculously hard to genuinely lose or forge which is why you occasionally see cold cases solved decades later. And practically you can onl

  • And it's the biggest cluster fuck you can imagine. Only registered travellers over the age of 18 get to use it. Every one else gets to join an EVEN LONGER QUEUE because they can't be bothered to lay on sufficient staff to process people coming through. Entire families stuck in a fucking queue for over an hour thanks to electronic borders. Progress.
    • And it's the biggest cluster fuck you can imagine. Only registered travellers over the age of 18 get to use it. Every one else gets to join an EVEN LONGER QUEUE because they can't be bothered to lay on sufficient staff to process people coming through. Entire families stuck in a fucking queue for over an hour thanks to electronic borders. Progress.

      Only an hour? That would be a dream come true in the US.

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        Hoho, you get a double dose of it if you're flying between the USA and the UK. I flew Manchester to Orlando - 90 minutes in MCO. Flying back another 90 minutes. The USA had kiosks that people were supposed to use but most of them were roped off for another flight. They also had 16 desks to process people through but only 4 were manned for about 500 people.
  • Australia is the worlds largest island - it doesn't have a border

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @07:13PM (#53731555)

    >"With a $100m budget, it has begun the search for technology companies that could provide biometric systems, such as facial, iris and fingerprint recognition."

    The gov should not have fingerprint registration data (which will be horribly abused). Facial and iris are not good choices either...

    There is only one safe and practical biometric I know of- deep vein palm scan. That registration data cannot be readily abused. It can't be latently collected like DNA, fingerprints, and face recognition can. You have to know you are registering/enrolling when it happens. You don't leave evidence of it all over the place. When you go to use it, you know you are using it every time. And on top of all that, it is accurate, fast, reliable, unchanging, live-sensing, and cheap. If you must participate in a biometric, this is the one you should insist on using.

    Example: http://www.m2sys.com/palm-vein... [m2sys.com]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Stand up for your rights, people... and the rights of your children. Once you give fingerprint or DNA data to the government (or big business), it will NEVER be erased or restricted, regardless of claims or laws- it will go into huge databases and shared between all agencies and used however they want for as long as they want. Even worse, with every crime investigation, you will be searched without probable cause.

    • Stand up for your rights, people... and the rights of your children. Once you give fingerprint or DNA data to the government (or big business), it will NEVER be erased or restricted

      Don't go to Japan then, they take your fingerprints on entry (started in around 2007).

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