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Passports

Passports

A passport is a very odd document. It does not belong to the bearer. It grew from a “letter of introduction” to its present form. It is a request from the home state of the traveller to the state or states to which the traveller is going, to accord the traveller respect and not to infringe his/her rights. As an instance of this Giovanni Belzoni, an Italian strongman (literally), in 1815 procured a letter from the British consul in Naples to […]

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A cup of tea for Mr. Obama!

I suggest the true reason is very deep; candidate or no, Barack Obama is, essentially, on the wrong side of an asymmetric relationship. The State has and owns the information it took from him and feels no obligation to him for that. In short, the Privacy Act 1974, like all such provisions anywhere, is a sop.

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The Irish ePassport

We have commented previously on the ePassport and its lack of security. See the attached opinion of the EU Article 29 Data Protection Working Party on RFID tags in passports and its recommendations for steps to precede the introduction of the chipped passports. We cannot see that Ireland took any notice of the Working Party’s recommendations, not to speak of, inter alia, the concerns of Civil Liberties groups in the USA and Canada. For example, what State agencies, besides the […]

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Dear Dermot Ahern

The EU Council Presidency has proposed the setting of the minimum age for recording and storing facial images and fingerprints in the chip of a passport. It proposes that both images and fingerprint records on passports be compulsory from the age of 12 and be permissible below that age. The decision is to be made in a Committee on which Ireland has a representative. Its original brief covered visas; it was extended to documents of non EU nationals in the […]

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The Irish ePassport

Biometrics is the statistical analysis of biological data. A passport, therefore, cannot be a biometric passport, unless the meaning of biometrics has changed. A passport could be biometric if the purpose is the accumulation of statistics, not of one person or passport, but of many passports. Passports, historically, were provided to travelers to ease their journey in foreign countries. A State document, requesting that the authorities abroad should help the traveler accorded with the fact that only States existed in […]

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