Home Office screw up with e-Passport

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by rockape34, Feb 7, 2007.

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    [quote="The Times]February 07, 2007

    New e-passport may not travel well
    Richard Ford, Home Correspondent
    The new electronic passport could need to be replaced after two years rather then the usual ten because of doubts over how long components will last, a report by the parliamentary spending watchdog says today.

    The microchips used carry only a two-year warranty and their ability to withstand usage by travellers is unknown.

    Four million of the e-passports have been issued but the National Audit Office high-lights flaws and says that it might not provide the security benefits promised.

    Travellers could face delays when improved passport readers are installed at ports and airports in the spring because of the failure to conduct trials involving large numbers of people. The Home Office moved swiftly yesterday to reassure travellers that they would not have to pay for a new passport if a manufacturing fault caused the chip to fail. A full ten-year passport costs £66.

    “If it’s a manufacturer’s fault, the passport holder will not have to pay for a new passport,” a Home Office spokesman said.

    The Home Office has reached a deal with the manufacturers to pay for replacements within the two-year warranty period, but unless it reaches agreement for failures beyond two years the costs will be met by taxpayers.

    Although the National Audit Office’s report praises the im-plementation on time of the £448 million scheme, it says that flaws make it uncertain that the security benefits will be achieved.

    It says: “The impact of using readers to examine e-passports in high-volume situations at immigration is unknown both in terms of performance of the readers and potential delays to travellers.” The report adds that, as faces change over a decade, the software may fail to find matches when it should.

    The report also says that savings could have been made if the Foreign Office, the Identity and Passport Service and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate had collaborated more closely, rather than each purchasing readers separately.

    The report also discloses that the Government has consulted lawyers as many intellectual property rights in the chip are held by Philips Semiconduc-tors, rather than the Identity and Passport Service.

    Edward Leigh, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said: “It makes a pleasant change to be able to welcome a project from the Home Office which has been delivered on time and budget. However, the devil may yet be in the detail.”

    On the move

    48m British citizens hold a passport

    6m passports are issued annually

    450,000 passports are issued at Foreign and Commonwealth posts abroad

    £66 The cost of a standard adult passport

    £1,300 Cost of a passport reader

    Source: National Audit Office [/quote]

    par for the course with these jokers in power. :-(
  2. My teenage daughter has just recieved a microchipped passport for her trip to the french battlefields.

    If it fails at the french port...will they keep her? :thumleft:
  3. Therin lies an interesting point, they may well be glad to replace a failed passport at no cost but what about the incurred costs of being barred from flying/entry to countries due to that failure?

    Also why is it not possible to demand a 10 year warranty on the components? Would you buy a car with a 5 year warranty where the engine was only warranted for 12 months?

    You could almost argue that the chip is not fit for purpose and therefore a waste of time....
  4. (Sadly?!) not... according to a bloke involved on Breakfast this morning, if the chips dont work, the traveller will be able to get through on the passport

    so the point in them is??
  5. a known issue though ,the chip is going to get x-rayed and suffer emp many times in its life , but as Lady_H say's " so the point in them is?? "

  6. There are three advantages:-

    Firstly, its fractionally quicker to touch the passport to an inductive chip reader rather than slide the back page through an optical character reader as happens now. This should reduce average waiting times at immigration in Lagos from two hours to about one hour and sixty five minutes.

    Secondly, with the rapidly approaching demise of the Labour government, there will be a number of soon to be former Home Office ministers looking for jobs. I hear there are highly paid directorships on the go at the company that makes the passport chips. They're just waiting for the right candidates to become available.

    Thirdly, the chips make the job of suicide bombers much easier. With a suitably equipped laptop or PDA, they can walk into Starbucks in any tourist resort and tell instantly whether it contains enough infidels to warrant a detonation.

    But seriously folks - the data on the chip includes a photo of the passport owner and it's digitally signed. This makes it impossible to change the passport by sticking somebody elses photo over the existing photo. The photo on the chip won't match the one printed on the passport.

    This technique only works if the signing key used by the government remains absolutely secure. The signing key is a small data file. If anybody ever manages to nick it at any time in the next 10 years, the government will need to reprogramme every chip in every passport that's been issued using the stolen key.

    I hope the Home Office aren't custodians of the signing key.
  7. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    Are you hoping?

  8. Just become available via Kazaa........
  9. Only problem is that the encryption key to the data held on the chip is currently based on the Name and DoB of the passport holder (both shown on the back page). As a result it is extremely easy for any competent computer geek with a chip reader to read the information, change it and re-incrypt it to match the photo of Osama that they have just stuck under the hologram.

    The technology has already been trumped, but the current bunch of fools masquarading as the Home Office refuse to acknowledge this for fear of damaging their chances of a nice directorship somewhere. The only winners out of this will be the chip makers and the taxman. Punters like me who go through a 60 page passport in 18 months get screwed.

    As usual. :(