Mrs Saul goes biometric

Mrs Saul's status as Mrs Saul finally became official last week on receipt of her new UK passport in her married name, freshly delivered via the British Consulate in Dubai. I was surprised to notice that the new passport has a biometric chip embedded in it. It looks like an rfid chip and apparently contains facial biometric information, according to the UK Passport Authority's website. I need to read a bit more about how it works, but am perfectly in favour of the concept in principle. The chip is stuck on the other side of the page containing the holder's photo and other info, which makes the passport very stiff and inflexible. I wonder how resilient it is to wear and tear from general travelling?
Comments:

I wonder if by raising ones eyebrows slightly more than usual in the photo, and puffing out the cheeks just slightly (or using cotton wool padding), and perhaps slightly squinting one eye, it is possible to provide them with an image that looks enough like you to pass by the naked eye, but isn't recognised as you in facial recognition? I don't know why one would even want to do this, it's just intriguing to think up ways to try and screw up their biometric data. I'm not even that bothered about them having my data, it's just nice to know that it could get screwed up if need be. Nothing should be considered 100% reliable, because it never is.

Posted by secretdubai on June 04, 2006 at 08:34 PM GST #

I'm sure it won't take long for someone to 'break' it. The weakest link seems to be the stiffness of the page - too easy to get bent or squashed in a bag.

Posted by Chris on June 06, 2006 at 07:44 AM GST #

Interestingly (well, to me anyway, so qualify appropriately... ;\^) the UK Government department responsible for the ID Cards plan ran a biometric 'proof of technology' last year for MPs and peers.

They set up all the facial biometric gear, and created a set of credentials for any parliamentarian who wanted them. One of the Conservative peers went along to try it out, and after three failed attempts to capture a usable biometric, the young lady operating the system said: "It just doesn't work with some people. Your face is probably a bit too bland".

Aahh... the British culture of deference is not dead. 


Posted by Robin Wilton on June 12, 2006 at 08:17 AM GST #

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