Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


The Machinery of Repression

  • The New York Times reports on the completion of the first phase of the treat-visitors-like-criminals US-Visit system. The article is informative, and tells us:

    The fingerprint check at the borders has turned up just 970 hits of visa violators or criminal suspects. The total rises to about 15,000 with inclusion of the cases identified overseas at the time of an application for the visa, a process that is considered an extension of US-Visit because it too requires fingerprints and a digital photo. (“Border Control Takes One Leap Forward.”)

  • Newsday has a story on bad data from background checks, “Background Checks By Companies Spark Worries:

    “There are no standards for what is a background check,” said Tal Moise, chief executive of Verified Person, a New-York based company that performs background checks. “This is an industry that has delivered historically a very low-quality product.”

  • reports:

    Just over five per cent of the UK population is on the database, compared with one per cent in Austria – the second biggest user of the technology – and half a per cent in the US. (“World’s biggest DNA database gets larger“)

    Meanwhile, Larry Lessig reports on a sign on the Docklands light rail:

    Abuse, Assault, Arrest: Our staff are here to help you. Spitting on DLR staff is classified as an assault and is a criminal offence. Saliva Recovery Kits are now held on every train and will be used to identifty offenders against the national DNA database.

  • Bruce Schneier quotes the Register on “ID Cards and ID Fraud

    This “quasi-identity card… I think—had a converse effect to that which the Government sought… anybody who had such a card or driving licence on their person had a pass, which, if shown to police or soldiers, gave them free passage. So, it had precisely the opposite effect to that which was intended.”

  • In a welcome bit of clogging the wheels, the Australian Chamber of Commerce has come out against ID cards (again), “calling on the Government to ‘clearly show how such a measure would demonstrably improve Australia’s security arrangements.'” (Reported in “ID card ‘bad for business’.”)