Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Two On Identity

self-portrait.jpgThere’s the Budapest Declaration on Machine Readable Travel Documents:

By failing to implement an appropriate security architecture, European governments have effectively forced citizens to adopt new international Machine Readable Travel Documents which dramatically decrease their security and privacy and increases risk of identity theft. Simply put, the current implementation of the European passport utilises technologies and standards that are poorly conceived for its purpose.

The Budapest declaration is via Bruce Schneier. Next up we have USA Today on “If it’s really you, what color is your car?” via both Pogo Was Right and Dan Solove, who opines in “Verifying Identity: From One Foolish Way to Another

The problem with using this method is that the information in public databases is often riddled with errors. Why do banks need to go behind your back to snoop out information about you? Banks and financial institutions already have a relationship with you — after all, you established an account with them. They can use some of the information they gathered at that time to establish your identity and then ask you to supply additional information to help identify you. But going behind people’s backs and trolling public records for data does not strike me as a particularly effective method given the possibility for errors in those records.

The disdain of banks for their actual customers, those pesky, diverse, demanding idiots, grows by the day, and grows with every regulation which distracts and drags down the level of “service” on which they might otherwise compete.

Photo: self-portrait by j_photo.

5 comments on "Two On Identity"

  • Beautiful photo; do you know her?

  • Adam says:

    Nope! Found it searching Flickr for “self-portrait,” which it suggested as I was searching on “identity.” I felt that the doubled nature, and the aesthetic of the picture in general worked really well for the post.

  • Iang says:

    Although not precisely on point, the answer to this question:

    Why do banks need to go behind your back to snoop out information about you?

    Is that banks need to assess credit-worthiness so as to lend you money, and that’s a difficult task, one not easy just using classical “up-front” methods.

  • Adam says:

    Iang: Except that’s not what they’re using the information for. They’re using it to try to establish continuity–that the person they’re talking to is the person they talked to before.

  • salvatore says:

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