Identity, part 1

Recently I was traveling internationally. I have the Global Traveller option, so I could just to a machine, put in my passport, put my face in front of a camera, and get a piece of paper to hand to the immigration officer.

But I was really tired from the flight. So I forgot to put my passport into the slot — I just posed for the camera.

And it worked anyway. The paper came out saying that I was me, I handed it to the immigration officer, and I was done. It seems that just my photo was enough to identify me.

Apparently sticking your passport into the slot is essentially theater. Your government can already tell who you are just from analyzing a photo of you, and they will let you into the country on that basis.

Needless to say, this is very thought provoking, and there are implications here. More soon.

2 Responses to “Identity, part 1”

  1. […] Did we pass a privacy milestone without realizing it? Computer science professor Ken Perlin writes on his blog: […]

  2. Neil says:

    The entire immigration system at the airport is pure theatre. Every airline has to hand over their passenger manifest hours before the plane lands, the airline has checked the passports at checkin, then usually security checks them as well and the airline will usually check them a second and third time before boarding. So the chances of anyone arriving in the USA without a valid visa on a plane is tiny. Yet you are forced to wait for hours in a queue just so your passport can be checked one more time.

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