The Role of the Citizenry

Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 07:43 pm
There have been several threads posted complaining about the terror alerts, the color coding system, etc. But the thing is that we are safe only if the citizenry is aware and willing to speak and report when suspicious packages, activities, people are spotted.

There are other ways to deal with terrorism; i.e. the new policy on U.K. passport photos. The question: is it worth being really embarassed by your passport photo in order to fight terrorism?

Look miserable to help the war on terrorism
By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
(Filed: 06/08/2004)

Holidaymakers and other overseas travellers were ordered yesterday to play their part in the war on terrorism - by looking miserable on their passport photographs.

Under new security measures all mugshots must in future "show the full face, with a neutral expression and the mouth closed".

The advice is being sent to all applicants before the introduction next year of "ePassports", which make it harder for terrorists and criminals to get hold of fake passports.

The facial image on the photograph will be incorporated in a chip, which will be read by border control equipment. But the high-tech machines need to match key points on the face - a biometric - and this only works if the lips are closed.

The UK Passport Service (UKPS) said cheery types who flash a full set of teeth will have their applications rejected, though a modest grin may be allowed.

"It's about having a closed mouth," said a spokesman. "An open-mouthed smile will throw the scanner off."

Eyes must be open and clearly visible, with no sunglasses or heavily-tinted glasses and no hair flopping down the face. There should be no reflection on spectacles and the frames should not cover the eyes. Head coverings will only be allowed for religious reasons.

Photo booth companies, which supply most of the pictures for passports, have been required to update their equipment to ensure they are acceptable. Existing passports are not affected but the new rules will have to be followed when they are renewed.

Bernard Herdan, the chief executive of UKPS, said: "These new guidelines are an important step in the development of the new biometric ePassport and use of facial recognition technology that will be introduced in 2005 as part of the fight against fraud and terrorism."

Most people already think they look miserable enough on their passports. There is an old joke that if you look anything like your photograph then you need the holiday.

A survey of 5,000 Europeans last year suggested the British were among the most embarrassed by passport photos. It found that a fifth of Britons were so uncomfortable with their images that they hid them from their families.
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ebrown p
Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 08:45 pm
What a riot!

What's is on the list now...

- Look miserable.
- Watch out for men with atlases.
- No plastic forks on airplanes.
- Take of the shoes of suspicous looking people.
- Spend money and act normal.

They must think the American public is awfully stupid.

My father always said - "No one ever lost an election by underestimating the stupidity of the American public".

I am beginning to wonder if Bush isn't pushing the limits on this one.
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Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 09:06 pm

Hey, I've got a steel implant in my shoulder that sets off the alarms. I know this will happen, so I immediately tell them about it. So, what do they do? Tell me to take off my shoes! I tell them again, it's in my shoulder, not my shoes, so what do I get? "Sir, take off your shoes."

Yessir, I says. I take off my shoes, and what do you know? Nothing. It's the metal in my shoulder. Not my belt buckle, not the snaps in my shorts, but my shoulder.
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Reply Thu 5 Aug, 2004 11:33 pm
Pssst eBrown, the article was about BRITISH policy, not U.S. policy.
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Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 09:36 am
Roger, I can sympathise. My husband doesn't have any permanent metal in him or anything that we know of, but we can just about count on him setting off the scanner alarm at the airport. We allow an extra 10 minutes for him to be searched.

The thing that amazes me is that people I would take a second look at breeze right through security while they pull the old folks in wheelchairs to the side for special scrutiny. Have a lot of bombs been found hidden on wheelchairs lately?

Last week in Albuquerque somebody left a carboard box draped with an American flag in the doorway of a bank. It turned out to be a hoax, but it closed down that part of town for a couple of hours while they checked it out.

How many out there do you think are specially vigilent these days. Or are Americans taking responsibility to be extra eyes and ears for our security forces?
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Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 11:30 am
The advice is being sent to all applicants before the introduction next year of "ePassports", which make it harder for terrorists and criminals to get hold of fake passports.

The facial image on the photograph will be incorporated in a chip, which will be read by border control equipment. But the high-tech machines need to match key points on the face - a biometric - and this only works if the lips are closed.

Hmm. I really have reservations as to whether or not this will actually increase levels of security. But I appreciate the idea that they are working on it.

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Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 12:52 pm
Which is more intrusive: facial scanning or fingerprint scanning? You would think that with modern technology, a computer network that could instantly identify somebody via finger print scans, voice scans, handprint scans, or some other method would be possible. But how much are you willing to have your permanent I.D. embedded in a national directory of that type?

The State Department is moving ahead with a plan to implant electronic identification chips in U.S. passports that will allow computer matching of facial characteristics, despite warnings that the technology is prone to a high rate of error.

Federal researchers, academics, industry experts and some privacy advocates say the government should instead use more-reliable fingerprints to help thwart potential terrorists.

The enhanced U.S. passports, scheduled to be issued next spring for people obtaining new or renewed passports, will be the first to include what is known as biometric information. Such data, which can be a fingerprint, a picture of parts of eyes or of facial characteristics, is used to verify identity and help prevent forgery.

Under State Department specifications finalized this month for companies to bid on the new system, a chip woven into the cover of the passport would contain a digital photograph of the traveler's face. That photo could then be compared with an image of the traveler taken at the passport control station, and also matched against photos of people on government watch lists.

The department chose face recognition to be consistent with standards being adopted by other nations, officials said. Those who drafted the standards reasoned that travelers are accustomed to submitting photographs and would find giving fingerprints to be intrusive.

More . . .
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ebrown p
Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 02:19 pm
When I was a kid in a very christian home, we watched movies about the biblical book of Revelations (which describes the apocalypse.)

These movies about the time of tribulation predicted that biblical passages about the number of "the beast" -- 666 -- would be realized by computer codes (at that time UPC bar codes) would be implanted in each American by the Antichrist.

As a impressionable young man these movies scared me to death. But as I grew I became less concerned and moved on.

But now it is all coming true. Many Americans are now willing to accept such a mark.

Is it possible that John Ashcroft really is the Antichrist?
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Reply Fri 6 Aug, 2004 02:22 pm
Well. . . .going with that metaphorical theory ebrown, how much influence do you think Ashcroft has on the Brits who first came up with this stuff?
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