Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts in Science

When first announced, I said the passport cards for people who make frequent trips to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean were a bad idea.  My opinions appear to have been verified.

Security specialists told The Washington Times that the electronic-passport card can be copied or altered easily by removing the photograph with solvent and replacing it with one from an unauthorized user.

James Hesse, former chief intelligence officer for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Forensic Document Laboratory, which monitors fraudulent government documents, said the card should have been designed with a special optical security strip to make it secure and prevent counterfeiting. The selection of a card with an RFID chip is “an extremely risky decision,” Mr. Hesse said in an interview.

“The optical strip has never been compromised,” he said. “It’s the most secure medium out there to store data.”

I’m sorry Mr. Hesse, this is the American government we’re talking about.  We can’t have anything working properly here.  Our citizens might start expecting competence if we did that.

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As many have stated numerous times before, identity cards are useless in the prevention of terrorism.  They are, and always will be, a means to control the population forced to carry them.  A leaked report from the EU has just admitted as much.

The EU report, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, says most people behind terror attacks in the UK and Europe were living in the EU legally and so would not be affected by increased security measures.

The British National Identity Register is, most likely, illegal under some EU countries’ laws, such as Germany or Sweden.  Given the fact that the database is suspect and that the ID cards do nothing to prevent terrorism as proposed, what is the point of having them other than to spy upon its own citizens?

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Beginning March 27th, all domestic passengers passing through Heathrow’s terminal 5 will have their photograph and four fingerprints taken when they check in.  Photographs will be checked against faces before boarding the aircraft and fingerprints will be taken again at this time.

Although the BAA says that the biometric data will be destroyed within 24 hours, the record of where a person is traveling will not be, leaving photographs and travel information to be mined by law enforcement agencies.  The BAA says that the information will never be passed on to the police.  That may be true now, but because the BAA insists that this information is necessary to catch terrorists and illegal immigrants, it is only a matter of time before this information will be required to be turned over to law enforcement agencies.

If you are going to destroy the fingerprints, what is the point of taking them in the first place?  Surely, a photograph will suffice in checking to see if the person who checked in is, indeed, the same person getting on the plane.

International passengers will not be fingerprinted, as they must show a passport when they check in and before they board their flight.

So, international passengers do not need to be fingerprinted in the UK because their passport photo is good enough, but its own citizens have to give up more personally identifiable biometrics?  Who thought that made sense?

The BAA had to see this coming, with their decision to allow domestic and international passengers to wander through the same terminal.

The controversial security measure is also set to be introduced at Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow’s Terminal 1, and many airline industry insiders believe fingerprinting could become universal at all UK airports within a few years.

Within the next few weeks BAA will announce plans for voluntary fingerprinting under a so-called “trusted traveller” scheme. Those willing to have their fingerprints and passport information stored would be able to bypass immigration queues by placing their finger on a scanner instead of waiting to have their passport checked.

Oh, I see.  This is a scheme to get all citizens to give up their information and allow their biometrics to be stored as well.  This is a brilliant scam to fool the people into bypassing privacy laws and give away their information gleefully.

One option could be to routinely check fingerprints against the criminal record database – a step which is currently only taken when immigration officers have a reason to be suspicious.

And there’s the rub.  Become a “trusted traveler” or else you’ll be suspected of doing something criminal.  It’s funny how none of this was necessary when the IRA was active.

With this new attitude, the terrorists have already won.  Far too many people are allowing their governments to give them the allusion of security, while joyfully handing over their long standing freedoms.

Just imagine the carnage that is going to happen when all these people have to wait in even longer lines due to these new security measures and one or two suicide bombers waltz into the airport and blow themselves up.

These draconian measures are quickly turning me off to flying overseas.  These new measures will see a drop in tourism to the UK.  I will certainly rethink going to the UK again.  Maybe I’ll take the train from Paris, until that’s included as well.  The more countries that force biometrics mean the more countries I mentally tick off my list of places to visit.

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Wicked Lasers has introduced what they call The Torch.  It’s a 4100 lumen flashlight that can, literally, set things on fire.

The 4100-lumen flashlight is being considered for the Guiness Book of World Records, and can ignite paper, light cigarettes, melt plastic, and even fry an egg — but only has a fifteen minute battery life.

Combine this with the Department of Homeland Security’s pukelight and you’ve got yourself one hell of a party.

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Last month, twelve different Florida school districts passed resolutions against the teaching of evolution in their schools.

Oscar Howard Jr., superintendent of Taylor County’s School District, and Danny Lundy, vice chairman of the School Board, spoke in accents from that other Florida. ‘’We’re opposed to teaching evolution as a fact,’’ Howard said, adding that his School Board and 11 others have passed resolutions against the imposition of evolution in the school curriculum.

After seeing this happen, do people really wonder why America is falling behind in science compared to the rest of the world?  The growing anti-intellectualism and influence of religious leaders is leading America to lose its competitive edge and respect world-wide.

In learning the Scientific Method, students are taught to gather evidence through observation, as well as using empirical and measurable evidence that is then subject to the principles of reasoning.  Evolution is a fact based on empirical evidence that evolution does happen and continues to happen today.  Evolution, in fact, describes a part of the observable universe into a coherent, logical conclusion.  It uses predictive tools to explain the changes over time.

Evolution happens every single day.  Each new strain of the flu is evolution in action.  Each new breed of dog is evolution in action.

If you want to teach creationism in schools, fine.  Go ahead.  But you can’t throw out the facts of science and evolution as well.  Removing a large portion of science to further your own agenda only creates hostile students and students who cannot think for themselves, instead letting the curriculum decide what they should think.

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