ID cards will provide legal UK residents, including foreign nationals, with an easy and secure way of proving who they are.
ID cards will be linked to their owners by unique biometric identifiers (for example, fingerprints), which mean we will have a much stronger way of protecting people's identities. Background checks will ensure that claimed identities are real and not stolen, and will prevent criminals using multiple identities.
The exact format of an ID card isn’t yet decided but it’s likely that it will be a credit card-sized plastic card featuring the holder’s photograph and a computer chip storing basic personal information.
Who’ll be eligible for an ID card?
You will be eligible for an ID card if you are:
UK resident for three months or more
over the age of 16
When will ID cards be introduced?
Our decision to introduce a National Identity Scheme was announced in the Queen's Speech on 17 May 2005.
The Identity Cards Act received royal assent, becoming law, on 30 March 2006.
We expect to issue the first ID cards from 2008/9.
For more detailed information on the plans to introduce identity cards, visit the Identity and Passport Service's website:
More detailed information about ID
Scott Silverman, Chairman of the Board of VeriChip Corporation, has
alarmed civil libertarians by promoting the company's subcutaneous
human tracking device as a way to identify immigrants and guest
workers. He appeared on the Fox News Channel earlier this week, the
morning after President Bush called for high-tech measures to clamp
down on Mexican immigrants.
By Mark Baard Mark Baard |
Conspiracy theorists and civil libertarians, fear not. The U.S. government will not use radio-frequency identification tags in the passports it issues to millions of Americans in the coming years.
Instead, the government will use "contactless chips."
The distinction is part of an effort by the Department of Homeland Security and one of its RFID suppliers, Philips Semiconductors, to brand RFID tags in identification documents as "proximity chips," "contactless chips" or "contactless integrated circuits" -- anything but "RFID."
The Homeland Security Department is playing word games to dodge the privacy debate raging over RFID tags, which will eventually replace bar-code labels on consumer goods, said privacy rights advocates this week.
An RFID tag is a microchip attached to an antenna, which transmits unique information to a reader device that can be anywhere from a few inches to several feet away. The technology, with its many names ("contactless chips" has been around for some time), is used in security access cards, E-ZPass automatic toll-paying devices and ski-lift tickets.
Computer scientists and data-encryption experts, the editors of an RFID industry journal -- even the makers of the contactless chips themselves -- all agree that the Homeland Security Department is using RFID technology.
But the Homeland Security Department is very carefully avoiding use of the term "RFID." The department, along with Philips, is also backing a trade group that is branding ID documents with RFID tags as "contactless smartcards."
"We'd prefer," said Joseph Broghamer, Homeland Security's director of authentication technologies, "that the terms 'RFID,' or even 'RF,' not be used at all (when referring to the RFID-tagged smartcards). Let's get 'RF' out of it altogether."
The Homeland Security Department this spring will begin issuing RFID-tagged employee ID cards (which include fingerprint records) to tens of thousands of its employees. Homeland Security's employee ID card has "contactless" technology to speed workers' access to secure areas, said Broghamer. He also wants to replace conventional reader devices, because their metal contacts break down after repeated use.
The department is also evaluating technology pitches from several RFID tag manufacturers, including Philips, for an RFID-tagged passport containing biometric data. The government's plan will earn billions of dollars for the RFID suppliers while helping security officials track individuals more effectively by detecting their ID documents' radio signals in airport terminals, or wherever reader devices are present.
The Homeland Security Department and Philips said they worry that the public will confuse the RFID tags in ID documents with those used by retailers, such as Wal-Mart, to track consumer goods. Contactless chips, said Broghamer, are more sophisticated than retail RFID tags, because they can carry more information and can better protect sensitive personal information.
But there is another problem with the "RFID" name: Many people associate the term with radio chips "that blab personal information indiscriminately" to any reader device, said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Privacy rights groups such as the EFF, the American Civil Liberties Union and CASPIAN have for years argued that RFID tags on consumer goods could be used to spy on individuals.
That is why Homeland Security is engaging in doublespeak, to dupe Americans into accepting RFID tags on their passports, said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program.
"It's a frightening, Orwellian use of the language," said Steinhardt, referring to the "contactless" branding effort. Steinhardt called the RFID tags the Homeland Security Department is using, which have faster processors and more storage capacity than retail tags, "RFID on steroids."
Government agents will use reader devices to track individuals wherever they use their RFID-tagged identification documents, Steinhardt and Tien said.
"They can call it a contactless chip," said Tien, "but it is still RFID. And it shares virtually all of the same vulnerabilities."
Identity thieves will be able to lift an RFID-tagged passport holder's personally identifiable information with reader devices that can be purchased for less than $500, said Steinhardt.
Terrorists could also track down and kidnap city-zens by secretly reading their chipped passports.
"Let's say you are in Beirut, carrying a passport with an RFID tag," said Steinhardt. "A terrorist with a portable reader device could easily tell who is the American (in a public space)."
University of California at Berkeley assistant professor David Wagner, who researches computer security and cryptography, has reviewed engineering studies of the type of RFID tag that will be used in passports. Wagner called Steinhardt's terrorist scenario "absolutely conceivable."
"And," said Wagner, "unlike an ID with a bar code or magnetic strip, you'd never know your card has been read."
Homeland Security's Broghamer insisted that the contactless chips for ID documents are vastly different from RFID tags used in retail supply chains, because contactless chips must be held very close to a reader device to be activated and to transmit their data.
RFID manufacturers are typically making radio tags for ID documents that comply with ISO/IEC 14443, the contactless chip industry technology standard. This standard limits transmission ranges to a distance of about 4 inches. Other RFID tags can be read at distances up to 30 feet, making them easier targets for identity thieves trying to capture their data, said Broghamer.
Broghamer would not admit to something engineers testing ISO/IEC 14443-compliant chips have demonstrated, however: that electronic eavesdroppers up to 30 feet away can capture data (including biometric records) while it is being sent by the chips to an authorized reader device.
ISO/IEC 14443-compliant chips can also be read directly over much longer distances by specially built devices, according to a Tel Aviv University study (.pdf).
Broghamer seemed eager to stay on-message about the Homeland Security Department's name for its RFID technology, despite its apparent vulnerabilities.
"I nearly fell out of my chair," Broghamer said, when he read a Wired News report that the Homeland Security Department's employee ID card will include an RFID tag. "I never used the term 'RFID,'" said Broghamer, describing a presentation he made at a technology conference last month. "I only used 'contactless chip' or 'proximity chip' to describe it."
A Philips sales executive, however, testifying last summer to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, called contactless smartcards "RFID systems with advanced computing power, storage and strong encryption accelerators, offering advanced services with enhanced security and privacy protection."
The Homeland Security Department's employee ID card will use state-of-the-art authentication and encryption systems to protect the department and its employees from identity thieves and spies with unauthorized RFID tag readers, said Broghamer.
But the chips in passports will not have any of those digital security features, said Homeland Security Department spokeswoman Kimberly Weissman. "We want it to be compatible," she said, "with as many reader devices used by other countries as possible."
'RFID tag' - the rude words ID card ministers won't say
Lengthy descriptions of duck, but no d-word. ..
By John Lettice
Published Monday 30th January 2006 11:41 GMT
Security White Papers - Download them free from Reg Research
When it comes to RFID, is MP Andy Burnham lying or drowning? If it's lying, then in principle the Home Office Minister is no more lying than other people are - the US Department of Homeland Security, the EU's Justice & Home Affairs Committee and impressive numbers of RFID, sorry, contactless, proximity chip vendors. But if he's not, the drowning act is pretty convincing.
For over six months now Burnham, pursued doggedly by MP and ID card opponent Lynne Jones, has been peddling the bizarre conceit that RFID and 'contactless' or 'proximity' chips are entirely different beasts. So, in July, he confirmed that for the UK ID card to be used as a travel document in Europe, "the card will need to meet standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which require the card to be contactless".* Presuming the information will not be moving across the air gap between the card and the reader using, say, smell, it's pretty obvious how that works, isn't it?
RFID Technology Centre
The RFID Centre contains a wide range of Radio Frequency Identification demonstrations and cross-sector applications to help organisations assess its potential value and business impact.
The RFID Centre is relevant to all UK and European organisations, public or private sector, that wish to learn more about RFID technology in a neutral environment. We provide this through organised, pre-booked events, open days and tours of the Centre.
The RFID Centre is independent (founded by UK Government and commercial sponsors) to provide education on both business and technical issues. It is the first port of call for anyone evaluating radio frequency ID for their own organisation, or to integrate with a trading partner who is planning to deploy RFID.
Based in Bracknell, to the west of London within easy reach of Heathrow airport and the M3 & M4 motorways.
An experimental overhead gantry with congestion charge cameras in Tooley St, south London (Chris Harris/The Times)
Electronic tags for cars as congestion charge spreads out
By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent
THE congestion charge is to be extended to busy roads across London under plans to use electronic tags in windscreens to monitor vehicle movements.
Thousands of gantries will be erected over roads to detect passing vehicles and automatically deduct payment from the driver’s pre-paid account.
Transport for London plans to extend the new charging system to congested urban centres, Thames bridges and strategic routes across London as well as to the existing zone and its western extension.
Drivers would be charged different rates according to the time of day, with the top rate reserved for morning and evening peak periods.
Charges would also vary according to the size of the vehicle, with drivers of cars that cause more pollution paying more. Drivers travelling against the main flow of traffic, such as night workers leaving Central London in the morning, would receive a discount on the existing £8 flat rate.
The credit-card-sized tags would cost about £5 and could be topped up by direct debit. Drivers could pay using existing methods, but would not benefit from the cheaper rates.
Motorists who chose tags would also no longer have to remember to pay the charge. Most of the 5,000 drivers a day who incur £50 fines at present are thought to have forgotten to pay or not to have known that they were liable.
Last month TfL began a six-month trial involving 500 buses, vans and council vehicles with tags. It has also installed 19 gantries in South London between Southwark Bridge and Tower Bridge. The gantries contain beacons which detect the tags and cameras to catch those fail to pay.
Initial results indicate the technology is working well and TfL hopes to introduce it across Central London in 2009, when it renews the contract for running the congestion charge.
TfL intends to begin to use the system in other congested parts of London from 2010. It has identified “key centres”, which it believes might benefit from congestion charging. They are Harrow, Hounslow, Kingston, Sutton, Croydon, Bromley, Ilford, Romford and Wood Green.
The tag and beacon trials are being watched by other local authorities that are considering congestion charging, including Greater Manchester, West Midlands, Tyne & Wear, Cambridgeshire, Durham, Shrewsbury and a coalition of councils around Bristol and Bath.
TfL is also preparing for the more radical step of using satellite tracking to charge drivers for each mile they travel.
Michele Dix, TfL’s congestion charging director, said that satellite technology was not yet reliable, but was likely to be ready by 2014.
She said congestion across Greater London could be cut by 40 per cent by introducing charges of 60p a kilometre in the centre, 30p in inner London and 15p in outer London. A journey across the city, for example from Barnet to Epsom, would cost about £13.
Ms Dix said rising traffic levels made it essential to consider more sophisticated charging systems. The number of daily car journeys in London would grow by almost a million by 2025 unless charging was extended across the capital.
She admitted that the gantries for tag and beacon charging would add to the clutter of signals and posts on London’s streets. “We are working at making the posts more slender so that they look more like lamp posts,” she said.
2003, February 17 £5 congestion charge introduced in Central London
2005, July 4 charge increased to £8
2007, February 19 charging zone to extend westwards, doubling in size
2009 tag and beacon charging likely to be introduced
2010 charging extended to busy roads across London
2014 satellite charging introduced, costing drivers up to 60p per kilometre
SWARM INTELLIGENCE AND DATA MINING
Editors: Ajith Abraham, Crina Grosan and Vitorino Ramos,
Studies in Computational Intelligence,
Springer Verlag, Germany,
pages 270, ISBN: 3-540-34955-3,2006.
Foreword by James Kennedy:
Swarm Intelligence is an innovative distributed intelligent paradigm
for solving optimization problems that originally took its inspiration
from the biological examples by swarming, flocking and herding
phenomena in vertebrates. Data Mining is an analytic process designed
to explore large amounts of data in search of consistent patterns
and/or systematic relationships between variables, and then to
validate the findings by applying the detected patterns to new subsets
This book deals with the application of swarm intelligence in data
mining. Addressing the various issues of swarm intelligence and data
mining using different intelligent approaches is the novelty of this
edited volume. This volume comprises of 11 chapters including an
introductory chapter giving the fundamental definitions and some
important research challenges.
- Table of Contents -
Foreword by Dr. James Kennedy
Introduction to Swarm Intelligence and Data Mining
AntMiner+: A max-min ant system building rule-based classifier
Performing feature selection with ACO
Simultaneous ant colony optimization algorithms for learning
linguistic fuzzy rules
Ant colony clustering and feature extraction for anomaly intrusion detection
Data and text mining with hierarchical clustering ants
Clustering ensemble using ANT and ART
Swarm clustering based on flowers pollination by artificial bees
Computer study of the evolution of 'news foragers' on the Internet
Data swarm clustering
Particle Swarm Optimization for Pattern Recognition and Image Processing
Book Catalogue and Order form
NSA Datamining Pushes Tech Envelope
The National Security Agency has stood its ground in recent days, claiming it doesn't listen to the content of domestic calls but simply use data such as numbers, times and locations to help find patterns that may suggest terrorist activities.
by Chris Barylick
UPI Technology Correspondent
Washington (UPI) May 26, 2006
Amid the political firestorm surrounding the National Security Agency's use of wiretapping for domestic phone calls, inquiries as to technology as well as legality have become prevalent. Key to most of this is the question as to whether the National Security Agency has overstepped its bounds.
Founded in 1952 as a component of the Department of Defense and primarily responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications as well as the security of government communications, the NSA has typically drawn a lower profile than the CIA despite its influential role.
While its duties have grown, the NSA's charter has remained that the organization collect information that constitutes "foreign intelligence or counterintelligence" and forbids domestic work -- "acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons."
When domestic work needed to be performed, the NSA would traditionally hand it off to agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which were specifically chartered and tasked towards a domestic agenda.
As needs for surveillance grew, so did technologies. Home to the largest contingent of mathematicians and supercomputers in any government agency, with a historically larger budget than the CIA, the NSA has developed its own suite of surveillance technologies.
ThinThread, a technology developed in the late '90s for wiretapping and providing sophisticated analysis of large amounts of resulting data was one of these projects. Designed to both collect data as well as encrypt sensitive or private information for later analysis, the program operated within legal and privacy-based boundaries via that encryption.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, policy changed and the ThinThread project evolved into a system known as Trailblazer. Designed to gather similar data but without the encryption feature built into the ThinThread technology to provide privacy aspects, the Trailblazer technology and the resulting phone-tap efforts that have grown from this have been deployed as a critical terrorist-locating tool and defended as "critical to our national security" via the Bush administration.
In a report recently published by Wired News, former AT&T technician Mark Klein revealed that in 2003 AT&T had constructed "secret rooms" hidden deep within its corporate offices in various major cities filled with surveillance equipment designed to monitor Internet traffic and analyze data as it passed through the network.
The project, rooted into the Department of Defense's Total Information Awareness program, which has been criticized as allowing the department access to widespread Internet data without the need for a search warrant.
The Total Information Awareness effort has been defended by representatives of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as assertions have been made that they were only conducting research using "artificial synthetic data" and no privacy violations had occurred.
Funding for the Total Information Awareness project was scaled back after the controversy was made public and a congressional investigation took place.
To date, AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon have become involved in a class-action lawsuit that alleges the companies illegally participated in the NSA's domestic surveillance program. The complaint, which has been filed through the Manhattan District Court, demands the companies pay $200 billion in fines to their 200 million customers or a minimum of $1,000 per client in damages.
Verizon and BellSouth have denied these charges, going as far as to deny that the NSA ever contacted them for access to call data at any point. AT&T has neither confirmed nor denied the charges.
As a counterpoint, Qwest Communications has issued a statement claiming the NSA approached it for access to call data, but the firm refused to participate in the program given that it appeared to violate privacy laws.
The National Security Agency has stood its ground in recent days, claiming it doesn't listen to the content of domestic calls but simply use data such as numbers, times and locations to help find patterns that may suggest terrorist activities. President Bush has furthered this by stating that the government doesn't listen to domestic calls without a court order.
Under the Foreign Intelligence Security Act, the government must obtain a court order from a secret FISA court to be able to enact a domestic phone tap.
"Given the nature of the work we do, it would be irresponsible to comment on actual or alleged operational issues; therefore, we have no information to provide," said NSA Spokesperson Don Weber. "However, it is important to note that NSA takes its legal responsibilities seriously and operates within the law."
"We haven't heard of this happening before," said Rebecca Jeschke, media coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a technology-centered advocacy group. "You've got this massive violation of the law as well as consumers' privacy and it needs to stop."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has currently begun a lawsuit against AT&T for its role in the alleged domestic wiretapping effort. The next step of the case will take place June 23, when movements to dismiss the case will be heard.
"The phone companies were turning over call records, not exactly the contents of the calls. ... That information isn't illegal, but it is illegal for the phone companies to hand it over," said Clay Shields, associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University. Shields then went on to comment that without the ThinThread protocol's encryption scheme, the NSA is searching through a much larger data pool, which can lead to additional false positives.
"There are thousands of people whose patterns may look like a terrorist but aren't, because it's time consuming, cumbersome and expensive to track down false positives. The computer's casting too wide a net with how they're using the data they have," said Shields. "Now it's people who are just one or two steps away from terror suspects are being considered suspects. Just because you go to the same mosque as a terror suspect doesn't mean you're deserving of scrutiny."
Shields commented that the NSA's approach seemed reminiscent of applying technology to a human problem. He also added that the government can also obtain a retroactive FISA warrant up to 72 hours after the fact, which serves to invalidate the argument for expediency made by the Bush administration to defend the wiretapping efforts.
"When you spin up machinery this powerful, there's an irresistible temptation to apply it to other things," said Philip Zimmermann, creator of the PGP encryption protocol. "Political conditions change. By having it be so broad, it can mask who their true targets are."
"If the question is if it's effective, I believe the answer is yes. If the question is if it's appropriate for our democracy, I believe the answer is no," said Zimmermann. "The machinery can be repurposed for any expedient political persecutions you wish to purpose."
Zimmermann then went on to mention that use of encrypted Voice over Internet Protocol clients, many of them available for free download over the Internet, could help the average phone and Internet user retain their privacy should this be a concern.
Source: United Press International
> Imagine an invisibility cloak that works just like the one Harry
> Potter inherited from his father.
> Researchers in England and the United States think they know how
> do that. They are laying out the blueprint and calling for help in
> developing the exotic materials needed to build a cloak.
> The keys are special manmade materials, unlike any in nature — or
> Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. These materials are
> intended to steer light and other forms of electromagnetic
> around an object, rendering it as invisible as something tucked
> a hole in space.
> "Is it science fiction? Well, it's theory and that already is not
> science fiction. It's theoretically possible to do all these Harry
> Potter things, but what's standing in the way is our engineering
> capabilities," said John Pendry, a physicist at the Imperial
> Details of the study, which Pendry co-wrote, appear in Thursday's
> online edition of the journal Science.
> Scientists not involved in the work said it presents a solid case
> making invisibility an attainable goal.
> "This is very interesting science and a very interesting idea, and
> is supported on a great mathematical and physical basis," said
> Engheta, a professor of electrical and systems engineering at the
> University of Pennsylvania. Engheta has done his own work on
> invisibility using novel materials called metamaterials.
> Pendry and his co-authors also propose using metamaterials because
> they can be tuned to bend electromagnetic radiation — radio waves
> visible light, for example — in any direction.
> A cloak made of those materials, with a structure designed down to
> the submicroscopic scale, would neither reflect light nor cast a
> Instead, like a river streaming around a smooth boulder, light and
> all other forms of electromagnetic radiation would strike the
> and simply flow around it, continuing on as if it never bumped up
> against an obstacle. That would give an onlooker the apparent
> to peer right through the cloak, with everything tucked inside
> concealed from view.
> "Yes, you could actually make someone invisible as long as someone
> wears a cloak made of this material," said Patanjali Parimi, a
> Northeastern University physicist and design engineer at Chelton
> Microwave Corp. in Bolton, Mass. Parimi was not involved in the
> Such a cloak does not exist, but early versions that could mask
> microwaves and other forms of electromagnetic radiation could be
> close as 18 months away, Pendry said. He said the study was "an
> invitation to come and play with these new ideas."
> "We will have a cloak after not too long," he said.
> The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency supported
> the research, given the obvious military applications of such
> stealthy technology.
> While Harry Potter could wear his cloak to skulk around Hogwarts,
> real-world version probably would not be something just to be
> on, Pendry said.
> "To be realistic, it's going to be fairly thick. 'Cloak' is a
> misnomer. 'Shield' might be more appropriate," he said.
- Invisibility Through Nano
Adam and Eve lost it, alchemists tried to brew it and, if you
believe the legends, Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon was
searching for it when he discovered Florida.
To live forever while preserving health and retaining the semblance
and vigor of youth is one of humanity's oldest and most elusive
Now, after countless false starts and disappointments, some
scientists say we could finally be close to achieving lifetimes that
are, if not endless, at least several decades longer. This modern
miracle, they say, will come not from drinking revitalizing waters
or from transmuted substances, but from a scientific understanding
of how aging affects our bodies at the cellular and molecular levels.
Whether through genetic tinkering or technology that mimics the
effects of caloric restriction—strategies that have successfully
extended the lives of flies, worms and mice—a growing number of
scientists now think that humans could one day routinely live to 140
years of age or more.
Extreme optimists such as Aubrey de Gray think the maximum human
lifespan could be extended indefinitely, but such visions of
immortality are dismissed by most scientists as little more than
While scientists go back and forth on the feasibility of slowing,
halting or even reversing the aging process, ethicists and
policymakers have quietly been engaged in a separate debate about
whether it is wise to actually do so.
EARTH OBSERVATION- open sourcess..
- Digital Globe European Partner To Supply Sat Imagery To European
Longmont CO (SPX) May 26, 2006 - DigitalGlobe's European business
partner, Eurimage in Rome, Italy, has contracted with the European
Commission's Joint Research Center to supply worldwide satellite imagery over a
earth: watch- E.R.S.
say no to war
"A torn jacket is soon mended...
But hard words bruise the heart of a child."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
if you dont get it.. email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
real people- need voices. real lives- real choices