Via the National Consumer Coalition's Privacy Group comes this report, with many useful links, on the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization's plan to harmonize all the world's passports with facial recognition biometric identifiers. An excerpt:
Were a fingerprint the chosen biometric identifier, the biometric on the card could be compared to the passport holder's finger at border check, obviating the need for an international biometric database. But such a privacy-protecting commonsense arrangement is less feasible with facial recognition as the chosen biometric. And indeed, Privacy International reports that the ICAO scheme will indeed "result in a distributed international identification database on all passport holders."
….determined malefactors and/or "evildoers" can be expected to game the system. A recent General Accounting Office report provided a handful of the many examples of poor security practices the federal government uses in protecting SSNs. The federal government, foreign governments and international agencies cannot be expected to keep the digital data much more secure.
Congressman Ron Paul has emphasized the point that, "transformation of the Social Security number into a de facto uniform identifier . . . facilitates the crime of identity theft." And redundant digital databases spanning the globe will assuredly facilitate such identity theft on a grander scale, especially when taken in tandem with RFID chips implanted in the passports. All an identity thief needs is an RFID reader and the encryption algorithm (both of which will be distributed to machines all over the world) to capture someone's data (essentially, a really long number as an identifier) and begin to create a false 'secure' document.