Friday, November 23, 2007

War on Terror and Travel Technology

The U.S. government was plodding along with the job of upgrading passports. I suspect that if 9/11 hadn't happened, the next generation of passports would have been ready at about the same time that people started needing passports to Mars.

As it is, the new, high-tech passports, with embedded software and data chips, are ready now. "U.S. Allies Begin Issuing High-Tech Passports for Travelers" gives more detail on the smart passports.

The immediate plus here is that, since other countries which are not likely to support terrorism are using the new, more efficient, passports too, it will be possible to concentrate on higher-risk travelers.

A next step now, according to that article, is to deal with how personal information can leak out of the new system. Apparently, it wouldn't be too difficult to commit identity theft with the new system: providing that the thief was tech-savvy.

I don't see the identity-theft issue as a reason to abandon the new technology. If our ancestors had been that sensitive about using new tools, we'd probably still be discussing property rights with cave bears.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.