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"The whole passport design is totally brain damaged,'' Mr Grunwald toldWired.com.
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Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 08 August 2006 08:14
Hacker gets into biometric passport data

By Bobbie Johnson

London, Aug. 8 (Guardian News Service): Hi-tech biometric passports used by many countries have been hacked by a computer expert, throwing into doubt fundamental parts of the UKgovernment's GBP415m scheme to load passports with information such asfingerprints, facial scans and iris patterns.Speaking at the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas, Lukas Grunwald,a consultant with a German security company, said he had discovered amethod for cloning the information stored in the new passports. Data can betransferred on to blank chips, which could then be implanted in fakepassports, a flaw which he said undermined the project.

The revelation also casts another shadow over the UK government's planfor a national ID card, which would contain much of the same information.

``The whole passport design is totally brain damaged,'' Mr Grunwald toldWired.com. ``From my point of view all of these [biometric] passports are ahuge waste of money - they're not increasing security at all.'' Since Marchanyone applying for a UK passport has been issued with a biometric version,which contains physical identification information.

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