Friday, January 05, 2007

Port Worker's Identitiy Cards

More crappy security measures are now being implemented in the largest ports for the US. Not that they'll actually stop anyone from entering the ports.
NEWPORT NEWS -- New identification cards are set to be distributed to more than 750,000 truckers and port and shipyard workers nationally over the next two years, with FBI-based criminal background checks done on each person.

Yet, a key component of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential system - the machines that will scan the ID cards at terminal and shipyard gates - will be delayed to iron out the kinks.

The top 10 "priority ports" need to have the cards in place by July 1, according to a new rule from the Department of Homeland Security. The agency hasn't said whether Hampton Roads is on that list. The next 40 ports will need to have the cards by Jan. 1, 2008, with the remaining ports needing to have them by Jan. 1, 2009.
Without the readers the system is essentially useless. You'd think that if there are still kinks in the system with regards to the readers, that there is probably a problem with the cards as well. I'm still trying to figure out how they plan to physically secure the port areas. Without that in place from the start these ID's will be a waste of time and money.

Speaking of money, the cost of these ID's is quite high.
Truck drivers, longshoremen and mariners will have to pay up to $159 for a high-tech identity card that will grant them access to U.S. ports.

Groups representing truckers and longshoremen said the fee is too high and will force some workers -- especially truck drivers -- to quit their jobs.

Some workers will have to buy the cards as soon as March. But a time has not been specified for port operators and ship owners to buy the equipment that reads the cards, according to a rule announced Wednesday by the Homeland Security Department.
That is a bad thing. Especially as it will give added incentive for the creation of forgeries. Without the readers being present, forgeries will be simple to start with. They also will be effective since there is nothing to stop those who possess the forgeries from dodging random auditing with portable readers.

Other stupid security measures mentioned by Schneier this week:
Licensing Boaters:
There are lots of good reasons to license boats and boaters, just as there are to license cars and drivers. But counterterrorism is not one of them.
I agree, but I wonder if he would continue that logic with respect to guns and crime. I doubt it. Licensing will do nothing to stop those who intend to violate the law to do what they desire. Just as those who use guns in crime are unlikely to care that using firearms in that manner is illegal.

Then there is ID Cards to Stop Bullying:

No, really:

"Introducing photo ID cards will help bring an end to bullying over use of 'cash free' cards for school meals, will assist with access to school bus services and, ultimately, can be used to add security to school examinations," he said.

"SSTA members report frequently that young people are bullied into handing over their cards for school meals to others, thus leaving them without their meal entitlement.

"With non-identified cards this will remain a problem. If photo ID is introduced widely, then the problem will dramatically reduce."

He said that introducing such a system would also help prepare young people for "the realities of identity management in the 21st Century".

Odd world. I'm not saying that bullying didn't exist when I went to school, it just seems to be that it's more prevalent now and appears to be tolerated more. I'm thinking that is probably because schools don't allow the person being bullied to fight back anymore.


I agree with this:

However, Green MSP Patrick Harvie said the suggestion was troubling.

"We should be preparing young people for the reality of defending their privacy and civil liberties against ever-more intrusive government systems," he argued.

"We've heard proposals for airport-style scanners and random drug testing in schools, fingerprinting is already in place in some schools. There's a risk of creating environments which feel more like penal institutions than places of learning.

"These ID cards will do absolutely nothing to address the causes of bullying. Instead they will teach the next generation that an ID card culture is 'normal', and that they should have to prove their entitlement to services."

It's important that schools teach the right lessons, and "we're all living in a surveillance society, and we should just get used to it" is not the right lesson.

The fact that institutions of all types, from schools to the Dept. of Homeland Security seem to want to put restraints on security issues rather than finding and solving the cause or eliminating the threats is troubling. There doesn't appear to be much incentive to take the offensive against threats. The solution, far too often, is to build another wall, or put on more armor. That strategy ends up with you being the knight in full plate armor and the enemy holding a firearm. Remember how quickly full plate left the battle field when the gun appeared in warfare.

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