[LINK] Airport to tag passengers

Glen Turner glen.turner at aarnet.edu.au
Fri Oct 13 15:52:18 AEST 2006

Howard Lowndes wrote:

> Colin Brooks, Optag co-ordinator, said the trial would determine if the 
> tags would be feasible in the light of obvious problems, such as the 
> possibility that people might ditch their tags to avoid detection, or 
> swap them with another person.
> One solution might be to require people to use their tags to get through 
> gates placed throughout the airport, he said. Perhaps a little like a 
> shepherd might gate off his pasture and check the tags on his sheep as 
> they passed into this field.

Quite simply, they are solving the wrong problem.

The issue is tracking people and their possessions through
the airport, and this suggestion does neither.

The one obvious use -- requiring staff to wear the tags
and raising an alarm if a tagless person enters somewhere
they shouldn't be -- isn't really considered.

Oddly enough, developments aimed at solving the right problem --
tracking people directly from video, identifying odd behaviours,
and identifying suspiciously placed luggage -- seems to be
progressing well.  For example, Heathrow runs its cameras into
a luggage system, a suspicious behaviour system (such as entering
the airport through a public door but entering a secure area),
and a "show me person X now" system.

That should raise exactly the same privacy concerns as the proposed
RFID tag system.  But really, there is no privacy in airports
these days.  I doubt there has been since the Red Army Faction.

So the concern is, how effective are these systems.  And any
tagging system for the public in airports obviously just isn't
good enough.

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