Singapore will replace passports with iris and facial scans

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How does someone with glass eyes get back in the country?


All I can think of is this scene from Minority Report:


It’s Singapore . . . they could get 40 lashes.


Great pun, eye didn’t see that one!


My eyes were scanned going into Baku, Azerbaijan but still had to use passport.


Has anyone pointed out to them that when their database gets hacked (or corrupted) that people will be unable to change their “passwords” for the rest of their lives and will be stuck in an absurd struggle to prove their identities?


I was email pen pals for awhile with a guy who ran a toy company in Singapore. It is a very orderly place. They had a dog named Astroboy at the office, but he was technically illegal and they had to hide him. Not sure why they couldn’t just get him the papers, but eh.

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Article: “If the scan fails, they can use a fingerprint, also in the database.” :slightly_smiling_face:


Iris’k a lot for that.


Let’s stop this before the jokes get any cornea.


Yeah … I “wonder” what Schneier has to say about this. I expect it’d be a trenchant take on exactly that point.

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I think Demolition Man did it better.


I’d be surprised if their database has actual retinal pictures in it, instead of signatures (the way most fingerprint readers work) - you can’t use the signatures to recreate the retina any more than you can use a password hash to login to another site - you need to find the password (or in this case, retina) that recreates that same hash first.

I’ll bet for biometrics that’s even harder than passwords, though -because the hash is probably the product of an individual scanner’s resolution, and possibly design (i.e., meatspace effects), as opposed to being merely algorithmic.


I recall John Varley writing in The Golden Globe of ID’s verified at checkpoints from flakes of skin analyzed for DNA – stick your hand in the scanner, it won’t hurt. Of course that can be hacked with hand transplants.

I agree. After all, we want our reputations to be immaculate.

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Having worked with the Singaporeans on a large scale infrastructure project, I would say, yes, they did think of that.

This plan is the most Singaporean thing ever. The only possible next step will be to deny entry to all citizens and restore them from backup.


Of course that can be hacked with hand transplants.

The Eight Worlds is pretty close to modern SG in some ways. From memory the Lunar DNA scanners could be fooled with just a small sheet of skin, and you could grow the skin in a culture medium, but the penalty if you get caught is permanent death, ie, they kill you and they erase your backups.


I wasn’t imagining people making fake retina or fingerprints to beat the scan. More hacks along the lines of switching which scan is associated with which person.

For a few years I worked closely with someone from Singapore. On all these topics he would tell me that I just need to embrace Big Brother and accept that Big Brother loves me. He was more serious than joking. He now works for visa back in Singapore doing all sorts of fancy math for financial analysis of people’s spending that I find overly invasive


Innocent banter is something that some people can misinterpret in a heartbeat.

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@doctorow has written before about how Singapore seems to be “the model” of a big-brother capitalist police state and mostly works because of the uniqueness of the country itself - being one big city and one unified culture (at least as they try to convey themselves).