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Government Patents Privacy Security Apple

Apple's Secret Plan To Join iPhones With Airport Security 232

Hugh Pickens writes "Currently — as most of us know — TSA agents briefly examine government ID and boarding passes as each passenger presents their documents at a checkpoint at the end of a security line. Thom Patterson writes at CNN that under a 2008 Apple patent application that was approved in July and filed under the working title "iTravel," a traveler's phone would automatically send electronic identification to a TSA agent as soon as the traveler got in line and as each traveler waits in line. TSA agents would examine the electronic ID at an electronic viewing station. Next, at the X-ray stations, a traveler's phone would confirm to security agents that the traveler's ID had already been checked. Apple's patent calls for the placement of special kiosks (PDF) around the airport which will automatically exchange data with your phone via a close range wireless technology called near field communication (NFC). Throughout the process, the phone photo could be displayed on a screen for comparison with the traveler. Facial recognition software could be included in the process. Several experts say a key question that must be answered is: How would you prove that the phone is yours? To get around this problem, future phones or electronic ID may require some form of biometric security function including photo, fingerprint and photo retinal scan comparisons. Of course, there is still a ways to go. If consumers, airlines, airports and the TSA don't embrace the NFC kiosks, experts say it's unlikely Apple's vision would become reality. 'First you would have to sell industry on Apple's idea. Then you'd have to sell it to travel consumers,' says Neil Hughes of Apple Insider. 'It's a chicken-and-egg problem.'"
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Apple's Secret Plan To Join iPhones With Airport Security

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  • A 1984 device ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @07:27PM (#41393981) Journal

    The irony is that the "1984" theme became one of the most successful ad campaign for Apple back then ...

  • by Scowler ( 667000 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @07:39PM (#41394105)

    We have RFID tags in our passports already, so they are already moving us towards electronic IDs. It's a foregone conclusion that the type of ID done for international flights will eventually crop up in domestic travel as well, for better or worse.

    Consumers won't fight phone ID provided there is some added convenience that comes with it. Perhaps if we didn't have to remove shoes, for example (even though that security theatre seems unrelated to digital identification).

  • by pnot ( 96038 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @08:14PM (#41394373)

    iPhone 6, duh. Apple's phones are pretty predictable these days, new tech comes a cycle late.

    The first phone with NFC was the Nokia 6131, which came out a year before the first iPhone. So maybe new tech comes six cycles late...

  • Re:A 1984 device ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @08:18PM (#41394403)

    Cell phones are becoming less about communications and more about tracking and identification.

    It's a good thing that not every phone is an iPhone then, huh.
    If their patent works out, they are sure to make this iTravel thing a permanent and non-removable staple of iPhone 6S or whatever it'll be by then.

  • Re:A 1984 device ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DragonTHC ( 208439 ) <Dragon@gamersMEN ... com minus author> on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @10:37PM (#41395175) Homepage Journal

    That's not irony.

    Who will a stolen iPhone identify?

  • Re:A 1984 device ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:49AM (#41400295)

    If you want to blame someone, start with DHS and the TSA. Apple isn't selling you out, your government sold you out.

    Close but you're one level too shallow which is .. typical. DHS and TSA are effects. Not causes. The causes are a bunch of Americans who think being fat and stupid is acceptable. They care a LOT more about who the next American Idol will be, or which football team wins a game (athletes == the really rich people nobody hates) than they do about our progress along a path to our own brand of fascism. Ever see mindless football fans jumping up and down, yelling and screaming etc. over a touchdown? If they got half that concerned and excited about freedom (real freedom, not the "freedom to tell other people how to live" bullshit) we wouldn't HAVE a TSA. Fat stupid people who aren't terribly aware of what's going on is an environment. Government tyranny is an organism that thrives in this particular environment. It is not hard to understand. It's just hard for immature minds to accept because there is no nice fluffy-bunny way to say it that will never offend anybody. And to immature minds, being inoffensive no matter how low of a priority that should be in the face of bigger problems, is much more important than dealing with reality.

    While I agree with you overall assessment of the attention level of the American people, I would point out that they are lied to and manipulated by the media and Corporate America, and whomever the CIA has working at ABC, CBS and NBC these days. People are conditioned to think America is just the definition of awesomeness. And awesome doesn't promote fascism. So a lot of them will not come to the conclusion on their own that Uncle Sam is slowly straight-jacketing them.

    Some of us are naturally suspicious and skeptical of authority. I'm guessing you fall into that category. I know I do. From the moment I heard the US referred to as the "Homeland" I knew something was up. That is a very loaded word that was never used to describe our country before 9/11. But most people are too busy getting through their daily lives to pay attention to higher concepts like control of a population though fear, distraction and subtle intimidation. One can't think about that stuff when he is worried about how to make the rent this month.

    The elite who rule this country understand that people can't really consider their position if they are scrambling for basic needs. A lot of people, when under stress, will look for escape. It is provided in the forms of vapid TV, infotainent "news", and shallow consumerism. The rulers have always understood the value of bread and circuses; today is no different. So I agree that the people of this country need to wake up and smell the authoritarianism. But I also know that there are forces arrayed against them that many are not equipped to resist.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.