"Yet Another Step"

by Edward Langenback

© 8/25/06

In yet another step on the road to the mark of the beast, so-called 'e-passports' are being rolled out. What is being ignored except by privacy groups is that the data stored on one of these things can be read and copied, which means that the passport can be used by somebody else.

The writer of the article states that cloning is not a threat because all the data and the photo are encrypted and can't be changed. Another person says "No one else can use it because your photo is on the chip and they're not you."

What they don't take into account is the fact that in a busy terminal bored workers are not going to be paying more than the most cursory attention to photos if they bother looking at all. They are going to rely on the computer that's scanning the e-passport to assess id. Many of them will probably make the same mistake about the infalibility of having a picture on or embeded in something. Just because there is a picture on it doesn't make it foolproof, driver's licenses have proved that long ago.

The problem is that those are exactly the arguments that will be used sometime later after e-passports and other things using similar technology are read from a distance and cloned, making possible identity theft on a scale previously unknown because with the advance in use of RFID technology like the 'e-passport' will mean more and more ways to use this electronic ID in automated situations (like ATM machines for just one example). This means that they'll want to take the RFID chip ID system to a higher level and require them to be implanted in the right hand or forehead.

U.S. to begin rollout of e-passports
New documents contain chip that holds same data as paper version
By Dan Caterinicchia

WASHINGTON - Despite ongoing privacy concerns and legal disputes involving companies bidding on the project, the U.S. State Department plans to begin issuing smart chip-embedded passports to Americans as planned Monday.

Not even the foiled terror plot that heightened security checks at airports nationwide threatens to delay the rollout, the agency said. Any hitches in getting the technology to work properly could add even longer waits to travelers already facing lengthy security lines at airports.

The new U.S. passports will include a chip that contains all the data contained in the paper version -- name, birthdate, gender, for example -- and can be read by electronic scanners at equipped airports. The State Department says they will speed up going through customs and help enhance border security.

Privacy groups continue to raise concerns about the security of the electronic information and a German computer security expert earlier this month demonstrated in Las Vegas how personal information stored on the documents could be copied and transferred to another device.

But electronic cloning does not constitute a threat because the information on the chips, including the photograph, is encrypted and cannot be changed, according to the Smart Card Alliance, a New Jersey-based not-for-profit made up of government agencies and industry players.

"It's no different than someone stealing your passport and trying to use it," Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the alliance, said in a statement. "No one else can use it because your photo is on the chip and they're not you."

Full Article:

Here's some ominous news, announcing the deployment of an online version of a biometric payment system. They're using finerprints & such now, but I can't help wonder how long before somebody decides to switch to implanted RFID's? Especially given the previous item.

New Pay Buy Touch Online Checkout Service
Pay By Touch anounced Pay by Touch Online:

A new payment and identification service that gives consumers a fast, easy and secure way to identify themselves and make purchases on the Internet.

Surely the new service sounds neat. The Express Sign-In feature allows consumers to log onto any website using just their fingerprint thus eliminating the need for remembering numerous user names and passwords.

Similarly to the Express Sign-In the Express Checkout allows making online purchases with a slide of a dinger across the scanner by providing instant access to the user's online wallet hosted by Pay By Touch (kind of like biometric PayPal's account).

Sure, all of this sounds very neat. The question is, how many vendors support the new biometric identification technology from Pay by Touch? What we really need is someone big like Google, PayPal or Amazon supporting this or similar technology. And we need fingerprint scanners built in into every keyboard too!

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These two articles are related.. in the first President Bush went so far as to say that 'Plan B' ought to require a prescription for minors. It's a pity that he didn't voice any other opposition to it.

In the second, The FDA approved over the counter sales of 'Plan B'. The writer of the second article says that this resolved 'one of the most contentious issues in the agency’s 100-year history.', when in fact the only thing is resolved is that Barr Pharmaceuticals, the FDA, and the US government have, by approving this kind of drug at all let alone for over the counter sales, permitted and promoted a major accelleration in the moral decay going on in this country.

The problem is that things like 'Plan B' make sexual immorality . . . wait, lets call it what it is, Fornication and Adultery so much more convienient. Now after the illicit passion is sated, all that's needed is for the woman to get out 'Plan B' and the chance of unwanted and unplanned for children drops dramatically. Sin shouldn't be that easy.

Another thing that isn't being taken into a lot of consideration. Safety. Are there any harfull side effects? Especially the kind that nobody will know about until after the stuff has been in use for years? Oh, I know, people will say "It's FDA approved, It MUST be safe". The problem there is tha the company that want's to sell it and stands to make Billions from it is the one doing the testing. Somehow I have a real problem trusting a process like that.


Bush supports limits on morning-after pill
Mon Aug 21, 2006 03:47 PM ET
By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Monday he supports restricting access to emergency contraception for minors, as regulators weigh wider access to the "morning-after" pill.

Bush's comment was his first direct public statement on the politically charged issue that has delayed a Senate confirmation vote on his nominee to head the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Andrew von Eschenbach.

While he did not specifically support wider access to the drug, Bush said he backed von Eschenbach, who as acting FDA commissioner has supported nonprescription emergency contraception sales for adults, earning him the opposition of some conservatives.

"I believe that Plan B ... ought to require a prescription for minors. That's what I believe," Bush said at a news conference.

Barr Pharmaceuticals has been unsuccessful in two attempts to win government approval to sell its Plan B drug more widely without a prescription. Its first application in 2003 covered women of all ages but was rejected. The second was limited to women 16 and older. The FDA postponed a decision.

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August 25, 2006
F.D.A. Approves Broader Access to Next-Day Pill

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 - The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved over-the-counter sales of the morning-after contraceptive pill to women 18 and older, resolving one of the most contentious issues in the agency’s 100-year history.

Nationwide over-the-counter sales of the drug, Plan B, are expected to start by the end of the year. It will be sold in pharmacies and health clinics only, and buyers must show proof of age. Anyone under age 18 will still need a prescription. Men may also buy Plan B for a partner.

The prescription drug now sells for $25 to $40 per two-pill dose, but the manufacturer, Barr Pharmaceuticals of Woodcliff Park, N.J., said the price could change.

The agency’s decision, which took three years and spanned the terms of three F.D.A. commissioners, did little to dampen what has became a central part of the nation’s debate on abortion. Abortion rights advocates argue that the wide availability of Plan B may reduce abortions; abortion opponents assert that Plan B will cause them.

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Two sides to every problem.

On the one hand, I can understand this town's plight and I'll even agree that they've got a LOT of churches, some of which I am pretty sure have little or nothing to do with the true work of God.

On the other, There's the very idea of limiting or 'freezing' new churches from opening is in direct violation of the first amendment, specifically the guarantee of the freedom of religion. Just from reading the list of churches in this article, I guarantee that I don't agree with at least half of them if not more, but regardless of that they have the right to exist.

Christians need to take a good look at this, because this time it's a collection of all manner of churches in one town. Perhaps next time it'll be a larger authority or jurisdiction ordering to be closed all of the churches that preach Jesus crucified, buried and resurrected...


Hurting for Tax Revenue, Town Ponders a Freeze on Churches
51 Houses of Worship Crowd Out Businesses in Houston Suburb

By Sylvia Moreno
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 19, 2006; Page A02

STAFFORD, Tex. -- To say this Houston suburb's got religion is hardly an exaggeration. It's more like an understatement.

In one short stretch, there are the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple, made of 3,836 tons of hand-carved Italian marble and Turkish limestone; the simple yet welcoming Family Worship Center ("A Good Place to Call Home," declares the sign); St. Johns' Knanaya Syrian Orthodox Church; and the future home of the Henry David Thoreau Unitarian Universalist Congregation ("Room for Different Beliefs . . . Yours," says its sign).

Next door is the unadorned Islamic Society mosque; across the street is the West Side Baptist Church with its "Prayer; Wireless Access to God; No Roaming Charge" sign; and on the corner, next to an auto-parts store, stands the Jesus House Texas with its big pink cross and "Reigning in Victory" sign. And that is just one street.

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