I had a conversation with a conservative friend of mine who believed that getting the Post Office to pre-check passport applications was a good idea. It was a matter of getting it pre-checked, sending it off in one motion, as it were.
I disagreed. I was/am willing to wait the few weeks it takes for the issuing passport office to do what it does to make sure that I am who I say I am – I really do think that a passport is THAT important. One of the reasons I am so much against ID cards – I think passports are a more valid document because of those checks – and that, in itself, an ID card is almost exactly the same.
So I came across this story on CNN which shows how easy it is to get an American passport which brought me to a story I read here.
So is it a matter that having post offices checking documents is the real problem? I even went to the CIA Factbook site to see what I could look up regarding Virgo’s question has anyone got the figures about which country has the most passport holders – fascinating site if you have never been there. I must admit I couldn’t find the information and when I think about it is it any of my business? I am sure some geek will tell me it is or should be, but – where I am interested is are there that many forged passports out there?
I assume there must be for this type of investigation to be undertaken.
But there in lies where I have another problem – with showing this kind of news so openly will it give some the idea to go and get a passport fraudulently? Personally I would have preferred that passport offices keep the passport issuing process in-house – I prefer the security of that to the government saving a few quid.
But what this story does expose, once again, without the proper checks to make sure a person really is who they say they are – how can you be 100% sure that the ID you are inspecting is, in fact, one that has been issued to the correct person?
In the “most egregious” case, it says, the investigator used the Social Security number of a man who died in 1965 to obtain a Social Security card. In another case, he used the Social Security number of a 5-year-old child and obtained a passport, even though his counterfeit documents and application indicated he was 53 years old.
“A U.S. passport is a key to virtually anywhere in the world,” said Sen. John Kyl, R-Arizona. “It is very troubling that in the years since the September 11 attacks someone could use fraudulent documents to obtain a U.S. passport.”
Kyl and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on terrorism, requested the test.
Something to think about, no?