According to the BBC, London Heathrow is to begin trials of a new biometric security system. The system, like many others being tested/used worldwide is “voluntary” at the moment, and only in use for certain flights, but it’s part of a worrying trend towards 2-tier security that will (over time) degrade the security of the traveling public.
As Bruce Schneier has pointed out previously, when you introduce two different classes of security into the security theatre, you degrade overall security because now all the bad guys need to do is defeat a machine and they’ve overcome all your anal-probing, abbrasively annoying manual human inspection and any other security used for “regular people”. But the bad guys don’t know this, so we’re ok.
I’ve often thought Heathrow security was an annoying, humorless joke, and this just serves to back up my thoughts on the subject – closed source biometric security systems are not only a bad idea but they’re actively dangerous because people don’t see what could be wrong with them. But they’re digital! They use computers! They use words like biometric in their descriptions! How could they possibly be a bad idea?