If you want to travel to the US you apparently need one of my least favourite Travel Documents now. Yes - the US have decided they would like visitors to have Biometric Passports.
Luckily I have absolutely zero intention of ever visiting the US. However, the idea of Biometric Passports still leaves me feeling upset and angry.
On the one hand I can understand why Security Services and Border Agencies would like to have all your personal details contained in one easy microchipped document. On the other hand I find Biometric Passports to be extremely frustrating and time-consuming - both to acquire and use.
Yes - I know I have blogged about Biometric Passports and my problems with them before but I am getting more and more worried about the widespread use of them. This is particularly true when it comes to using them to identify people like me. I have been told I look totally different depending on whether or not I have got my glasses on. Apart from which - there is the obvious fact that I am never seen walking around in public without my glasses on (unless I am cleaning them) for obvious reasons.
Surely it is not beyond the wit of man (especially those who decided it would be a good idea to force all dog owners to get their canines microchipped in case the canines were lost) to come up with an alternative way of collecting and storing data which did not necessitate people like me actually feeling like a fraud when I appear at a Passport Desk due to me having my glasses on my nose in "real life" and not having them on in my Passport photo.
Even better - I wish we could just go back to the old Passports and have another card (or a flash stick) which could hold all the data on us if people really decide it is necessary for them to know everything about us. Personally - I think people should only be told on a strict "need to know" basis. My personal information should be kept private until I choose to share it.
The really scary thing is that I know of companies who insist on knowing your Passport Nr and National Insurance Nr when you apply for a job. Yes - you read that correctly - when you apply for a job. As in before they even decide if they wish to interview you - let alone offer you the job. I know this because it happened to me. When I questioned this with the company in question they told me it would save time later. It may save time later but I just felt scared in case they used my data for any purpose other than the one they claimed to need it for. Put it this way - it was a Civilian company (ie, not Police or Government).
I realise this country has something of a minor problem with people working here illegally but - the rate we are going - we are likely to have a much bigger problem with people fraudulently using data accessed as part of the Job Application process. After all - I don't trust Companies to obey the Data Protection Act and destroy my data when they no longer need it. Some of them just sell it on to other companies who will send spam - either through my email accounts, through my letterbox, or by means of unsolicited phone calls from companies I have never previously heard of - never mind dealt with.
It has got to the stage where I feel I am not a human - I am a commodity which is most useful when mined for Data - and I hate it.
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