Senators Ron Wyden and Claire McCaskill sent a letter (.pdf) to the acting commission of US Customers and Border Protection today asking that the US government actually start using the “anti-tamper and anti-forgery features in e-Passports, which have gone unused by CBP since their implementation in 2007.”
e-Passports contain chips which store traveler information and have a security feature to verify the validity of the document. The U.S. has required countries in our visa waiver program to issue these machine-readable e-passports. And travelers from these countries have only permitted entry to travelers from these countries with an e-Passport since 2015.
Copyright: andreyuu / 123RF Stock Photo
Yet we’re not actually authenticating the passports. We’ve bullied the rest of the world to adopt this standard and we’re not even checking the information we’ve required. From the letter:
This is Alice in Wonderland-style insanity. While the government invests in biometric checkpoints for US citizens departing the country they’re not actually validating the authenticity of credentials supplied by people coming in.