Having recently applied for a replacement passport, I was surprised at how easy it was. The binding between my old passport and the application-form being a couple of identical passport photos. Clearly somebody in the passport office office looks at the photos I slipped in with the application, looks at the photo on my old passport and if it’s me – hey presto I get a new passport, no questions asked. No need for me to appear before any kind of panel to be grilled…
But I obviously didn’t look identical. I’m 10 years older for a start. This got me thinking. If I had maybe 2 years to perform a scam, I could fox the passport service in to giving a legitimate passport to somebody else. Here’s my scam.
I meet my client. I take a photograph of him and one of me. I then use morphing software to come up with say 6 intermediate images. I apply for 48 page passports because I do a lot of travel. In other words, it won’t look particularly odd if I apply for a lot of passports in a short space of time. Such travellers do exist!
This was done with free morphing software I’d never used before on the default settings.
It is therefore not unusual for the passport service to get maybe 6 passport applications in 2 years. I fake the stamps in the passport so the pages are full for each application. In the first application I use the first morphed photograph. It’s a close enough match to my existing passport photo for them to issue a new one with no suspicions. I then do the same thing with all the intermediate morphed photos, until the last passport application, 2 years later I send the photograph of my client.
My client ends up being biometrically bound to my data. I feel this might be possible with any biometric data and the necessary morphing software in the situation that the applicant themselves are the collector of the data. This would surely easily work with fingerprints, Iris scans etc, which are all merely images as long as you don’t have to turn up to an office and be processed by a human being.
There are enough criminal cases in which fingerprint data is successfully challenged, because all that is looked for are points of similarity not an exact match. The more points of similarity the higher the confidence that the prints found at the scene of crime are those of the suspect. Morphing software could easily circumvent this by maintaining enough points of similarity at each intermediate stage, but still making other changes.