Problem/Motivation/Concept behind the Research
Several times, I have heard news about terrorist activities and other organized crimes. From the news, I learnt that these criminal elements usually use forged passport documents to move across national borders and coordinate their activities, especially the recurring news about the U.S. September terrorist attacks of 2001 that imply machine-readable passports had insufficient security that criminal elements exploited. The idea about using technology was to enhance passport security beyond that offered by machine-readable passports. Therefore, I asked myself, how does technology counter passport fraud differently than machine-readable passports did? I also learnt that passport fraud still exists even with full implementation of technology in passport security. Thus, the problem I attempted to solve was to show the strength and weaknesses in using technology to enhance passport fraud to determine whether in overall technology was useful to enhance passport security despite incidences of fraud persisting.
I found out that technology helps counter passport fraud by design security features that are either too expensive to copy or too difficult to forge and RFID technology useful for authentication and detection of fraud. These two ensured that for a successful fraud, an individual has to scan and read data in a passport and forge the physical passport book, which is difficult without being caught.
I used a mixed research approach for my methodology, which begun with the quantitative phase collecting data from secondary source (government agencies and previous studies on passport security) and them a qualitative phase using interviews. For the interview, initially I searched on Google using the key words “Adoption of ePAssport”, “Passport fraud” and “Passport fraud arrests” to identify countries that issue electronic passport and the incidences of passport fraud reported. I found the U.K, the U.S., Canada and Australia issued electronic passports and all had high incidences of passport fraud, therefore relevant to the study. However, I chose U.K. Border Agency, the U.S. Homeland Security because they had sufficient information and Passport Canada that had the highest incidences of passport fraud (17,000). Further, I chose Siemens Business Services and De La Rue as private companies providing passport security because Siemens formerly and De La Rue presently provide passport security to U.K. Border Agency; therefore, have relevant technical and experiential knowledge about passport security
From each of the five participating institutions, I chose two participants making10 participants in total. I did not want a higher number of participants since my intention was to collect in depth information to explain how technology curbs passport fraud. Since I required qualitative data, I chose judgmental sampling for three reasons. To find employees whom I perceive to hold relevant and useful data, and that the employee would be available during the period of the interview and would be willing to participate. The questions I asked came from findings of the quantitative phase, for example: “How do you prevent clandestine scanning and passport cloning in electronic passports?” “What are the advantages of using RFID wireless technology in passport over contact technology that has been tested and widely used in ATMs in banks?” “What is the significance of moving the chip inside the back cover of the passport?” “While using the same technology increases passport security owing to ease of interaction between countries; isn’t it a security threat since one successful attack maybe replicated to all other electronic passports?”