No shit sherlock. CIA (inofficially) complains about the difficulties of creating identities for their spies, as passport systems are more and more relying on biometrics and databases.
Let’s analyze this for a second. Traditionally, a passport was a document disconnected (by its nature) from anything else. The only way to tell whether the passport belonged to a person was to match up the face with the picture.
Now, a passport is tied to it’s real owner by fingerprint and iris. This means it is more difficult to use someone else’s identity, but assuming you can do forgery well enough, you can still create a fake passport with your biometric data.
And that’s where the database comes in. You cannot assume an existing identity, or an identity with matching biometrics, if there is a database. So once a spy has been biometrically tagged ONCE in a database, he/she cannot get a new identity unless changing the foreign database. And that is, if not impossible, a lot more difficult.
So what does this mean going forward?
- Increased need to hack databases, and to defend them
- Increased value of usable identities (scapegoats, dead people, people with very similar biometrics will be very valuable if the database cannot be hacked)
- Faking biometrics by means of lenses, fingerprint overlays, etc.
- Use of runners and sleepers. Sleepers are valuable, high-skill spies with in the target country that have to protect their identity. Runners are people that are paid to “spend” their identity on passing important checkpoints (such as borders), to bring information, items or act as contact points.