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weblet
02-02-2006, 07:00 AM
Passport Support - Peace of Mind for Travellers

Milton, 01 Feb 2006/ travelpress.biz A new service allowing travellers to store secure copies of travel documents online has been launched. Known as Passport Support, the service provides secure online storage for copies of travel documents including passports, visas, air tickets, identity documents and travellers
cheques.

For years governments and travel companies have been advising travellers to take copies of all documents
(passports, licences, tickets etc) to help prove their identity and accelerate the replacement process if the originals are lost or stolen. Photocopies generally deteriorate and can be lost or stolen as easily as the original documents.

Passport Support will be extremely useful to travellers of all types, particularly frequent, business or adventure travellers. The stored documents can be accessed 24-hours a day, 7-days a week from anywhere in the world via the internet
( www.passportsupport.com ) so they're readily available in an emergency. Documents are secured by bank level encryption and security to prevent unauthorized access.

Loss of travel documents is a reality with over 58,000 British and Australian citizens reporting lost or stolen passports during the last year. Why risk it? Register at www.passportsupport.com today.

For further information contact [email protected] or visit our website www.passportsupport.com .

Eileen Sellers
02-02-2006, 07:14 AM
Secure and On-Line don't seem to go together.

tdew
02-02-2006, 08:13 AM
It sounds like a good idea, but I'd hesitate to put ALL that information "out there" in one place.

If it's a big trip, I always have hard copies of everything - usually the copies are caried by more than one person.

Recently I've started putting everything (flight details, confirmations, etc) onto a keychain usb thing.
That's great for your own use, as long as you have a computer with you.
Be aware though, there are many people out there who have no idea what those things are!

Also - be cautious about putting the thumbdrive on your keyring.
The first time I took a short trip after I started using the usb thing, I got back to pick up my car at the off site airport lot and saw
my keys hanging on the board with the usb thing right there too!
I no longer keep it with my keys.
Luckily, the parking lot people were evidently part of the group who don't know what those things are.

weblet
02-02-2006, 08:33 AM
Recently I've started putting everything (flight details, confirmations, etc) onto a keychain usb thing.
That's great for your own use, as long as you have a computer with you.

Now that's a great idea for business people. Would the techies amongst us please clarify the 'keychain usb thing' terminology? Is this the same as a flash drive? A friend gave me one of these thingys (his company makes them) and I've been wondering about a good use for it....

tdew
02-02-2006, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by weblet@Feb 2 2006, 09:33 AM
Now that's a great idea for business people.* Would the techies amongst us please clarify the 'keychain usb thing' terminology?* Is this the same as a flash drive?* A friend gave me one of these thingys (his company makes them) and I've been wondering about a good use for it....
19348

Hi,

They are all the same thing - just different terms for a storage device that is very small and connects to a computer's USB port and acts as one more drive on the computer.

We bought a car in FL and had to pick it up and drive it to NJ. I brought the insurance policy on a thumbdrive, along with all the details of the sale, but didn't get around to printing them out before we had to leave. The car dealer needed the insurance info. He gave me free access to his computer, because he didn't have any idea of how to go about connecting the thing.... His printer didn't work, or I wouldn't have had the next experience when we had to take the car to Pep Boys for inspection before the full coverage would be allowed.
Again - the people at Pep Boys had no idea how to make use of the device. I had to get my laptop out of the car, start it up and open the file.

So - though these devices are wonderful for those who move things back and forth from one computer to another, they are accepted everywhere yet.

missalf
02-02-2006, 11:55 AM
Also, there are a number of utilities available (Some from the flash/thumb/jump drive manufacturers themselves) that allow you to password protect some or all of the drivespace -- one of the biggest issues we face in putting data on these little things is they're so easy to lose. If you don't protect yourself by password protecting the drive, or your files, then anyone can get to them. Just goggle and you'll end up with a myriad of results, both freeware and for purchase. Then determine which one will meet your needs.

I probably have four different flash drives I use regularly, and I carry two of them with me at almost all times and yes, there is secure information on them. The flash drives are password protected, and, on top of that, the files also are locked by password protection.

Neurotic? I've been in IT for many, many years, I know better -- there is no such thing as too careful. Remember, better safe than sorry.

Ned
02-02-2006, 04:49 PM
Originally posted by missalf@Feb 2 2006, 01:55 PM
Also, there are a number of utilities available (Some from the flash/thumb/jump drive manufacturers themselves) that allow you to password protect some or all of the drivespace -- one of the biggest issues we face in putting data on these little things is they're so easy to lose.* If you don't protect yourself by password protecting the drive, or your files, then anyone can get to them.* Just goggle and you'll end up with a myriad of results, both freeware and for purchase.* Then determine which one will meet your needs.

I probably have four different flash drives I use regularly, and I carry two of them with me at almost all times and yes, there is secure information on them.* The flash drives are password protected, and, on top of that, the files also are locked by password protection.

Neurotic?* I've been in IT for many, many years, I know better -- there is no such thing as too careful.* Remember, better safe than sorry.
19364

As a computer professional, I can't stress enough just how right Missalf is!

Arkstfan
02-03-2006, 02:33 PM
Ipods and most other mp3 players can be used the same way.

SPUD_AU
02-05-2006, 01:46 AM
Hi guys,

I checked out the Passport Support site (www.passportsupport.com) and I think its great idea - soo good I joined up to check it out (its not like it costs much). I've always carried copies of my papers but once I got them stolen along with the originals (its hard to argue with a man with a knife). I'll still carry my copies but having the extra backup on the net makes me feel even better. I like the USB idea but the same goes for it as for with the copies if its lost or stolen your stuff is gone.

When I saw the site I joined up - the security looks OK (at least as good as my banks!).

I live in a country not my own (presently South Africa) and I reccon it will also come in handy when filling out the million-and-one forms that seem to come up annually as an EXPAT.

Methinks good idea.

SPUD

Annette
02-05-2006, 12:32 PM
My question isn't how secure is the site, but how secure is your information once they have it? I mean really, would I hand over my passport to a store clerk for safe keeping for example? Who are the people who are running that site? I did a quick check and found that
a) the domain servers are in Australia
B) the domain itself was registered through godaddy.com, where apparently anyone can purchase a domain name from $1.99

So I ask again - who are these people and why would I trust them with my passport information?

Ned
02-05-2006, 01:16 PM
Originally posted by Annette@Feb 5 2006, 02:32 PM
My question isn't how secure is the site, but how secure is your information once they have it?* I mean really, would I hand over my passport to a store clerk for safe keeping for example?* Who are the people who are running that site?* I did a quick check and found that
a) the domain servers are in Australia
B) the domain itself was registered through godaddy.com, where apparently anyone can purchase a domain name from $1.99

So I ask again - who are these people and why would I trust them with my passport information?
19519

This sounds like a great idea with the world's proliferation of Internet access.

That being said I wasn't impressed with their privacy statement. For one thing they reserve the right to change their privacy policies at any time without prior notice, and without any direct notice of any kind whatsoever. It's up to each user to be vigilant and keep checking their site to see if their privacy policy has changed. For a site whose purpose is solely to keep your most sensitive identity records, to not have a proactive policy of notifying all users of any privacy policy change I find troubling.

They say they are more secure than a bank, yet they use a simple username/password login and don't even require a strong password or suggest you use one.

I am also troubled by the lack of information about the company on its web site or anywhere else for that matter. They are asking for a lot of trust and give us no reason to believe we should give them that trust.

I think I'll continue to take color hard copies of my travel documents (passport, etc.) with me, rather than entrusting this company with such information.

Arkstfan
02-05-2006, 03:43 PM
Wouldn't it make as much sense to just scan the docs or copy the information and put it on personal web space?

Most internet providers now give you free space at www.yourprovider.com/~yourusername or something similar and it can usually be password protected.

If I wanted to steal identities I'd be spending my time on attacking sites like that rather than randomly poking around personal webspaces.

PSP
02-05-2006, 08:53 PM
I came across this forum linked from Google. I'm one of the people who run Passport Support, so let me address some of the issues you have raised:

1. Flash Drives/Thumb Drives/Ipods etc - yes you can carry a copy of your passport etc on one of these. But you can lose it just as you can lose photocopies or originals. Passport Support is designed to give you fast access to your documents if the originals or copies you are carrying with you are lost or stolen. No matter how many copies you carry with you, and whatever form they are in, if they are all with you and all your gear is lost or stolen, then you are in trouble. Also even if you password protect the information on them, a single password is relatively easy to break by brute force or physical tampering if you have complete control of the device.

2. Would I hand over my Passport to a store clerk for safe keeping? Probably not, but a lot of people hand over their passports to hotel employees for registration when travelling.

3. The domain servers are in Australia - yes they are. This does not mean they are any less secure than if they were located in the USA, Canada, the UK, or any other country. We are an Australian company. It doesn't make sense for us to have domain servers in another country. By having them located in Australia we are able check with our own eyes the physical security measures taken to ensure the servers are not accessed by unauthorised persons.

4. The domain name is registered with GoDaddy (anyone can register a domain from $1.99) - Firstly, to clarify: anyone can register any .com domain name with any registrar regardless of the cost. GoDaddy was the least expensive registrar we could find. Why would you register with a more expensive registrar for what is a very simple service and one which has no effect whatsoever on security? If we registered with a more expensive registrar the costs would be passed on to the end user.

5. Changing Privacy Policy - Good point. We have updated our privacy policy to ensure that we are required to actively notify users of subsequent changes.

6. Simple Password - We require a surname, username, password combination. Most banks require only username or account number and password. The comment about us not requiring a strong password is plain wrong. When you register you are required to choose a strong password. Ned, if you were looking at the login page when making this comment, naturally we are not going to state the password requirements on that page because if you are a legitimate registered user you already know what they are when you come to log in.

7. Personal Web Space - the security on personal webspaces (particularly free personal webspaces) is nowhere near good enough to want to put personal identity information on it. Also, the proprietors of that site then have access to your documents - who are they? Would you give your passport to a store clerk? :-)

8. Who are the people behind the company? The company is ultimately owned and operated by two experienced travellers who thought it would be a useful service. After discussing the idea with other travellers, we decided to start the company. We are both qualified engineers, both have day jobs and neither of us have criminal records.

9. Why should you trust us? Don't flatter yourselves. We are not the least bit interested in your personal details. If we wanted to steal identities, setting up a website where people can store copies of their passports online would not be a very smart move. The first place the authorities will look if someone's identity is stolen and their documents are stored on Passport Support, is at us. Because of this, it makes much more sense to store this sort of information on a site specifically designed for the purpose. Furthermore, no one in the organisation has the ability to access documents stored on the servers, so even if we wanted to there is no mechanism for your information to be stolen by someone within the company.

Hope this helps to clarify the situation. If you would like any further information please contact us on [email protected]

Eileen Sellers
02-06-2006, 07:52 AM
I'm surprised that passports don't come with bar-code scanner. Everthing else is scanned, why not your passport. It is an easy way to track coming and going.

Annette
02-06-2006, 08:26 AM
Eileen, you mean that US passports aren't barcoded? Canadian ones are, and they do scan them at the airport when checking in etc.

As for the whole online passport storage thing, I'm sorry but personally for me this is THE form of identity and I'm not giving that information to anyone that I'm not required to give it to. Period. Canadians are (supposed to be at least) somewhat paranoid about what ID should and should not be given out. I'm always amazed at the number of US things that ask for one's social security number for instance - in Canada only the government, your employer and financial institutions are allowed to ask for that information. I remember getting the lecture from more than one source to never give out my SIN number to anyone. I can't imagine being LESS concerned with my passport information than my SIN number.