From the BBC News site:
Microchips in Britain’s new ePassports only have two-year warranties, a National Audit Office report says. They are so new, no-one knows how long they will last, or how the scanners reading them will work, the NAO said. Public Accounts Committee chairman Edward Leigh said the fact they had a two-year warranty, when passports were kept for 10 years, was “most worrying”.
Hmmm: what will come first? The first successful and widescale hacking of the data on the chips, or their disintegration on the card? What happens when the chip starts to malfunction – will it give a false negative at passport control? And I wonder if anyone has done realistic time trials? Even adding a second to the time it currently takes an official to check your passport manually, will lead to substantially longer queues, as has been witnessed in every introduction of chip-based identification and where queues are involved.
More importantly,however – will it actually do its job?