Tuesday, March 16, 2004


If any of you are not familiar with the Data Protection practises abroad, it is very strict. I can give you an example. My wife had to give a test with our GP hospital. I handed over the sample at the hospital and enquired about the results. They promptly turned me down saying they will not discuss anything about the patient with anyone else including patient’s husband. The same applies to almost all these kind of practises. If you are calling your bank or any other such establishments, (over phone) there will be a minimum of 3 security questions asked to check your credentials. This is just the background information. Now coming to the point, my parents have applied for passport recently with the Trichy passport office. As I knew that I can check the status of their application in internet, I eagerly got their file reference number to check the same. I was thrilled to see that service offered in the internet for status check. It asks for the file reference number, year of applying, city. After entering all these what you get the information about the applicant – Name, Date of application, Date of Birth and ofcourse the status. (and DOB is one of the general security questions abroad)

Coming to the ridiculous part – knowing my parents file number, the software curiosity in me compelled to try other numbers just incrementing the whole series. To my shock I am now able to see a whole lot of peoples details (mind it all these are about Passport details) including when the passport was despatched.
Try this series A11150(and a additional last digit - anynumber) . This is the link for the site. Now guessing that huge number of applications are made every year…you can guess this series for the whole year as it’s just a running number.

Why this is ridiculous? Any criminal can closely follow the status of the profile that they want. The site gives the postal registration number also in the status when the passport is despatched. Now being criminal they can have an ally or bribe someone at Trichy head post office to track this registration number and find out the address its been despatched to. Now isit difficult to shift to the destination address and prepare some false identifications and pick the passport from the destination post office?

Isit possible or isit just my pessimistic hoopla?

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