Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Q. What could this boarding pass tell an identity fraudster about you? A. Way too much:
It said Broer had flown from Brussels to London on March 15 at 7.10am on BA flight 389 in seat 03C. It also told me he was a "Gold" standard passenger and gave me his frequent-flyer number. I picked up the stub, mindful of a conversation I had had with a computer security expert two months earlier, and put it in my pocket.
If the expert was right, this stub would enable me to access Broer's personal information, including his passport number, date of birth and nationality. It would provide the building blocks for stealing his identity, ruining his future travel plans - and even allow me to fake his passport.
It would also serve as the perfect tool for demonstrating the chaotic collection, storage and security of personal information gathered as a result of America's near-fanatical desire to collect data on travellers flying to the US - and raise serious questions about the sort of problems we can expect when ID cards are introduced in 2008.