Monday, April 04, 2005

Passports and RFIDs do not mix!

Passport Chip Criticism Grows
Business travel groups, security experts and privacy advocates are looking to derail a government plan to insert remotely readable chips in American passports, calling the chips homing devices for high-tech muggers, identity thieves and even terrorists.

But the U.S. State Department, which plans to start issuing the new passports to citizens later this year, says its critics are overstating the risks. Officials say that the chips will cut down on passport forgery, improve security and speed up border crossings.

The State Department is also adding technical features to prevent the radio-frequency identification devices, or RFID chips, in new passports from being "skimmed" by unauthorized readers, according to Frank Moss, the deputy assistant secretary for passport services at the State Department...

They can't be serious! Even with that much opposition and security concerns, and they're still pushing for RFID chips when there are cheaper alternatives like bar codes or physical contact chips? I liken it to sending one's credit card number over the internet to a non-secure web server. If Singapore follows suit, I'll be travelling around with an aluminium foil wrapped around my passport!

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