1/15/2006

US Government begins testing e-Passports

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 11:46 am

This weekend marks the beginning of a three-month-long test run on the use of e-Passports at San Francisco Airport. E-Passports contain a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip inside the binding which can be used to store personal data and biometric information for retrieval by customs personnel equipped with RFID readers. As is often the case, increased technological tracking carries with it a supply of controversy.

The State Department says it received a total of 2,335 comments regarding its proposal to introduce e-passports. The department categorized 98.5 percent of the comments as negative, 1 percent as positive and 0.5 percent as neutral.

The main area of concern has to do with the potential for unauthorized reading or hacking of the RFID data. Although RFID chips are supposed to have a limited readable range of just a few centimeters, tests have been conducted which suggest that the readable distance can be several meters or more under certain conditions, meaning anyone in your vicinity with an RFID reader would be able to scan your data.

Source: arstechnica.com

 

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