The State Department released a plan earlier this year to put unencrypted, unprotected RFID chips in passports, believing naively that no one else would be interested in scanning data from those chips. After quite an uproar, the State Department agreed to rethink that plan -- and have now come out with a renewed plan that seems much more reasonable, though not perfect. They're going to include some shielding technology on the outside of the passport so that it will be nearly impossible to read the data from the passport while it's closed, along with "Basic Access Control" that gives the passport holder the ability to decide when and how to let the data out. While some complain that Basic Access Control is still unproven, this actually does seem like a reasonable compromise that helps provide the benefits of using RFIDs without the privacy risks associated with the original plan. Once again, while there is the potential for RFIDs to be misused, the real answer is to work on technological solutions to help make those misuses much more difficult, while still allowing the benefits.
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