(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Passports To Get RFIDs After All... But Hopefully Shielded

from the compromises dept

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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Don Morse, Oct 25th, 2005 @ 9:47pm

    RFID info authorization release

    How about a fingerprint pad IN the passport that allows the RFID info to be released ONLY if the registered owner of the passport is holding the passport with their thumb in the ident area? This technology is available.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Ivan Sick, Oct 26th, 2005 @ 7:38am

    another useless technology

    I haven't yet seen a use for RFID tags that couldn't be handled just as capably with bar codes.
    RFID is a good idea for theft prevention/recovery, on the consumer side, and maybe for shopping carts too. But with a top-down distribution, what is the advantage (besides tracking--which is probably far more bad than good)?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Freedster, Oct 26th, 2005 @ 8:26am

    No Subject Given

    So, can I go get myself a lead-lined passport wallet, or will that be made illegal?

    - Freed

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2005 @ 11:54am

    Use a non broadcast method.

    The problem with RFID is that if theives have a RFID reader nearby when I am asked to open my password then thieves get the data too.

    [In 5 years might we assume that we will be asked for this instead of a drivers licence as ID!?]

    Gee! This sounds like the Credit Card ID theft problem all over again. (where swiping the card twice gotthe data!) BUT with RFID
    you can have a passive sniffer.

    A better idea might be a shielded IRed link so
    only one person can read the info.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    William C Bonner, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 7:09am

    Lead Film Bags

    Years ago when I traveled with film cameras I used to carry my film in a soft lead bag. I guess that I should go find some of those, and start distributing them, just so that I'mnot the only one going through the security checkpoints with very opaque objects in his carry on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Ben McNelly, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 9:58am

    No Subject Given

    Now this could help on security and cutting down on falsified or forged documents, but I am sure it will not be hard for terrorist to hack these and of course if your just scanning one, then your printing of the forgery will not need be as acurate... Swipe, beep, done. Who is going to argue with the scanner? Is that helping security???

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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