MAYBE IT’S TIME TO GO BACK TO CASH AND JOIN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS who refuse to hold a passport.
Bruce Schneier reports on these new RFID passports (that’s radio frequency identification chips in your passport) that continually broadcast your personal information to whatever reader picks up the signal.
RFID chips are like smart cards, but they can be read from a distance. A receiving device can “talk” to the chip remotely, without any need for physical contact, and get whatever information is on it. Passport officials envision being able to download the information on the chip simply by bringing it within a few centimeters of a reader.
Unfortunately, RFID chips can be read by any reader, not just the ones at passport control. The upshot of this is that anyone carrying around an RFID passport is broadcasting his identity.
Here’s more, and more, on the Ashcroftian nightmare that we seem to be sleep-walking towards.
I’m concerned enough about credit cards, cell phones, and all the other digital fingerprints I leave in nearly everything I do. I’m going to Geneva tonight — and while I don’t have a broadcasting chip in my passport yet — this deterioration of privacy is weighing on me.
Thanks to Nigel for forwarding this.
— Steve Clemons