Thursday, October 21, 2004

American Passports to Get Chipped

Wired News is reporting that the next generation of US passports will be "chipped" using RFID technology:

Wired News: American Passports to Get Chipped:

"...The RFID passport works like a high-tech version of the children's game 'Marco Polo.' A reader speaks out the equivalent of 'Marco' on a designated frequency. The chip then channels that radio energy and echoes back with an answer.

But instead of simply saying 'Polo,' the 64 Kb chip will say the passport holder's name, address, date and place of birth, and send along a digital photograph.

While none of the information on the chip is encrypted, the chip does also broadcast a digital signature that verifies the chip itself was created by the government. Security experts said the U.S. government decided not to encrypt the data because of the risks involved in sharing the method of decryption with other countries.... "

And thus is born the aluminum-lined password holder industry.

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