Wednesday, October 26, 2005

state department to put rfid tags in passports

As reported on April 6, 2005 on westhamlet, the U.S. State Department was proposing putting rfid tags in passports. It was announced yesterday that rfid tags will be issued in passports in October 2006. The U.S. State Department reported that the International Civil Aviation Organization had outlined electronic guidelines for passports to aid in security.

The Bush administration could face an eventual legal challenge. A letter to the State Department from privacy groups (PDF here) says there is "no statutory authority" for the RFID passport because Congress has not authorized it. Over the last year, opposition to the idea of implanting RFID chips in passports has grown amidst worries that identity thieves could snatch personal information out of the air simply by aiming a high-powered antenna at a person or a vehicle carrying a passport.

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