Saturday, April 09, 2005

Kill Me...I'm American!

If current plans to put RFID tags in passports go through, that t-shirt with the maple-leaf logo may not be enough to hide your shame when you're traveling in a country that BushCo has alienated (i.e., anywhere and everywhere).

Defense Tech quotes Bruce Schneier on the dangers of RFID-equipped passports:

"Unfortunately, RFID chips can be read by any reader, not just the ones at passport control. The upshot of this is that travelers carrying around RFID passports are broadcasting their identity. Think about what that means for a minute. It means that passport holders are continuously broadcasting their name, nationality, age, address and whatever else is on the RFID chip. It means that anyone with a reader can learn that information, without the passport holder's knowledge or consent. It means that pickpockets, kidnappers and terrorists can easily -- and surreptitiously -- pick Americans or nationals of other participating countries out of a crowd."
In addition, furthermore, and notwithstanding:
"This is a dangerous, inappropriate device to be installing in U.S. passports," says Scannell, who imagines terrorists overseas identifying Americans by their passports when picking targets to bomb. "Which cafe do we lob the grenade into? Ping, ping, ping. There are 21 Americans in there." The tags could also be used to identify people who walk into an abortion clinic, a mosque or a political meeting.
RFID tags tend to have security holes a mile wide. For instance, an enterprising youth in Baltimore cracked a car-security chip without much trouble, allowing him to make a duplicate key.

As I've argued before, this is a great wedge issue. Libertarians hate RFID, and fundies fear it's the Mark of the Beast. BushCo, needless to say, loves it to bits. A Democrat who took a firm stand against this deeply flawed technology could garner support in some unlikely places.

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