Feeds

Rules for RFID chips in US passports

Toothbrush, travel soap, clean underwear, new passport?

High performance access to file storage

OUT-LAW News, 26/10/2005 The US State Department on Tuesday set out rules that will govern the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in US passports. The passports, which will be piloted from December, are due to be issued in the US from October 2006, according to reports.

RFID chips consist of a microchip and a tiny antenna that transmits data from the chip to a reader. The reader is activated whenever the antenna comes into range and the data can be used to trigger an event – such as ringing up a purchase, ordering more stock or, in this case, providing identification details to border control officials.

The new plans are the latest stage of the US administration’s campaign to increase internal security, and will complement requirements that EU citizens, who are currently entitled to enter the US without a visa, will be obliged to obtain a visa from October next year unless they hold a biometrically-enabled passport.

The system is designed to follow the biometric standardisation developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) – a UN-level body that acts on behalf of governments to create international standards for airline navigation, safety and security – in 2003. This provides that the initial international biometric standard for passports is facial mapping, although additional biometrics such as fingerprinting can be included.

But there have been difficulties in developing the technology quickly, and the US has decided to preempt matters by insisting that all US passports issued from next October contain an RFID chip, to which fingerprints or iris scans can be added later.

The chip, according to reports, will contain the usual details printed in the passport, together with a digital photograph.

In order to counter fears that the chipped passports will allow holders to be tracked or to fall prey to identity thieves, the State Department has announced that the covers of the passport will contain an anti-skimming device to block casual access. It also proposes a security system that will ensure that the chips only provide the data to recognised readers.

Meanwhile, EU citizens will find it more difficult to enter the US as from today – the date from which passports issued in the EU must contain a digital photograph if their holders wish to be able to enter the US without a visa. Passports issued before today will still be valid for visa-less entry.

According to reports, the requirement is likely to affect travellers from France, Italy and Austria, countries which have not yet put the appropriate systems fully in place. The UK Passport Office is already able to issue passports containing a digital photo.

Copyright © 2005, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.