Feeds

Rules for RFID chips in US passports

Toothbrush, travel soap, clean underwear, new passport?

Security for virtualized datacentres

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.