US gets RFID passports

Freedom fried

The US Department of State has started issuing passports containing RFID chips and remains confident the technology "will take security and travel facilitation to a new level".

Despite the problems with the chips - that they can be read from a distance, potentially identifying US citizens, and that they can be copied - the Department of State is confident it has done enough to make them safe.

The passport includes "metallic anti-skimming material" - tin foil, presumably. It also uses Basic Access Control technology to protect it from skimming or eavesdropping.

The chip will hold the same information as the biographic page of the actual passport - name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, date of issue and expiry, passport number, and a digital image of the holder's picture.

More details from the US Department of State here. ®

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