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New Yorkers to pay for RFID in driving licences

Only $30 to get tagged

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New York drivers will have the option, from June next year, of paying an additional $30 to have an RFID tag embedded in their driving licence, allowing them to cross nearby borders without recourse to a passport.

The additional tag offers much the same functionality as the US Passport Card, though it's limited to borders with Canada, Mexico the Caribbean and Bermuda, and can't be used for air travel. But while the Passport Card will set you back $45 the functionality can be added to the driving licence for only $30 on top of the usual $50 fee.

The tag will only include an identification number - to allay privacy fears - and will be shipped out in a protective sleeve to prevent miscreants reading the data in transit.

Once in a punter's pocket the data will be much easier to read, but the DMV is keen to emphasise that the number would be meaningless to anyone except Homeland Security agents. One has to assume though that would include their overseas equivalents.

It's clearly unthinkable that a miscreant might find it easier to replay the RFID transmission, having lifted the number from a passing American, than to forge a physical passport, and equally certain that border police won't come to rely on the bleeping machine that tells them the numbers are all clean rather than visually checking documents properly. So that's all OK then. ®

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