Feeds

US rolls out 'Vicinity RFID' to check IDs in moving vehicles

From 20-30 feet. But your data is safe, honest...

Top three mobile application threats

RFID technology that allows the remote identification of travellers in moving vehicles is being rolled out at US land border crossings this month. Crossing points with Canada at Blaine, and with Mexico at Nogales, came online last week, with Buffalo, Detroit and San Ysidro to follow, and a total of 39 planned.

The system uses the US PASSport (People, Access Security Service) card, which is intended to operate within the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) for US citizens entering the US via land and sea ports. Using "Vicinity RFID" it can read the cards from a healthy skimming distance of 20-30 feet, but according to the Department of Homeland Security this isn't a problem. The RFID chip on the card doesn't contain any personal information, only a unique identification number, and skimmers wouldn't have access to the data the number matches up with.

The system is intended to work like this. As a vehicle approaches the border post, the numbers of the cards inside it are read, and pictures and data on the holders are called up from a database. Then, presumably, the immigration officers check the faces of the passengers to make sure they match, and bust any who happen to be flagged as terrorists or loose criminals.

In addition to the PASSport card, some US states are beginning to issue Enhanced Driver's Licence/ID cards (EDL/ID), which have the PASSport RFID functionality added to a standard driver's license. These can also be used for land or sea entry to the US, but neither variety of card is valid elsewhere, or for WHTI air travel into the US. Obviously, they'd only be of any use at anybody else's border post if there were compatible readers there, and if the US had kindly shared its ID database with the relevant country.

So it's an internal passport system, one that's entirely incompatible with the biometric ID system that the US has gone to such pains to get the world to adopt. Were they only kidding, then? ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
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
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
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.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.