FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

US Government Begins Issuing E-Passports

Uncle Sam has begun issuing passports with embedded RFID tags, piloting the rollout with diplomatic passports, and moving on to passports for the general citizenry later this year. Since January 1, the US Government has issued 300 e-passports.

The RFID tags contain the name, gender, birth date, place of birth, and a digitized photo of the passport holder. Because they contain such personal information, e-passports are controversial because critics contend that the tags can be cracked and their information read surreptitiously. However, according to the US State Department's website outlining the US Electronic Passport, the e-passports are "protected from alteration by the latest digital signature technology" and that they "will not issue passports incorporating integrated circuits until privacy-related concerns have been addressed." The State Department "will share more information about these measures once testing is completed."

Source: RFID Update