US Government begins testing e-Passports
January 16, 2006 by Frank Beverdam Source article

The US Government has started testing the use of e-Passports at San Francisco Airport. E-Passports contain a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip which can be used to store personal data and biometric information. This data can be read by customs personnel equipped with RFID readers. However this new innovation came with a lot of controversy.

The State Department says it received a total of 2,335 comments regarding its proposal to introduce e-passports. The department categorized 98.5 percent of the comments as negative, 1 percent as positive and 0.5 percent as neutral.

The main area of concern has to do with the potential for unauthorized reading or hacking of the RFID data. Although RFID chips are supposed to have a limited readable range of just a few centimeters, tests have been conducted which suggest that the readable distance can be several meters or more under certain conditions, meaning anyone in your vicinity with an RFID reader would be able to scan your data.


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