Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chips in official IDs raise privacy fears

In this April 10, 2009. photo, Chris Paget, a self-described "ethical hacker," sits in the back of his car with electronic equipment seeking information from imbedded radio frequency identification, or RFID chips as people pass him along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (Eric Risberg - AP)

The Associated Press
Sunday, July 12, 2009; 6:10 AM

-- Climbing into his Volvo, outfitted with a Matrics antenna and a Motorola reader he'd bought on eBay for $190, Chris Paget cruised the streets of San Francisco with this objective: To read the identity cards of strangers, wirelessly, without ever leaving his car.

It took him 20 minutes to strike hacker's gold.

Zipping past Fisherman's Wharf, his scanner downloaded to his laptop the unique serial numbers of two pedestrians' electronic U.S. passport cards embedded with radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags. Within an hour, he'd "skimmed" four more of the new, microchipped PASS cards from a distance of 20 feet.

Increasingly, government officials are promoting the chipping of identity documents as a 21st century application of technology that will help speed border crossings, safeguard credentials against counterfeiters, and keep terrorists from sneaking into the country.

But Paget's February experiment demonstrated something privacy advocates had feared for years: That RFID, coupled with other technologies, could make people trackable without their knowledge.

He filmed his heist, and soon his video went viral on the Web, intensifying a debate over a push by government, federal and state, to put tracking technologies in identity documents and over their potential to erode privacy. FULL STORY

Cloning passport card RFIDs in bulk for under $250

Have you called your Senators today to INSTRUCT them

to cosponsor S. 604, Federal Reserve Sunshine Act,


and OPPOSE Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor?

The Senate Switchboard number is: (202) 224-3121 or toll free at 1-888-355-3588 or 1-888-818-6641

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