U.S. Rethinking RFID Passports

26 Apr ’05

Wired has a story on the U.S. State Department rethinking its RFID passport plans in response to criticism by security professionals and civil libertarians.

Following criticism from computer security professionals and civil libertarians about the privacy risks posed by new RFID passports the government plans to begin issuing, a State Department official said his office is reconsidering a privacy solution it rejected earlier that would help protect passport holders’ data.

The solution would require an RFID reader to provide a key or password before it could read data embedded on an RFID passport’s chip. It would also encrypt data as it’s transmitted from the chip to a reader so that no one could read the data if they intercepted it in transit.

Frank Moss, deputy assistant secretary for passport services, told Wired News on Monday that the government was “taking a very serious look” at the privacy solution in light of the 2,400-plus comments the department received about the e-passport rule and concerns expressed last week in Seattle by participants at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference. Moss said recent work on the passports conducted with the National Institute of Standards and Technology had also led him to rethink the issue.

Via BNA’s Internet Law News.

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