Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


US Travel ID to have RFID Readable at 25 feet

Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache have the story in “New RFID travel cards could pose privacy threat:”

Homeland Security has said, in a government procurement notice posted in September, that “read ranges shall extend to a minimum of 25 feet” in RFID-equipped identification cards used for border crossings. For people crossing on a bus, the proposal says, “the solution must sense up to 55 tokens.”

The notice, unearthed by an anti-RFID advocacy group, also specifies: “The government requires that IDs be read under circumstances that include the device being carried in a pocket, purse, wallet, in traveler’s clothes or elsewhere on the person of the traveler….The traveler should not have to do anything to prepare the device to be read, or to present the device for reading–i.e., passive and automatic use.”

2 comments on "US Travel ID to have RFID Readable at 25 feet"

  • Justin Mason says:

    ‘What we’re putting in the card is possibly nothing but a 96-digit serial number that is random and would do nothing but point back to a database’
    well, that and the fact that the presence of the chip indicates that the bearer is an American with a valid passport, duh.

  • AdriftAtSea says:

    Of course, there is nothing in the RFID tag that prevents someone from mugging a person carrying it for it… Unless someone is comparing the database entries to the actual people, it isn’t really adding anything in terms of authentication or security.

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