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View Full Version : RFID in your passport... This is a *really* bad idea, IMO.


jAZ
10-25-2005, 07:18 PM
Let's please not make this political.

http://news.com.com/Passports+to+get+RFID+chip+implants/2100-7348-5913644.html?part=dht&tag=ntop&tag=nl.e433

Passports to get RFID chip implants
By Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Published: October 25, 2005, 12:12 PM PDT
Last modified: October 25, 2005, 1:45 PM PDT

All U.S. passports will be implanted with remotely readable computer chips starting in October 2006, the Bush administration has announced.

Sweeping new State Department regulations issued Tuesday say that passports issued after that time will have tiny radio frequency ID (RFID) chips that can transmit personal information including the name, nationality, sex, date of birth, place of birth and digitized photograph of the passport holder. Eventually, the government contemplates adding additional digitized data such as "fingerprints or iris scans."

Over the last year, opposition to the idea of implanting RFID chips in passports has grown amidst worries that identity thieves could snatch personal information out of the air simply by aiming a high-powered antenna at a person or a vehicle carrying a passport. Out of the 2,335 comments on the plan that were received by the State Department this year, 98.5 percent were negative. The objections mostly focused on security and privacy concerns.

But the Bush administration chose to go ahead with embedding 64KB chips in future passports, citing a desire to abide by "globally interoperable" standards devised by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency. Other nations, including the United Kingdom and Germany, have announced similar plans.

In regulations published Tuesday, the State Department claims it has addressed privacy concerns. The chipped passports "will not permit 'tracking' of individuals," the department said. "It will only permit governmental authorities to know that an individual has arrived at a port of entry--which governmental authorities already know from presentation of non-electronic passports--with greater assurance that the person who presents the passport is the legitimate holder of the passport."

To address Americans' concerns about ID theft, the Bush administration said the new passports will be outfitted with "antiskimming material" in the front cover to "mitigate" the threat of the information being surreptitiously scanned from afar. It's not clear, though, how well the technique will work against high-powered readers that have been demonstrated to read RFID chips from about 160 feet away.

"The shielding in the passport is a physical device that basically, when the passport cover is closed, it's very difficult to read the chip," a State Department official, who did not wish to be identified by name, said Tuesday. The official was unable to provide details about the material's composition. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which has been working to evaluate the chip's vulnerability to skimming, was unable to provide further information on Tuesday.

Privacy advocates told CNET News.com that the anti-skimming device was a decent start. But if the cover of the passport happens to be open, all bets are off, said Bill Scannell, a privacy advocate who founded the site RFIDkills.com. "They've built little baby radio stations into peoples' passports and covered it with concrete," he said, "but when the little hatch is open, you can still hear the music."

"It's better than nothing," Scannell went on, "but why take this risk?"

In addition, the passports will use "Basic Access Control," a reference to storing a pair of secret cryptographic keys in the chip inside. The concept is simple: The RFID chip disgorges its contents only after a reader successfully authenticates itself as being authorized to receive that information.

Previous Next Computer scientists, however, have criticized that encryption method as flawed. In a recent paper (PDF here), RSA Laboratories' Ari Juels, and University of California's David Molnar and David Wagner, warned that the design of the encryption keys is insufficiently secure. They said that the use of a "single fixed key" for the lifetime of the e-passport creates a vulnerability.

The Bush administration could face an eventual legal challenge. A letter to the State Department from privacy groups (PDF here) says there is "no statutory authority" for the RFID passport because Congress has not authorized it.

"Our point is, whatever Congress may have meant in giving the State Department authority to issue passports was probably to issue passports that were like the old passports," said Lee Tien, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which co-authored the comments. "But at some point you are doing something that is significantly different, which should probably require some sort of additional congressional authorization. The argument is how broadly does that authority go, and honestly, it's something no one knows."

Reaper16
10-25-2005, 07:20 PM
Time to get a passport right now; I want no part of this microchip s***.

jAZ
10-25-2005, 07:27 PM
...the government contemplates adding additional digitized data such as "fingerprints or iris scans."
You know, I'm not afraid of technology... far from it. And I'm even ok with creating a centralized resource for tracking some of my medical history... I think such a database could be amazingly valuable. I'm also cool with RFID... hell I'd love to use it for inventory tracking/auditing at my company.

At the same time, I don't trust the general public to not try to hack this chip's encryption and start using all of the personal data (my fingerprints!!!???!).

The argument that this wireless/broadcast techology is *safe* is totally bogus. There's plenty of opportunity for cracking such a device, and tons of temptation for trying.

Keep RFID the hell away from anything with such personally identifable information. That's just stupid, IMO.

Fairplay
10-25-2005, 07:28 PM
Unfortunately, you have to look into the future of what is inevitable.

Will there be more 9-11's, or something similar to it? I say yes, more then likely. If monitoring people coming into the country means microchips then the congress would be likely to support it in that case.

Each time incidents happen the growing need and public support for big brother type actions will grow.
One thing i say needs attention to it is tightening the border at Mexico.

WilliamTheIrish
10-25-2005, 07:28 PM
Bad idea.

If I were strolling along the streets of Dublin any fairly advanced tech would know I'm an American just by pointing an antenna at me.

It would make Americans traveling abroad more susceptible to danger. (IMO)

Now, if they want to implant chips in passports of foreign people ENTERING the country.... that's another story.

KC Jones
10-25-2005, 07:32 PM
Bad idea.

If I were strolling along the streets of Dublin any fairly advanced tech would know I'm an American just by pointing an antenna at me.

It would make Americans traveling abroad more susceptible to danger. (IMO)

Now, if they want to implant chips in passports of foreign people ENTERING the country.... that's another story.

Not to mention stealing identities.

This is a terrible idea.

jAZ
10-25-2005, 07:40 PM
Bad idea.

If I were strolling along the streets of Dublin any fairly advanced tech would know I'm an American just by pointing an antenna at me.

It would make Americans traveling abroad more susceptible to danger. (IMO)

Now, if they want to implant chips in passports of foreign people ENTERING the country.... that's another story.
I didn't even think of that... Funny thing is that it sounds like they are trying to comply with an international agreement/standard. That suggests that other countries will be doing the same thing (which would accomplish what you say your OK with), but my guess is that if the US pulled out of such an agreement, the other countries would act similarly... thus killing the entire project.

The only winning move is not to play the game.

WilliamTheIrish
10-25-2005, 07:52 PM
I didn't even think of that... Funny thing is that it sounds like they are trying to comply with an international agreement/standard. That suggests that other countries will be doing the same thing (which would accomplish what you say your OK with), but my guess is that if the US pulled out of such an agreement, the other countries would act similarly... thus killing the entire project.

The only winning move is not to play the game.

Oh man. I never even looked at it in that context, and I read the whole article. You're right. There has to be a better way than RFID.

ChiefsGirl
10-25-2005, 07:57 PM
Can't they just implant it under the skin so I don't even have to carry it around?

WilliamTheIrish
10-25-2005, 07:58 PM
How would they track me if I took a ball peen hammer, covered my passport with a magazine and wailed on it?

Better be a tough li'l chip.

WilliamTheIrish
10-25-2005, 07:58 PM
Can't they just implant it under the skin so I don't even have to carry it around?

Wouldn't it slough off after a while?

Donger
10-25-2005, 08:06 PM
No big deal, IMO. There are ways to block RF. Now, when they start requiring subcutaneous RFID, that's different story.

Donger
10-25-2005, 08:07 PM
Wouldn't it slough off after a while?

No. It's basically the same technology that you get when one "microchips" their pet.

the Talking Can
10-25-2005, 08:07 PM
every citizen will tracked everywhere, eventually.....enjoy the last days of your illusory freedom....all in the name of "keeping us safe"

CosmicPal
10-25-2005, 08:12 PM
Out of the 2,335 comments on the plan that were received by the State Department this year, 98.5 percent were negative. The objections mostly focused on security and privacy concerns.

But the Bush administration chose to go ahead with embedding 64KB chips in future passports

98.5 percent objected, and you don't want to make this a political thread?

Sneaking into our privacy has never been anything new with our goverment. Each year, they take a little bit of our privacy away from us until we essentially become nothing more than mere public properties for everyone to view.

What upsets me about this is not so much about the privacy issue, but the thing we lost most- our freedom.

Boozer
10-25-2005, 08:13 PM
If you have nothing to hide, you have no reason to worry.

the Talking Can
10-25-2005, 08:18 PM
If you have nothing to hide, you have no reason to worry.


oh dear god...........

Boozer
10-25-2005, 08:23 PM
oh dear god...........

Sorry, should have included the [/sarcasm] tag.

Calcountry
10-25-2005, 08:25 PM
Can't they just implant it under the skin so I don't even have to carry it around?Why not make it to where you can't buy or sell without it? Then we could catch all the dead beat dads, crooks who sell drugs, tax cheats, oh did I mention terrorists?

Calcountry
10-25-2005, 08:27 PM
It sure would make it easy to round up the Jews this time. Heck, why don't we just kill all the Christians while were at it? We don't need them killjoys messing with our lives anymore.

CosmicPal
10-25-2005, 08:29 PM
It sure would make it easy to round up the Jews this time. Heck, why don't we just kill all the Christians while were at it? We don't need them killjoys messing with our lives anymore.

Ewwww, I'm telling the goverment on you!

Oh wait, they already know.

:D

unlurking
10-25-2005, 09:21 PM
As a regular DC attendee, all I can say is thank you.

http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2005/07/_defcon_rfid_wo.html

There are wallets that muffle the range, which means only the masses will be vulnerable.

plbrdude
10-25-2005, 09:37 PM
It sure would make it easy to round up the Jews this time. Heck, why don't we just kill all the Christians while were at it? We don't need them killjoys messing with our lives anymore.



it's coming to that.

Simplex3
10-25-2005, 09:41 PM
every citizen will tracked everywhere, eventually.....enjoy the last days of your illusory freedom....all in the name of "keeping us safe"
"As long as you aren't doing anything illegal what do you care?"


I may well shoot the next f**ker that says that to me.

Simplex3
10-25-2005, 09:42 PM
What upsets me about this is not so much about the privacy issue, but the thing we lost most- our freedom.
What upsets me the most is that we're surrounded by people too stupid to see it happening and too apathetic to care.

Boozer
10-25-2005, 09:46 PM
"As long as you aren't doing anything illegal what do you care?"


I may well shoot the next f**ker that says that to me.

Eh, just tell him to put up or shut up. Ask to rummage through his house. If he doesn't have anything to hide, why should he object? STFU