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23 July 2019

The downside of RFID passports in the United States

rfid sniffer 150x150 The downside of RFID passports in the United States United States federal and state officials are recommending citizens keep their RFID-embedded e-passports and enhanced driver’s licenses in special sleeves designed to deter readers.  The alloy sleeves that comes with the documents ensure that RFID tag information doesn’t slip out where it’s possible they can be picked up by RFID readers.  While the State Department says that there isn’t any practical use for the information anyways, it’s still an issue of privacy.

Experiments have shown that when the sleeves are opened up as little as a half an inch, RFID tag information can be read.  Yet it seems many Americans choose to not use the sleeves.  Other experiments have revealed more drastic consequences.

A mobile security company, Flexilis, was able to detonate a bomb placed in a trash can when a dummy carrying a partially open RFID passport approached.  Whether or not government organizations can read RFID tagging from satellites or other communications technologies is another concern.

Worried about your privacy yet?

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