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Passport Chip Could Attract High-Tech Muggers

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the what,-no-trust? dept.

Privacy 348

Orangez writes "Wired.com reports that 'business travel groups, security experts and privacy advocates are looking to derail a government plan to insert remotely readable chips in American passports, calling the chips homing devices for high-tech muggers, identity thieves and even terrorists.' and that 'The 64-KB chips will include the information from the photo page of the passport, including name, date of birth and a digitized form of the passport picture.'"

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Tin foil wrapper (5, Funny)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101278)

Someone is going to need a faraday cage.

Re:Tin foil wrapper (0, Offtopic)

buzban (227721) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101359)

OFFTOPIC?! This is brilliant...we'll all need little foil baggies. Mods, please...

Re:Tin foil wrapper (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101627)


I think I'm going to expand our line of geekwear from tinfoil hats to reselling designer jeans with wire mesh sewn into the pockets.

Can you guess what country I'm from? ;)

Solution (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101282)

Kill all muggers.

When will people realise that remotely readable... (4, Insightful)

tquinlan (868483) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101286)

...means just that?

If they government can read it for legitimate purposes, other people can read it for illegitimate purposes.

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (0, Redundant)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101308)

Unfortunately, some people have confused "security" with "track everyone, everywhere."

lol...you = modbombed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101442)

looked at your post history...keep it up mods! modbomb this asshole into oblivion

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (2, Insightful)

AT-SkyWalker (610033) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101320)

I guess you won't have to loose your passport anymore for a terrorrist to make a copy or something.

They can just sit at the door of the airport and scan everybody comming in and out ! Without you even knowing so you won't report it !

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (0, Offtopic)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101345)

I'd be qualified for your job... I'm gussing from your homepage that it's in NY... Whats the pay range?

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (2, Informative)

temojen (678985) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101379)

I don't see why they didn't just burn it (cryptographically signed) onto a business card sized CD inserted into a pocket of the passport folder. If they used a standardised format (XML+TIFF+GPG signed) then any country could read it without fancy equipment, and noone could make a counterfit.

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (4, Insightful)

EvilSporkMan (648878) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101502)

Can you imagine debating with foreign officials whether your CD is fake or it's just scratched?

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (4, Informative)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101547)

Because it would be illegal to export encryption of that strength. It does not matter if the other nation already has the technology.

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (1)

gibson_81 (135261) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101666)

Eh? Doesn't that export ban just cover algorithms to encrypt/decrypt/verify? Does it also cover encrypted data? Please enlighten me ...

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (4, Insightful)

HMA2000 (728266) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101398)

It should be combined with a biometric measurement. I understand the privacy people don't like it but identity is becoming increasingly important and a "peice of paper" just isn't going to cut it for much longer.

Why biometrics are bad: (4, Informative)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101451)

Posted today at the BBC [bbc.co.uk]

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101602)

Keeping people from stealing your identity is important. The governments of the world being able to track you and being able to verify your identity is not as important as your right to not be tracked or identified.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to not want people to be able to identify you. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to circumvent the system as well.

At what point did the unwilling martyrs at the twin towers win the balance against the millions of lives willing sacrificed so that we could taste freedom? It wouldn't matter if planes were crashed into building every day, it is no reason to take away freedom.

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101435)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Terri Schiavo was found dead in her Florida hospice room this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure the Slashdot community will miss her, even if you didn't realize she was just a meat poster for the religious right in the US and this kind of thing happens all the time, there's no denying her contribution to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:When will people realise that remotely readable (4, Insightful)

legojenn (462946) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101654)

Don't you mean:

If the government can read it for legitimate purposes, then the government and other people can read it for illegitimate purposes.

why are travellers worried? (3, Funny)

drunken dash (804404) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101293)

If they're not terrorists, and have nothing to hide, why are they so worried about being tracked? If anything, if your passport is stolen, wouldn't you rather have the chip in there to track it?

Re:why are travellers worried? (2, Insightful)

ral315 (741081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101340)

Because the government, private corporations, etc. have proven that they can't be trusted with your data. Look at universities who have lost data to theft. If a major university can have data stolen, it can be stolen from anywhere. Besides, most people who would try and get this information wouldn't need the passport itself, just the data on it. A name, date of birth, and photo can often be enough to gain more information, sometimes enough to commit fraud with.

Re:why are travellers worried? (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101349)

Who is going to get mugged, robbed or held hostage in a foreign country, someone the bad guys can tell is carrying a US passport, or someone else?

Re:why are travellers worried? (1, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101457)

I think the straw hat, the clip on sun glasses, the bermuda shorts, and the black socks worn with sandals are enough of a give away.

Re:why are travellers worried? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101351)

Do you wear a name tag with all of your personal information on your chest all day long? I'm not as threatened by governments knowing the information in my passport as much as I am worried about deviants using that information maliciously.

P.S. I don't think this was ment to be lojack for your passport

Re:why are travellers worried? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101624)

I am. I'm not aware of any worse deviants and tyrants more likely to use my information in a malicious manner than the government.

Re:why are travellers worried? (5, Insightful)

Kineticabstract (814395) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101366)

You've missed the point. The concern isn't that "big brother" is going to be watching our every move (after all, that's inevitable, and why worry about the inevitable?) the concern is that a terrorist could get your passport information simply by walking close to you with an RFID reader. It's a security nightmare to have your information freely available to anyone with the hardware to read it.

Re:why are travellers worried? (1)

thundercatslair (809424) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101567)

A terrorist? Bush has done a great job pumping fear into the public.

Re:why are travellers worried? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101591)

man you are stupid

Re:why are travellers worried? (1)

xenoandroid (696729) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101665)

Sorry but he's not, I'd feel safer if our president was less horny for dropping bombs on smaller countries.

Re:why are travellers worried? (4, Informative)

cosmo7 (325616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101649)

I had thought this was alarmist, that the information would be a set of MD5s or in the case of client-side data, public-key encrypted, but that turns out to not be the case [wired.com] . It's all naked data.

Re:why are travellers worried? (4, Insightful)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101372)

If they're not terrorists, and have nothing to hide, why are they so worried about being tracked? If anything, if your passport is stolen, wouldn't you rather have the chip in there to track it?

Because terrorists/kidnappers can set up a remote reader to look specifically for people carrying this type or passport. Kidnapers can use it to find people from specific other contries that they think are richer than they are and ransom them off for big bucks. Terrorists can use it to find people from specific nationalities. Bin Laden said to kill all americans everywhere, not just americans in the US. This gives them a leg up in finding people carrying around their passports when overseas.

That said, if they go through with this, they definitely need to build in a faraday cage into the passport case.

Re:why are travellers worried? (1)

220040DeltaLima (870261) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101399)

If anything, if your passport is stolen, wouldn't you rather have the chip in there to track it?

Well ... if I installed the chip myself, that would be one thing, but having compulsory chip installation as set up and monitored by the government is clearly a violation of property rights. The government would be forcing me to do what they want with my private property.

Re:why are travellers worried? (3, Informative)

tomcio.s (455520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101515)

The government would be forcing me to do what they want with my private property.

Any passport issued in any country is not your property. It's the property of the issueing government.

In Canada, even our health cards carry that infomation on the back. It says 'card is property of Minitsty of Health, issued to be used by:' and your name + address.

Sorry no 'property rights violations' here. Whatever those are.

Re:why are travellers worried? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101521)

Your passport remains government property. Your government doesn't require you to get a passport (the country you're visiting requires it). Some countries (specifically Canada and Mexico) do not require you to have a passport to enter.

Re:why are travellers worried? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101458)

Human beings are funny like that. We're members of the animal kingdom and animals, for whatever natural reason, just don't like being followed or tracked unless it's by their children and/or mate or they're traveling in a coordinated herd. Attempting to rationalize a violation of basic natural psychology by invoking security isn't going to invalidate primal instincts. If mother nature has instilled us with an instinct that dislikes being tracked or followed there's probably a very good reason for it. It's probably because, whatever the rationalization is, the truth is that animals track and follow prey. Very rarely is the stranger following you interested solely in your welfare for no selfish reason of their own.

Stalking is illegal for a reason. Even if no physical contact is ever made it constitutes harassment. Harassment leads to a degradation of the quality of life, poor performance at work, and after extended periods of time can lead to a psychological breakdown. Creating a population of paranoid schizophrenics isn't all bad. Once they come apart at the seams we can lock them in a cell with a bicycle and use them to produce energy, thus breaking our dependence on oil and negating the need for nuclear fuel. It'll also solve the overpopulation problem if we keep the sexes separated. In the end it'll allow some members of the population, who aren't being harassed or seem to be immune to natural instincts (are they even human then?), to live a life of leisure using the energy of those we have harassed and then locked up.

American detector (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101467)

People love to rob and kill americans overseas..

unless you like to vacation in other countries with expensive stuff. You are a walking target...

I am sure people would love to have a american detector

Re:why are travellers worried? (1)

syrinje (781614) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101574)

dunno what you've been smoking, but I suppose its not too late to point out that RFID chips are useless to tarck a lost elephant, much less a lost or stolen passport.

Re:why are travellers worried? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101652)

wow you didnt even read the article summar or the FUCKING TITLE.

idiot

Big deal. (1, Funny)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101297)


High tech crooks already have money-sniffing machines.

C'mon, is there nothing we shouldn't be scared of in the known Universe, I mean .. everything is 'out to get us', you know. Decay is the natural order.

Its like, we have to be reminded of this, every single time someone has an axe to grind.

and they think it's a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101302)

so they just have to steal my picture and information, change the picture to them and walk on through...why does this sound like a bad idea?

security (5, Interesting)

zerkon (838861) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101314)

the article states having a barcode or some other form of security that must actually be read, how about encrypting the data on the rfid and putting the key on the barcode?

just a thought

Re:security (1)

Metapsyborg (754855) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101337)

They should put the barcode on your neck or wrist.

Re:security (0)

ral315 (741081) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101368)

Even encryption on RFID has flaws, remember.

Re:security (1)

tom's a-cold (253195) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101590)

This is more akin to a vulnerability to hostile traffic analysis than to flat-out identity theft.

If you have anything on you that can be used remotely to identify you as a USian, your personal security has been compromised, even if the specific details aren't available. In that case, the mere presence of the chip provides a hostile party with information that can be used to make you a victim.

Even if the information on the RFID chip is encrypted, it will respond to a query by returning the encrypted block of information. Now here's a scenario. You are Johnny Terrorist. You go to a crowded bar and scan the crowd. Ah! A lot of Yankee warmongering devils in there! Target-rich environment! Mayhem ensues.

Sounds like another intrusive plan that enables repression and has negative side-effects without doing much to address the problem it purports to solve. So who's selling the chips and how much did they donate to the Republicans?

Re:security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101625)

I just have one question: what the hell is a USian?

hmm... (3, Interesting)

catbertscousin (770186) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101319)

Now they don't even have to steal my passport before they can use all my info. That's an improvement. If I get a new passport, I think I'll carry it in an aluminum foil pouch.

Aus Passe (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101326)

Opponents also argue that the lack of encryption, which Moss said would slow down the processing of passports, adds another vulnerability.

I don't get it. I mean, they State Dept. could easily have a reader connected to a network which passes along some hash which is stored on the card, to a server which would verify what passport they should be looking at. Slow? Wtf kind of technology are they using where 64K of stuff would take any time?

"Only contractors who sign up to our foreign policy will be allowed to bid -- We welcome your bid, Halliburton Vacuum Tube Company!"

Re:Aus Passe (1)

topham (32406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101501)

the lack of encryption is mind blowing.

Creating a device with a Public/Private key encryption system, creating a new key each year and supplying that key to thousands of passport readers isn't difficult.
(new key each year would mean that if a key were broken it would invalidate passports issued in that year, but it would restrict the number of keys which would have to be added to the passport devices to 1 per year. obviously if the method of adding keys were simple enough it could be possible to add a new key each month, etc..)

Authenticating the passport is far more important than encrypting all the data, but not encrypting the data is foolish.

My bet? Diabold wants to sell passport scanners but doesn't understand encryption so they want to make sure it isn't a requirement. maybe that's just me being paranoid.

Re:Aus Passe (3, Funny)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101510)

"Because 64K of memory should be enough for anybody"

Thank you...I'm here all week! (mostly due to pesky bosses)


No encryption for a reason: (1)

EvilMagnus (32878) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101623)


The passports must be easily readable by scanners in foreign countries, under local control.

Given that the scanners will be widely distributed, it seems pointless to encrypt the data. All it will do is slow down processing while the hash is validated.

Okay, I might as well post it... (3, Funny)

feloneous cat (564318) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101645)

I don't get it. I mean, they State Dept. could easily have a reader connected to a network which passes along some hash which is stored on the card, to a server which would verify what passport they should be looking at. Slow? Wtf kind of technology are they using where 64K of stuff would take any time?

Think "Windows ME".

Remember, this is the U.S. Gov.

Terri Schiavo, Vegetable, Dead at 41 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101327)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Brainless vegetable Terri Schiavo was found dead in her Florida hospice bed this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss her - even if you didn't enjoy her vegetating, there's no denying his contributions to popular media culture. Truly an American icon.

When will the learn (2, Insightful)

metoc (224422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101329)

When will these people learn that independent sober second opinions are valuable.

Years from know they will probably say "We made the best decision with the information we had at the time".

Re:When will the learn (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101383)

When will these people learn that independent sober second opinions are valuable.

When the government isn't loaded up with Neocons. I swear, in my lifetime I have never seen a federal government so sure of itself and at the same time unaccountable for it's errors.

"Oh no, I couldn't accept your resignation for a total fubar which resulted in the death of thousands. Hey, I need scapegoats!"

Another problem (4, Insightful)

nizo (81281) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101331)

Burglar goes down to airport and watches family get on a plane to Europe. He grabs your name, and from that gets your home address. Then he can go rob your house while you and family are out of town. Certainly makes scoping out houses much easier; your house could be cleaned out before you even reach your destination.

Rather pushing it... (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101507)

Burglar goes down to airport and watches family get on a plane to Europe. He grabs your name, and from that gets your home address. Then he can go rob your house while you and family are out of town. Certainly makes scoping out houses much easier; your house could be cleaned out before you even reach your destination.

Seriously, you're pushing your cred here. What kind of burglar is going to be hanging out in airports looking for departing victims? An intelligent burglar would spend more time casing a target and keeping track of comings and goings of people. The newspaper, with funerals and such, has been a wealth of information for those vile enough to rob a house when someone's at a funeral or such.

Most burglaries are probably committed without much prior planning anyway, by someone looking for an easy target. Ambitious burglars or pros would probably be slower to adopt something like finding a prospective victim at an airport, as the still have no idea who's at home or what's worth taking, as they usually already have somthing in mind, like expsensive car or piece of artwork.

Re:Another problem (3, Insightful)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101530)

Except for the fact that, at least in the US, no one without a plane ticket is allowed to pass through the security gates.

They could run their scanners in the ticketing area but they couldn't do it for long periods without looking suspicious. Guys standing around in bulky coats to hide the equipment will probably draw some notice.

Since these passport chips are claimed to have a very short range (inches) to be read, guys in bulky coats dry humping tourists trying to get a scan would draw even more notice. ;)

Sounds like the next big thing... (3, Funny)

Uptown Joe (819388) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101342)

From the folks that brought us the hacked SideKicks of Fred Durst and Paris Hilton...

Not that I have any naked pictures on my passport chip... yet.

Speaking of pictures (1)

wnissen (59924) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101531)

They have this fancy new remotely readable chip, but they are still requiring two photographs. This is despite the fact that they now print out the photo digitally, so only one is required. I bet that other photo is sitting in a filing cabinet somewhere, stapled to a random piece of paper, just waiting to be thrown out in fifteen years. Yes, our federal bureaucracy, the ultimate in efficiency!

Walt

Already a risk (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101343)

As I understand the article, these groups are concerned that RFID passports will make it possible it easily identify the nationality of American tourists. Are people having difficulty with this?

As a Canadian, I'd be sad to see Americans stop putting our flags on their backpacks in the hope that people will be fooled. It's been rather flattering.

Aluminum Foil... (1)

Jamu (852752) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101347)

...not just for your head [zapatopi.net] . It can also stop aliens (and terrorists) from reading your passport!

Blame the terrorists. (3, Insightful)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101355)

How comes that everyone trying to make a point has to include terrorist threat? Am I the only one who thinks it's a bit cheap?

Re:Blame the terrorists. (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101438)

I guess you missed the whole election that was based off of fear. Americans need to grow a brain, my countrymen are worried about something that has little chance of harming them. Over the last 5 years you have a 400x more likely chance of dying driving to work than you do of being involved in a terrorist attack. they are bad, but they are not the threat they are made out to be to an individual. i agree terrorism is bad, but the government is doing nothing that will lessen my chance of being hurt by one.

Re:Blame the terrorists. (0, Offtopic)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101609)

No, most avowed Democrats thought it was based on fear, because they couldn't admit they nominated a guy who had no coherent policy on anything important and no charisma to make up for it. I have absolutely no expectation that I will ever be the victim of a terrorist attack. That doesn't mean I don't think we should kill them all.

Hint to Democrats: nominating Northeastern limousine liberals has not worked for you since JFK. Quit doing it every time the guy from the South loses. Try some of the guys from out West - and I don't mean California.

Re:Blame the terrorists. (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101508)

The terrorists have already won.

Re:Blame the terrorists. (2, Interesting)

__int64 (811345) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101659)

"The terrorists have already won"

Exactly, because despite popular opinion they're goal is not to go out and kill every single American. Their goal is to go out and make every single American afraid of them, afraid to live their lives.

And Mission Accomplished.

They have successfully reduced my dad, into a withered old man afraid to ever leave the country, who does nothing but curse these damn 'rag-heads'. "We need more legislation and more intrusive government, cause those bastards are everywhere. They want to kill us all. So we need to get em first. Nuke those bastards. We need to kill any and all of them, cause they're all rag-heads and they all want us dead with their 'Islam'."

Who's the real terrorists again dad?

Re:Blame the terrorists. (1)

CarlinWithers (861335) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101512)

They have to use some sort of sensationalism to even get heard.

Writing sober, well researched articles gets you one thing. People's attention span runs out because they'd rather hear something sensational.

Re:Blame the terrorists. (1)

Kineticabstract (814395) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101543)

Yes, it's cheap. It's an attention-getting ploy designed to instill fear and make you pay attention to their cause.

Why's that sound so familiar? http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=terrorism / [reference.com]

That being said, it's still a valid concern.

Re:Blame the terrorists. (3, Funny)

__int64 (811345) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101555)

YES! Because terrorist are everywhere! They are outside your house, they are in the mall, they are living next door to you, and their going to GET You. Unless you give your mind and soul to the only one who can help, Big Government. Big Government can help you; He'll save you from all these nasty nasty terrorists. You just have to unquestionably follow him, do as he says blindly, and never fall out of line, because then you'll be one.

Because remember, they're everywhere. They're anyone, anyone who doesn't really believe in Big Government, anyone who is or thinks different than you, and especially anyone who is critical of Big Government!

And remember to do your part citizens in stopping these nasties! If you ever see anyone exhibiting these actions, don't forget to notify the police or the FBI so Big Government can help them.

Must be a version of Godwin's Law (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101596)

You must be either a liberal commie or a right-wing nazi (sorry, had to add in those two predictable comments also).

Hoi Polloi's Law: The time it takes before someone says that an act or an invention could be used by terrorists. Conversely, the time it takes before someone says it could be used to stop terrorists.

Re:Blame the terrorists. (3, Insightful)

Metapsyborg (754855) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101620)

Because fear has become an excellent tool that can be used to control the populace. Just look at the PATRIOT act, Iraq war, New McCarthyism etc all supported by fear.

While I'm not a big Michael Moore fan, one thing Bowling for Columbine drove home was the "media of fear" idea. He certainly beat it to death, but there's no denying the prevalence of vague fear in todays (U.S.) media and government.

Re:Blame the terrorists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101663)

What would you prefer? Blame Canada!

That word (5, Insightful)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101364)

homing devices for high-tech muggers, identity thieves and even terrorists.
There is that word again. I'm getting tired of it. :(

Re:That word (2, Insightful)

Kineticabstract (814395) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101466)

There is that word again. I'm getting tired of it.
Get used to it. This is the age of terrorism - every schmuck with a mental disorder (and yes, I place religious fanaticism firmly in that category) has the ability to kill innocents if they feel that it will draw attention to their "cause". Terrorism is the new diplomacy. It's going to get much worse before it gets better.

that word that cannot be named (2, Insightful)

tuxette (731067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101551)

Terrorists are the new Communists. And black is the new black. Get over it already!

Re:That word (1)

anonicon (215837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101617)

"There is that word again. I'm getting tired of it. :("

Me too, that's why I've begun calling them Green Pigs, 'cause you can't make Green Eggs and Ham without them.

Identity (5, Funny)

netrage_is_bad (734782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101376)

like someone would benefit from stealing my Identity. They would just inherit my debt.

I guess that's one more reason to get a passport

Re:Identity (1, Funny)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101410)

Imagine a whole underground culture of identity-trading, where people become other people for a vacation. I don't want to be me this weekend!

The Gov should slow down... (2, Insightful)

Mrs. Grundy (680212) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101390)

...and look at this for a while. They understand that who you are and where you come from can make you a target. After all, the armed forces (whose upper ranks never lose a chance to make their soldiers dress up) tell their personnel not to wear their uniforms when traveling on civilian airlines, for the very reason that people don't want RDIF tags in their passport. And it's not just nationality. Airports all have wireless connections these days so you can get a name, do a quick Google search and stand a good chance of knowing enough about the person walking by to not only pick good targets but be able to imply uncanny knowledge about them. a corp. There must be a better solution that address both the governments concerns and the privacy concerns of our citizens. It seems that somebody has just made a decision and isn't willing to back off. We should isn't they try harder.

This is a dupe - no, wait ... (4, Interesting)

Redshift (7411) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101406)

Re:This is a dupe - no, wait ... (2, Funny)

ALeavitt (636946) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101533)

Well, if you're the average /.er, it's sitting right there in your right hand.

Re:This is a dupe - no, wait ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12101595)

So .. can anyone find Sex for me?
I'll get back to you after I find it for myself.

64KB... (1)

__int64 (811345) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101407)

May really not be enough for everyone, but it's sure as hell enough for terrorists and/or high-tech muggers!

IM me when encryption is unbreakable (1)

amichalo (132545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101432)

IAN a security expert, but I have seen enough reports of encryption being broken or circumvented in a matter of days (see DVD Jon as a recent example).

Something as valuable as one's identity should not be left up to a series of 1's and 0's to determine.

This leaves me looking to the Creator (that would be God to me) for an answer.

We already have a biometric key - called our DNA - that uniquely identifies our physiology (except in the case of identical twins - and perhaps triples+ but I don't know because IAN a doctor either).

Can DNA be spoofed? not as far as I know - though perhaps with a bone marrow transplant one could change their bloods DNA - but not the DNA of their entire body.

My point, to get backnon topic, is that I don't trust any electronic device to be secure or reliable 100% of the time to identify me, my where abouts, or for that matter, my finances.

I hope this type of electronic identifier doesn't make it out of the R&D phase.

Re:IM me when encryption is unbreakable (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101582)

Encryption is never unbreakable as you can always brute force the key. This is essentially the only way to do it nowadays as even the shorcuts and holes in PGP and the rest maybe speed up the time by 1% (if that). So what is left is to make sure that the information can not be bruteforced in a reasonable amount of time. We have that technology and capability.

As for DNA. Yes, identical twins and triplets and so on have identical DNA. As for using it for any form of security? That is a very bad idea. All someone would need would be a tissue or blood sample and they would be able to impersonate you. The movie Gataca already covered part of this. Essentially I could cut off you finger and use that to impersonate you in places. Biometrics and DNA are a nice idea, but hard to implement unless you have really good security around every single one of the readers and can garuntee that no one is pulling a fast one. Even then, it is proably possible to bypass by bribing a lazy guard.

Re:IM me when encryption is unbreakable (1)

CDarklock (869868) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101594)

> Can DNA be spoofed?

Gattaca dealt with this a little. The unenhanced human passed as enhanced by concealing a small pouch in his hand with a blood sample.

I like the idea of using skin cells. You insert your hand into a reader, and a small collector scrapes a few cells from three different random locations. Unless you wear a fake skin glove, this will almost certainly collect *your* skin. The question is, how quickly can we determine whether this skin came from a known criminal?

Spoofing DNA (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101629)

"Can DNA be spoofed?"

Not sure how much you'd need to copy but there is a thing called PCR [rug.ac.be] .

computer is always right (1)

freak4u (696919) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101434)

My biggest worry is that it lulls travel security into a false sense of security. Yes, I realize that people can snoop, but there's always tin-foil. I worry that since The computer is always right, it will be easier to have false positives (if you're looking for terrorists) and make fakes. Replace the chip and you have a new passport. Scratch the photo a bit, and now they have to rely on the computer. Since the computer is always right... Anybody remember that Ted Kennedy couldn't fly for a while because a T. kennedy was on the don't fly list?

Hunting Amri-cans (1)

Sgt_Astro (848840) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101452)

I can just imagine some militia men sitting in the back of a pickup truck with their AK-47's. One of them has only a PDA and is guiding the driver to where the americans are. Thats right, they've modded the PDA to detect the chips in the passport, and now they can home in on them. Makes life a whole lot harder for foreign aid workers/missionaries/reporters/contract workers in any hot zone.

Why make it remotely readable? (1)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101463)

Have the information encoded in some sort of magnetic strip (and encrypted to prevent stolen passports from being read). Swipe it at the metal detector or whereever they plan on doing this. I really don't see why anything should be wireless if it doesn't have to me.

And another issue, is a 64k picture going to be clear enough to use facial recognition software on?

RFID for passports - succumbing to a fad! (5, Insightful)

syrinje (781614) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101498)

There's really no earthly reason for using RFID chips in passports. RFID has a number of legitimate uses - and the use of this technology in those applications makes life easier for many. Nearly all legitimate applications of RFID benefit from the automation of collecting small bits of data from large numbers of entities using non-human readers.
However, all of the legitimate uses of the passport involve a human being handling the passport anyway - and using a non-RFID smart chip will suffice.

Tinfoil hats aside, the primary response of the RFID proponents to the question of why RFID tags are needed is "Why not?". This is a preposterous approach to implementing a system that handles sensitive personal data that could cause severe distress to the owners of that data, if compromised. Sensitive data belonging to thousands or even millions of people! Assuming the government still considers an individual as the rightful owner of their own personal data.

Some of the conspiracy theories regarding RFID in passports are a little over the top. But there is no denying the fact that the potential for abuse is definitely enhanced by using this technology in this way. Today the scope is for Americans to be targeted using this - either by their own government, or by criminals, or by other governments, or by terrorists. Tomorrow, when more countries follow suit, that scope expands, giving birth to a rich and varied mix of uses - all of which with the legitimate exception of border control are extra-legal or downright criminal. I hate to sound like a troll but the RFID chip in your little blue book could well become the new star of david sewn into your shirt.

Re:RFID for passports - succumbing to a fad! (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101650)

using a non-RFID smart chip will suffice

RFIDs have an inherent advantage in not having a need for electrical (or optical) contacts. This makes it much easier to incorporate into various objects because you don't have to deal with any mechanical interface with a reader. I have a smartcard for laundry on which the contacts (cheap, not thick gold plated) are wearing away. So far it is still usable. Imagine immersing your passport in salt water and rendering the contacts totally useless. I'm sure the customs officials will just pass along anybody with a malfunctioning tag. A terrorist with fake documentation can easily destroy a contact based interface by passing excess current through the contacts. RFID is just more reliable and more versatile than other interfaces.

I agree with a previous poster that they should use a private key encryption on the RFID data and store the the "private" key in a bar or matrix code on a page of the passport. This will at least protect the data from passers by.

disabling chip? (3, Interesting)

LM741N (258038) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101540)

What are the implications of disabling the chip? A huge dose of ESD would probably do the job without harming paper and ink. You could just claim ignorance.

hate the game (1)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101549)

Personal information brokering and identity theft are big businesses. Why would anyone want to limit their market? If you restrict access to personally identifiable information you'll be taking away money from an ever expanding industry. There should be a law against that.

Here's a link to the standard (2, Interesting)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101560)


Document 9303 at the ICAO [icao.int] . Note that it's the international Civil Aviation organization that defined the standard and is pushing it. Note that they intentionally do not encrypt the data so that it's simpler and easier for third world governments to read.

Re:Here's a link to the standard (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101639)


Here [icao.int] are some very interesting additional Annexes. Page "16 of 16" of "Logical Data Structure(LDS) version 1.7" gives a good one-page overview of the data on thr RFID chip.

But, but, but... (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12101655)

More importantly, how are they going to fit a decent image for counterfeiting in 64K? Sure, it might be viewable, but it damn sure won't be printable. Monitors have terribly low resolution compared to printers. Now... if the customs folks in all countries are willing to let someone through with a "passport photo" that looks like a character from Donkey Kong, I think we all have a bigger problem. :p
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