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US Government To Release Electronic Passport

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the all-the-better-to-track-you-with dept.

United States 289

XueCast writes "The federal government has announced that they will release new electronic Passport cards in either April or May 2008. The cards could be read wirelessly from up to 20 feet away, which could reduce the waiting time at border checkpoints. Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State For Passport Services, Ann Barrett said, "As people are approaching a port of inspection, they can show the card to the reader, and by the time they get to the inspector, all the information will have been verified and they can be waved on through.""

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289 comments

My cock! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21888614)

It is smelly! Just like yours, CRITERION!!!

Awesome (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888624)

Can't wait for this.. I can finally hack my way past border security, like in 24.

Re:Awesome (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889200)

"Funny. You're the seventh Jack Bauer through here today. Oh well, the computer says you're OK, so go on in."

One feature I want in an electronic passport: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21888630)

Automatic nigger rejection. We imported enough of 'em several hundred years ago. Keep America Clean!

Re:One feature I want in an electronic passport: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889004)

Parent has a valid point.

Black people have inferior intellects.

IT IS SCIENCE. What are you... religious? "Wih wih, we need to be politically correct, so we will ignore ALL EVIDENCE."

Look at fucking Detroit, for fuck's sake. Eighty-two percent black... do you think it's plain COINCIDENCE that the city is a total pit of crime and despair?

Next ---- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889826)

And didn't you consider that blacks might be poorer than whites due to social inequality and lack of education in family history (all of which can be demonstrated to exist) rather than some nebulous connection between skin color and natural mental acuity? Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a fallacy for a reason, and even if there IS a chain of cause and effect it's not so easy to tell what the steps in the middle were.

Troll.

Re:One feature I want in an electronic passport: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889848)

Even beyond the broad racial issues, within the race itself the American blacks are descended from inferior stock, being the descendants of POWs, unsuccessful criminals and other losers bartered to slave traders. And within that depressed subgroup, the creative and ambitious were actively culled by slaveowners while the dully obedient lines were bred out repeatedly.

This is the reason NAACP founder W.E.B. DuBois was all for intraracial eugenics!

No air travel?! (5, Interesting)

s.bots (1099921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888648)

$45 for an insecure card that can be read from 20 feet away and cannot be used for air travel? Thanks but no thanks, maybe when they have one permitted for air travel and with (at least) a method of enabling/disabling reading.

Re:No air travel?! (1)

neostorm (462848) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888844)

Well, it makes sense when you consider how many different countries you can get to from the US just by driving. ...Oh. Right.

Re:No air travel?! (3, Insightful)

daveo0331 (469843) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889064)

It makes a lot more sense if you think of it in terms of total number of trips and not total number of countries. Many major U.S. cities are located along the border (San Diego, Detroit, and Buffalo to name a few). Also, ever been on a cruise? It takes 2-3 hours to get everyone off one of those big cruise ships because of the need to get 2000 people through customs at once. This sounds like it could speed that process up.

Sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889120)

Remember the days when Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility?
You must be old here. :)

Re:No air travel?! (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889652)

It makes a lot more sense if you think of it in terms of total number of trips and not total number of countries. ...
It takes 2-3 hours to get everyone off one of those big cruise ships because of the need to get 2000 people through customs at once. This sounds like it could speed that process up.
About as helpful as a band-aid on a sucking chest wound.

The root cause of the problem isn't the number of people, i'ts the lame-ass system in the first place. It's a lot like DRM. People who want to enter the country for nefarious purposes will always have a variety of methods of entry that completely bypass these systems. But thosewho wish to enter legally have to jump through all the hoops. Essentially it punishes the law-abiding citizens and ignores the law breakers. Sure, the system will occasionally catch someone with a felony conviction in their home country who didn't know that would disqualify them from entry. But chances are, those people weren't up to no good, they were just on a trip like any other regular joe and denying them entry doesn't improve the situation at all.

Re:No air travel?! (2, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889696)

Wouldn't it be almost as fast, and WAY more secure to just have passport 'reading' machines placed before the examiners, where you either swipe or place the passport in the device in some way. That gives the 'system' extra time retrieve any information for the passport examiner, but there is NEVER going to be this mythical 'wave-through'.

There always has to be a delay for the immigration officer to a) verify that the physical person matches the person described by the passport and b) why they are coming and going and whether to extract money from them [duties or whatever].

I don't know why governments have such a hard-on for passports and other identifiers [like drivers licenses] to be accessible wirelessly. Hell, they'll still probably swipe it to match the 'wireless data' with the physical card [because did the system read your passport, or the passport for the 20 people around you].

Re:No air travel?! (3, Funny)

Kagura (843695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889168)

Who cares about RFID, I just want my stamps that say where I've been. I don't want an electronic record that I can't look at. :)

Ummm. (5, Interesting)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888652)

Every security measure I've seen for RFID involves some encryption, and a "Handshake" between the reader and card. In a packed situation like an airport, it would be really easy to have an electronic device sniff this handshake, and by pretending to be a reader, lift multiple passport ID's off of people while passing by. Sounds dangerous to me.

Re:Ummm. (4, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888790)

There are certainly ways [wikipedia.org] to perform key exchanges and begin encrypted communication without being vulnerable to eavesdropping.

My understanding (which may be wrong) of the main problem with these RFID devices is that there is in fact no handshaking or encryption, and that the device will happily spill its guts to anything that asks.

Re:Ummm. (4, Interesting)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888842)

Perhaps a larger (and maybe more real to Joe Sixpack) reason to be concerned is that you are even more easily pegged as an American, without any need to break the encryption or handshake (if there is one). Being identified as an American can make you a serious target in a lot of places for a lot of reasons, ranging from the terr'rists wanting to kill you to just some dude in an alley in Paris who wants to rob a rich guy instead of a poor guy. Americans tend to be rich.

Re:Ummm. (0, Offtopic)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888974)

.70 Euro to the Dollar.
We yanks aren't so rich any more...

Re:Ummm. (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889236)

.70 Euro to the Dollar.

100+ Yen to the Dollar, yet the Japanese aren't considered particularly poor...

We yanks aren't so rich any more...

The ones, who are walking around in Paris, are still quite rich — by the standards of a lowlife robber, anyway.

Re:Ummm. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21888978)

Well, since the government would raise a lot of red flags if they just outright banned international travel, the next best option would be to make sure that nobody wants to leave the country.

Re:Ummm. (3, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888996)

Americans who travel tend to be rich.
fixed that for you

Re:Ummm. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889014)

Americans tend to be rich.

hahahaha! How many poor people there are in the USA? Too many Americans cannot even afford health care, hahahah! Poor Americans, I would say.

You bring up Paris as your example, whoa! I am pretty sure French are not poor. Maybe you should have take Norway, Sweden or Finland as your examples as well (small poor countries).

You would be more correct to say that some Americans tend to be rich. Check your facts.

Besides one do not need electronic passport to identify an American as an American - they stand out from the crowd anyway. You know, cowboy hat and all.

Re:Ummm. (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889302)

Uh, what? Norway, Sweden and Finland are wealthy countries.

Re:Ummm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889430)

Whoosh...

Thats the sound sarcasm makes when it rushes over your head.

Re:Ummm. (1)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889204)

The issue with this is, similar to any other encryption, especially one widely used, it will be broken. Since these will use some sort of radio frequency, grabbing information off them (once the encryption is broken), will become trivial. And updating the encryption on them will be slow, and costly.

Re:Ummm. (3, Informative)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889438)

[...] there is in fact no handshaking or encryption, and that the device will happily spill its guts to anything that asks.

There should not be much more "guts" to spill, than the passport number itself. This will not give an attacker much information at all — other than: "There exists a passport with this number," but in those few seconds, that it takes a person to walk up to the counter, their giant picture will already be on the officer's screen for verification...

It would still be a hole, but a much smaller one than it may seem at the first suspicious glance. It will, hopefully, be further narrowed by making these passports respond to RFID-readers only when they are opened and, maybe, only when directed towards the reader — simply by making the passport's cover with some RF-blocking material.

All of these measures will make your hypothetical eavesdropper rather impractical even without encryption.

People have been using EZ-Pass and similar (oppressive) RFID-readers for many years now to go through highway robbery, ehm, tools... Yet there are no stories of EZ-Pass numbers picked-up by hidden crooks and plugged into fake EZ-Pass devices for resale... Maybe, someone is doing it, but it sounds more difficult, than crossing into the US through the Southern border.

Don't you get it? (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889772)

  1. People get new passports to speed processing time
  2. Said people notice odd charges in credit cards, higher volume of mail, the occasional death threat from Santa Claus ("He knows where you are sleeping", etc.).
  3. Volume of "identity theft" calls becomes overwhelming
  4. "Our economy is improving! America has added over 5,000 new office jobs since last year!"
  5. Suggest the Underpants Gnomes joke and I'll behead a bunny.

Re:Ummm. (1)

duerra (684053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888804)

Here is a link to an explanation on how SSL works, who's theory can be applied to any kind of public key system, including (hopefully) RFID: http://www.interwebinc.com/security/ssl.html [interwebinc.com]

Re:Not enough power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889040)

There is simply not enough power for passive RFID chips to do any kind of processing, including SSL or other forms of encryption. While it is true that there are contactless smart cards which are capable of doing things like that, they have a range of centimeters at best. There is simply no practical way to broadcast enough power 20 feet to handle SSL.

Re:Ummm. (1)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888900)

Depends on the implementation. Public/Private key authentication works as long as you don't screw up how it's used (as in WEP). In most cases where a card-reader technology is found to be vulnerable to "sniffing", it's normally because data was unencrypted or weakly encrypted, like using a simple XOR. If it's done properly, there is no reason to assume it's any more insecure than an SSH tunnel.

Re:Ummm. (1)

graft (556969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889122)

WEP doesn't use key exchange. It uses a n-bit key and a stream cipher (RC4). It is not a public key protocol.

encryption doesn't matter (2, Interesting)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889158)

Encryption doesn't matter for a passport...if you are hunting Americans and Americans are the only ones who have RFIDs in their passports.

    If you have a device that detects RFIDs and you find someone walking down the street in a country outside the USA with an RFID on their person, then that person is most likely to carrying an American passport. If you are looking to kidnap or kill an American because your God has given His OK to do so (the mullah told you so), well then chances are very high that you've found one.

    So run up and do Allah's will. If it's a woman or child, so much the better because there is less likelyhood that they will fight back or resist.

    This RFID in passports is such a bad idea that it is all but unimagineable that any other country will do it. Americans have become obsessed with techno-fascist stupidities since the Saudi Arabian massacre of their people in September 2001. They need to step back a little and give some serious thought to what is a good idea and what is only a technological fad with unwanted consequences.

Re:encryption doesn't matter (1)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889308)

If you are looking to kidnap or kill an American because your God has given His OK to do so (the mullah told you so), well then chances are very high that you've found one.

Americans aren't difficult to pick out even when they aren't carrying RFID-devices. And the Americans, who go through the trouble of trying to disguise themselves, will wrap their passports in foil, or something.

Even more likely, the actual RFIDs will not be broadcasting anything, until the passport is opened. That's very easy to implement (not that the Government is not likely to screw it up anyway, but one is hopeful)...

Re:encryption doesn't matter (1)

Divebus (860563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889564)

Even more likely, the actual RFIDs will not be broadcasting anything, until the passport is opened.
I'll hack mine to play "Happy Birthday" when they open the passport.

Re:encryption doesn't matter (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889514)

I've had a British passport with RFID for over a year now .... so I don't think RFID will be unique to Americans.

Oddly enough the British Embassy in the USA was the first British passport office to issue them, which is why I have it.

 

Re:encryption doesn't matter (1)

DoctorFrog (556179) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889554)

Encryption doesn't matter for a passport...if you are hunting Americans and Americans are the only ones who have RFIDs in their passports.

My Irish passport, issued June of 2006, has RFID. My American one, issued six months earlier but valid until 2015, does not.

Yank-hunters might have to be a bit more sophisticated than that.

Re:Ummm. (3, Informative)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889244)

Why do you need a device with the range of 20ft? How about range of 2 inches and place the reader 20ft down the line?

Re:Ummm. (4, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889434)

Because the senator's buddies aren't interested in a mark up reselling barcode readers ($80), when they can markup RFID readers.($1700) Besides RFID is so much more tech heavy it's gotta be better. Better security theater that is. Joe Sixpack will be terribly impressed that there is a computer-thingy in his passport.

Re:Ummm. (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889516)

because simplicity is not what governments understand. Governments are the opposite of simple.

Re:Ummm. (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889446)

it's not as dangerous as you think cuz THIS JUST IN! Faraday wallet stocks went through the roof! But seriously once a couple people's get spoofed, nobody's going to buy them since apparently they're optional. Then 99% of people who use them are going to be drug runners, illegal immigrants, and terrorists so they're going to discontinue their distribution

Re:Ummm. (4, Interesting)

porpnorber (851345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889500)

What I really don't understand about the entire discussion is this: what the border guards actually look at is not what's written on your passport; it's what's stored in their database (from which, in the case of your own citizens, the passports were generated in the first place). So all that is needed is a serial number, right? You type your SSN into a keypad (or for that matter, swipe any one of your credit cards—nobody believes that the security establishment pays any attention to data protection laws, anyway), your photo pops up on the guy's screen, and if it's you, you're through. Everything else is either a holdover from the days before networks, or a diversion.

So ... what's this really about? I ask this not as a tinfoil hat question, but because I'm truly mystified.

I'll say it again. Now there's an Internet, you do not need to carry ID. The Man already has your file, and it's only because 'biometric' face recognition doesn't actually work yet that you carry any cards at all. There's no reason for cards to hold any data beyond a big number. There's no reason for them to be unique. There's no need for them to encode anything that can be used against you. There's no reason for any of this nonsense.

The only motivation I can think of for these measures is so that they can charge you more application fees for the new ID. What on earth am I missing?

futility (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888662)

The cards could be read wirelessly from up to 20 feet away

"and there's nothing you can do about it! ha!", added Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State For Passport Services, Ann Barrett.

Uses Standard RFID Technology. (3, Informative)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888666)

Tin foil billfolds and passport covers are already being sold: http://www.google.com/search?num=50&hl=en&safe=off&q=RFID+blocking+wallet&btnG=Search [google.com]

Nothing a microwave oven on high for 2-3 seconds (or a hammer and hard surface) won't solve: http://www.google.com/search?num=50&hl=en&safe=off&q=RFID+disabling+passport&btnG=Search [google.com]

Re:Uses Standard RFID Technology. (2, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888738)

Tin foil billfolds and passport covers are already being sold

Joke's on you... DHS is forbidding passengers to carry more than one square inch of tinfoil through security, or more than three square inches in checked luggage, because it could be crumpled up and fashioned into a weapon.

Tinfoil Wallet (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888942)

I did go ahead and line my wallet with aluminium foil. It actually does stop the reception for the wireless chip in my MasterCard.

These will be optional. (2, Informative)

SpudB0y (617458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888722)

You must opt-in to receive one of these terrorist magnets, so leave your tinfoil wallet at home.

Re:These will be optional. (1)

isdnip (49656) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889050)

Standard passports are already coming through with RFID. They can be read from up to 60 feet away. True, the standard government-issue reader has a much shorter range, but 60 feet has been demonostrated. The bad guys (those who set off bombs when Americans go by the trap, for instance) know how to do that. The new passport will probably be readable for a block or so, if an airport reader can go 20 feet.

Re:These will be optional. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889534)

That's what they say now, until the next "threat to homeland security" and it becomes mandatory.

20 feet away (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21888730)

How do you check that the boimetrics on the card matches the biometrics of the person carrying it 20 feet away?

Re:20 feet away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21888858)

> How do you check that the boimetrics on the card matches the biometrics of the person carrying it 20 feet away?

That's only a problem for HomeSec. The terrorist with the IED, on the other hand, isn't terribly concerned about the safety of anyone traveling within 20 feet of an American.

Which is the beauty of the system! You get a fat contract to develop a remotely-readable passport. You deploy the system. Then, six months later, when the first RFID-proximity based IEDs go off, you get an even bigger contract to develop the tinfoil wallet!

(You didn't think this is about keeping citizens safe, did you? Since a homebrew tinfoil wallet is an effective countermeasure against both government and criminal snoops, it's barely about keeping citizens under surveillance, never mind safe. :)

By remote DNA sampler (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888926)

They shoot you with a sampling dart like they do with whales.

"Waved on through..." (4, Insightful)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888734)

From TFA:

"As people are approaching a port of inspection, they can show the card to the reader, and by the time they get to the inspector, all the information will have been verified and they can be waved on through," said Ann Barrett, deputy assistant secretary of state for passport services, commenting on the final rule on passport cards published yesterday in the Federal Register.

Hahahahaha. You have got to be fucking kidding me. I have been the United States on two separate occasions via air in the last few years and in both cases neither myself nor any of my fellow passengers were ever "waved on through" inspection. Everybody got the royal ass raping treatment and this comment by Ann Barrett is just a bureaucratic pie-in-the-sky sales job for the new passports.

Re:"Waved on through..." (0)

rindeee (530084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888822)

Since you're not from the U.S., chances are pretty good that you wouldn't be carrying an American passport then, eh? This would be for US residents that are re-entering the country.

Re:"Waved on through..." (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889128)

This would be for US residents that are re-entering the country.

I think you meant to say US citizens.

Foreign nationals can have legal residency in the US, but would normally be required to present a valid passport from their country of origin. Similarly, US citizens residing in other countries would be presenting a US passport.

Unless you're in a movie, in which case all bets are off.

Re:"Waved on through..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889684)

If this technology proved successful in US passports (unlikely), there's no reason why similar technology couldn't be used in green cards and other (semi-)permanent visas. They probably wouldn't require that people travel with that document, but they could incent people to do so by allowing them to use the "express" lines used by US citizens.

Re:"Waved on through..." (2, Informative)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889852)

"Foreign nationals can have legal residency in the US, but would normally be required to present a valid passport from their country of origin. Similarly, US citizens residing in other countries would be presenting a US passport."

This is partly false. U.S. permanent residents need only present their Permanent Resident Card to enter the U.S.. Of course, if they travel anywhere that requires they have a passport they would have one from their country of citizenship anyway. But Canadians, for example, do not need a passport to enter the U.S. if they are U.S. permanent residents, and they do not need a passport to enter Canada.

http://www.dhs.gov/xtrvlsec/crossingborders/whtibasics.shtm [dhs.gov]

Re:"Waved on through..." (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888826)

Hahahahaha. You have got to be fucking kidding me. I have been the United States on two separate occasions via air in the last few years and in both cases neither myself nor any of my fellow passengers were ever "waved on through" inspection. Everybody got the royal ass raping treatment

      Being an old fart I remember the BIG DEAL when "machine readable" passports were created, and the idea then was that apparently it would save a tremendous amount of time because you could just swipe your passport in a machine and be on your way (provided the powers that be didn't want to speak to you). Hah. First, I have only ever had ONE machine readable passport (all the rest say "THIS PASSPORT IS NOT MACHINE READABLE" on the scanning line), and second I have only ever had my passport scanned by the airlines at check in, before I fly (to the US).

      The lines keep getting longer - especially now that everyone except us Canadians has to be fingerprinted and photographed. 2 hours+ delays are common at major hubs. Well I avoid the US (and travel in general) nowadays not because I don't want to or can't afford it, but because it's a real pain in the ass being treated like a "suspect" from the minute you drive to an airport until you drive out of one. Now ask me if I think the US is "winning the war on terror"?

Re:"Waved on through..." (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888976)

ya.. spend a few hours in customs and save ten seonds by not having to manually read the passport... efficient use of their resources isn't it?

but because it's a real pain in the ass being treated like a "suspect" from the minute you drive to an airport until you drive out of one. Now ask me if I think the US is "winning the war on terror"?
I think we know by now that the "war on terror" isn't going to be decreasing terrorism [it is in fact increasing it] nor is it protecting freedoms or safety, it is in fact eroding freedoms that they never had the right to take away in the first place. sigh... as an American, I hope this never spreads to Canada but judging by recent events, it may indeed happen anyway...

Re:"Waved on through..." (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889212)

as an American, I hope this never spreads to Canada but judging by recent events, it may indeed happen anyway...

Bush meet mini Bush, uh Harper. Quite frankly beyond the oil rich Alberta, Harper doesn't seem to reflect the Canadian way.

Waved aside? (1)

qwerty shrdlu (799408) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889136)

Once security decides you're trying to get waved through, will this passport set you up for extra attention?

Re:"Waved on through..." (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889246)

I don't see how it would work anyway. If it had a range of an inch or so then yeah, you could wave it at a little receiver in line and when you got to the front the goon, er, customs agent would have your info up and ready. Not that that would speed things up much because he'd still have to at least grill you about what you were doing outside the country. But 20 feet?

A better idea would be just to have a pre-screening clerk in line who takes your passport punches the number (scans the barcode, whatever) and verifies that the picture matches. Then the real customs guy can concentrate on asking important questions like "ever been in trouble with the law, son?"

Re:"Waved on through..." (3, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889256)

I just don't travel to the USA any more. It's not worth my time or my dignity. When conferences and business meetings get scheduled, I make sure someone else goes. Inevitably they get back complaining about some jackbooted stormtrooper screaming "PAPERS! PAPERS!" at them, and vow never to go through it again.

Re:"Waved on through..." (1, Insightful)

phoebusQ (539940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889428)

Sensationalism at its finest.
I travel internationally to and from the US on a monthly basis and never see any of these "atrocities".

OPTIONAL for frequent travelers that want it! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21888746)

How could you leave out this little detail from your story?

I know the universal ID/RFIDs are legitimate stories, but this card story is non-story turned into a potential page churner ONLY because of the single detail left out of the write-up.

Shoddy editing job.

Re:OPTIONAL for frequent travelers that want it! (1)

darealpat (826858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889208)

This is only a "non-story" only if one is not alarmed at the great potential lapse in border protection shown in this particular card. The second to last paragraph of the referred to article reads:

"Last year, the Government Accountability Office reviewed technology similar to that used in the passport cards. The report found low read rates and said the technology should be used only to track goods, not to identify people."
Elsewhere in the article it is clearly stated that these cards can be read at up to 40 feet away, and could be cloned. If that last part doesn't bother you or make this a "real story" then, if you don't mind, kindly send me one of your bankcards so I can help monitor your financial situation.

Re:OPTIONAL for frequent travelers that want it! (1)

MechaBlue (1068636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889642)

"Optional" is a more politically viable way of saying "testing the waters". If there is no major outcry and the trial run isn't publicly disasterous, they will be mandatory in the future. There is little cost to making the cards mandatory; the equipment to read them is already in place and the holders of the cards pay for each card.

An important problem with these cards is the technology is assumed to be infallible and it will take a lot of work to shake that perception. Many things can go wrong with a system like this (e.g., card cloning, database synchronization errors) and any problems will be buried under the guise of national security. It has the potential to be like the TSA's No-Fly list but with a flaky, expensive computer system in the middle. It could easily turn into a debacle like the Diebold voting machines.

most everyone here would wrap it in foil (3, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888814)

however, average joe blow is going to go to niagara falls in canada, he'll be scanned and scammed as he wanders around, and by the time he drives home to schenectady that evening, someone in russia will be selling his info to someone in china

at times like these, why root against incompetence? it always seems to win

so go with the flow i say

anyone want to rent a 3rd story apt in niagara falls canada with me and point an rfid reader out the window?

Re:most everyone here would wrap it in foil (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889356)

however, average joe blow is going to go to niagara falls in canada, he'll be scanned and scammed as he wanders around, and by the time he drives home to schenectady that evening, someone in russia will be selling his info to someone in china

While his comrades in the US loot the victims home for profit, pretending to be "carpet installers".

I think this piece of GWB legislation must have been co-written by the mafia.

New Revised Summary (1)

Alexx K (1167919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888848)

The cards could be read wirelessly from up to 20 feet away, which could reduce the difficulty in information gathering. Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State For Passport Services, Ann Barrett said, "As people are approaching someone wishing to harvest personal details, they can remain completely unaware, and by the time they walk past the person with the reader, all the information will have been extracted and it can be used to generate proffit.""

I travel from Mexico regularly..... (3, Funny)

desertfool (21262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888886)

And this is a joke. I, and my family (Mexican wife and 'mixed' child) get waved through when we say "American" at the border. Now my wife is a naturalized citizen, but they take one look at me (white as can be) and we get one question before we are waived through.

As for an RFID solution, what makes that better than the 'instincts' of the Border Patrol? I think that could be faked so fast that a young male of middle eastern descent could could get through as an asian business person just because the border card said so. //Trolling, just for the fun of it. I have a lot of unearned karma....

Wonderful. (5, Insightful)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21888918)

Oh wonderful. Now when I'm overseas, the terrorists can identify me as an American in a crowd from 20 feet away.

Re:Wonderful. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889066)

you dont need rfid to identify American Tourists abroad, they are pretty obvious anyway.

Re:Wonderful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889266)

yeah but this will make it easier for your average bomb in the trash can to recognize passing Americans

Re:Wonderful. (3, Funny)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889498)

Just make a bomb that's triggered by chewing gum and obnoxious behavior?

Re:Wonderful. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889512)

I welcome this more as a way to be recognized as NOT an american while travelling without one =)

Re:Wonderful. (1)

adsl (595429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889094)

I think you hit a major concern there. With all the best current technology there would surely be an easy way to identify the signal of an American, even amongst other RFID Passport holders, as there is sure to be an identifier of some type built into the basic signal. Thus one would be signaling one's Nationality merely by holding a concealed US Passport on ones person. Might as well travel overseas with an American flag wrapped around one. Surely this would not be the intent of this technology?

Re:Wonderful. (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889278)

If you see a guy waving an antenna around, counting on his fingers and grinning, time to leave.

Re:Wonderful. (1)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889360)

RTFA. This is a device that you get in addition to your passport. You probably leave the device in your car, and it comes with a metallic sleeve so you can shield it when you're not crossing borders. You do not take it with you when you go traveling on a plane.

Re:Wonderful. (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889562)

RTFA. This is a device that you get in addition to your passport. You probably leave the device in your car, and it comes with a metallic sleeve so you can shield it when you're not crossing borders. You do not take it with you when you go traveling on a plane.
Your point is moot. All US passports issued in the last year or so already have RFID's embedded in them. So it amounts to the same thing.

Furthermore, these new passports have a half-assed faraday cage built into the cover, but like so much of government it really is half-assed. All it takes is for the cover to be open by less than a centimeter, as might easily happen in lady's purse, and the RFID is no longer protected against unwanted access/detection.

I hope the electronic passports are unhackable!! (1)

listen_to_blogs (1210278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889012)

If the passports are going to have the wireless technology built it, I hope they have taken utmost care to make it safe from hackers . Network/wireless sniffing is extremely easy. The electronic passports must be safe from simple attack like network sniffing/packet replay etc. That said, its a great move and a step in the right direction. listen_to_slashdot [blogbard.com]

Move the reader? (0)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889022)

The cards could be read wirelessly from up to 20 feet away...

Ummm... Why not simply put the reader 20 feet away as people approach? Or is that too low-tech?

Security vs. ease of use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889030)

What could be more American than trading security for easy of use. Ben Franklin would have been proud

Don't see how it will help with lines (4, Insightful)

Yath (6378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889036)

What nonsense. If they could be "verified" by machine, they wouldn't need to stand in line in the first place. Travelers stand in line for physical inspection and crowd control, and the card can't help with that process. Unless it can count the books of matches in my backpack and measure my lithium battery, all it will do is save a few seconds of pulling out my wallet. Sounds neat, I guess.

Hallelujah!!! (4, Funny)

moxley (895517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889160)

Thank the American God that they solved this problem, because those piece of shit regular passports barely fucking worked and were an accident waiting to happen..(and a fire danger)....

Seriously...with all their "paperness" and "non-electronicky" and all that.

Someone call Apple!

Re:Hallelujah!!! (1)

Shade of Pyrrhus (992978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889384)

How is this different from what we already have? I recently received my passport, and it states it has "electronic devices" inside of it, and to not bend it because of that. You still have the paper, but the electronic devices could be used where available.

Re:Hallelujah!!! (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889692)

I would've made a comment about Apple's new iPort passport/mp3-player/phone/pilot-light/oregano-grinder, but the name seems to be taken [google.com] . :/

corepirate nazis to release US hostages next year (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889196)

maybe, if we pay attention, & assert ourselves. if that notion doesn't sound appealing, you can always just continue to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn. anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'.
meanwhile;
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in.

for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it?

we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster.

you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'.

the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US;

gov. bush denies health care for the little ones
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles;
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Tired of Waiting at the Canadian Border (1)

macaroo (847109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889222)

After sitting in my car last Sunday for 45 minutes at the Peace Bridge while some vehicle 8 or 9 cars ahead was held up for 20 minutes, I welcome any change in the procedure to help speed up the processing of the casual traveler. I realize the limitations of the technology, but am willing to accept the risks to help speed things up. In the Summer surge on weekends the 3 or 4 hour wait can be the longest leg of a pleasant journey across the border. The carbon footprint of a thousand or so cars and trucks idling in 90 degree + temperatureshas to be tremendous.

Re:Tired of Waiting at the Canadian Border (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889830)

It's not the limitations -(though I think the terms "security flaws" are more apt); it's the fact that this is the doorway through which electronic ID, microchipping, and everything else is going to come through. If you don't see the problem with carrying around a piece of ID that can be electronically read from a distance now, I think it will become readily apparent soon enough - likely within a couple of years.

I am a technologist by trade and realize that most cell phones can present similar issues, and I am all for progress - I certainly would love the convenience of that (also, keep in mind that often when one part of a process such as a border check gets made faster, the buerocracies and authorities view that as time which can be used for another check - perhaps they'll check more cars and luggage - so all in all, while I appreciate progress - the cost is too high in this implementation; there need to be better safeguards for privacy. We're heading into a fascist nightmare in America IMO and the last thing I want to do is give big brother a way to see everywhere I go in real time effortlessly.

In Soviet Amerika Government Spies on U 4 Free! (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889320)

(obligatory)

Sorry, but the implications on this for not just electronic hacking, privacy, and stolen IDs, but also for people to loot your home while you're in another country just stagger the imagination.

Want security? This is not the way to go.

Convenience is just another word for Gullible.

As a side note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889334)

I was gone to German Rathaus today and I saw it on a flier: they also have this RFID enabled online Passport.

Ref.: http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/45780 [heise.de]

For what its worth to mention, they have it since 2005. (http://rfid-informationen.de/info/news/archives/00000125.html)

Lead wallet anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889350)

I would start storing my passport in a heavy metal casing to combat the radio signals and only get it out when I want it read. It's a bit like the talk around RFID in bank notes. The mugger scans your handbag to find out how much money you have before he mugs you!

Rephrase (0, Flamebait)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889372)

"As people are approaching a port of inspection, they can show the card to the reader, and by the time they get to the inspector, all the information will have been verified and they can be waved on through."

"As people are cowering in their seats, their card is read by the terrorist's reader. By the time ther terrorist gets to the American Infidel, all the information will have been verified and they can be singled out for execution first."

Gee, thanks. Couldn't have [not lived] without it.

"The Bush Administration, finding innovative ways to make life easier for terrorists since 2001."

Flamebait? (1)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889796)

On numerous occasions, hijackers have gone through the passengers, demanding to see passports.

Those that had U.S. passports (and, less frequently, British too) were singled out to be used as either human shields or the first to be executed to prove the terrorists meant their threats.

Leon Klinghoffer [wikipedia.org] on the Achille Lauro [wikipedia.org] is one classic example. A wheelchair bound, 69 year old, he was executed first because he was identified as a Jewish American.

Going through a plane full of 400 people or a cruise ship with a couple of thousand takes multiple people a significant amount of time as each scared person fumbles with their passport, pretends they can't find it, etc. Walking down the isles with an RFID reader that tells you whenever you pass one of your target group does make the job significantly easier.

An ignorance of history doesn't actually make a post flamebait.

The simple fact remains: Making it stupidly easy for hijackers and terrorists to identify people without even needing to see their passport, just walking within 20 feet, is an exceptionally bad idea.

How long before... kidnapping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21889502)

OK. So you're walking down a street in a mildly hostile country and someone shines their RFID reader at you, and Presto! they say, "Hey, that's an American!"

Even if they couldn't read the actual info, it seems likely that it'd be a pretty good indication that you're fodder for a ransom...

20 feet? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889522)

Well, i guess that will help them track all of us easily once we all have that 'national ID' thing.

Wont have to 'show us your papers' as they will know its you from down the street.

Great (1)

Matt867 (1184557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889602)

Fantastic! Now all an illegal alien will need to cross the border is an old television antenna coupled with a 9 volt battery!

How about people read the FA?? (2, Informative)

RodgerDodger (575834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889612)

From the FA in question:

The $45 card will be optional and cannot be used for air travel. Travelers can opt for a more secure, if more costly, e-passport that costs $97 and contains a radio frequency chip that can only be read at a distance of three inches. Privacy and security experts said the new passport cards that transmit information over longer distances are much less secure.


Also in the FA it is stated that all that is contained is the passport number - presumably the rest of the details get looked up.

So, here we have a card that:
a) costs still more money.
b) can't be used at airports (just land and sea border crossings)
c) can't identify you to random strangers - they'll need access to the US passport database.

So the point of this is that when you're driving across the border from Canada, they've verified your passport details while you wait in the queue, then all they do is take a look at you and send you through to customs.

Of course, this same thing could be done by having a second checkpoint to do the Q&A stuff.

Now, can we please take all the comments about lines at the airport out of the discussion?

RFID - electronic passports (1)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | more than 6 years ago | (#21889774)

It is interesting that RFID does no more appear in stories. It has been replaced with "Electronic passports". The problems seem immense:
  • Individual chips can be identified by the characteristics of the radio transmissions.
  • Chips can be cloned. In England, Biometric passports were already cloned.
  • The shielding is not well enough if the passport is closed. So companies start selling stronghold bags.
  • Its possible to track people. Tags can possibly be read in distances of meters.
  • Forgery of digital passports could become a lot easier.
  • The worst case scenarios of a data breach are a nightmare.
Some links:
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