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ACLU Speaks Out Against RFID Passports

The American Civil Liberties Union has come out strongly against the U.S. government's initiative to embed RFID tags in passports.
Nov 30, 2004This article was originally published by RFID Update.

November 30, 2004—The American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S.-based organization whose aim is to protect civil liberties and personal privacy, has come out strongly against the U.S. government's initiative to embed RFID tags in passports. It asserts that through participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization, the body charged with developing an "electronic passport" standard, the United States vetoed efforts to encrypt or otherwise secure the sensitive passport information under the new standard. The U.S. government has claimed that its motive was simplifying the standard to ensure compliance by the world's poorest countries, for whom the electronic passport initiative in its simplest form is a burdensome undertaking.

A more cynical interpretation is that the U.S. government may be interested in transforming the passport from its current traveler-only usage to a de facto international identity card that citizens would need to conduct even the most basic commercial transactions. To enlist the support of potential private-interest beneficiaries to such a global identity card system, like the travel and retail industries, a non-encryption standard must be adopted so that parties other than government can read the passport information.

Read the article at internetnews.com
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