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RFID May Play Role in U.S. National ID Cards

The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved legislation that takes the country a step closer to national ID cards.
Tags: Privacy
Feb 14, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

February 14, 2005—The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved legislation that takes the country a step closer to national ID cards. Called the Real ID Act, the measure would strongly encourage states to issue driver's licenses that meet certain antiterrorist regulations. The new driver's license features would not technically be mandated, so proponents argue that it does not represent a national ID card, which are typically compulsory. But because having such a license would be required to access basic services, such as plane or train travel or entry to public buildings, opponents argue that it would seriously handicap those citizens whose states "opt out" of the regulations, preventing them from being able to fully participate in society.

The Real ID Act doesn't explicitly name RFID as one of the features; rather, it says that driver's licenses should be "machine readable." But most assume that RFID would be the technology of choice for its wireless and storage capabilities.

It's not just U.S. driver's licenses that may soon integrate RFID. The U.S. government is aiming to equip passports with the technology, hoping to curb counterfeiting and speed traveler border entry and exit.

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