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Reports of Homeland Security RFID Cards False

Officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland have refuted widely-published reports of two weeks ago that the agency is preparing to roll out an RFID-equipped ID for its 40,000 employees.
Tags: Privacy
Mar 17, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

March 17, 2005—Officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland have refuted widely-published reports of two weeks ago that the agency is preparing to roll out an RFID-equipped identification card for its 40,000 employees. While radio frequency technology will indeed feature in the card, it will be in the form of a protocol called ISO/IEC 14443, which is fundamentally different than RFID. At only five inches, ISO/IEC 14443's transmission range is one-tenth that of RFID's. Furthermore, ISO/IEC 14443's inherent characteristics include security and encryption mechanisms notably found lacking in RFID. Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security never even considered RFID for the card for precisely that reason. This should come as a comfort to the many privacy advocates that worried the government was neglecting employee security by moving ahead with the supposed RFID-enabled cards. If the following quote by an agency official in CIO Insight is any indication, RFID-enabled people-tracking is not on Homeland Security's agenda: "RFID tags are simple things, [similar] to bar codes, for identifying goods that are moving through lines."

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