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RFID Passport Security Concerns are Valid

Security warnings about RFID-enabled passports are being validated by an executive involved in developing the prototype for the U.S. government.
Nov 29, 2004This article was originally published by RFID Update.

November 29, 2004—Widely reported concerns have been raised by privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union that RFID-enabling passports presents a serious personal privacy risk to travelers. Without proper security, the argument goes, would-be identity theives could surreptiously read a traveler's passport information simply by getting within a few feet of the owner.

Now such warnings are being validated by an executive actively involved in developing the prototype "electronic passport" technology for the U.S. government. Neville Pattinson of Axalto North America, one of four companies contracted by the U.S. Government Printing Office to develop the electronic passports, has described the prototype design's security protection as "woefully inadqueate," saying it "really disregards a basic privacy approach and leaves out the basic security methods we would have expected to have been incorporated for the security of the documents." He is urging the prototype designers to beef up the security, noting that public confidence in the new passports is at stake. While a U.S. State Department representative responded that the government is weighing the privacy implications and that the current prototype is merely a "baseline," it remains disconcerting that the initiative has progressed this far without the security concerns being properly addressed. So many proponents of RFID technology simply assume that government and industry will release products whose security is ensured; this news paints a different picture.

Read the article at RockyMountainNews.com
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