Another RFID Milestone

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The U.S. State Department joined the Department of Defense this week in endorsing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology by way of policy when it announced its intentions to embed chips in U.S. passports. By October of next year, the State Department will put in place a program that implants 64-kilobyte RFID chips in every passport issued, various news sources report. These will carry travelers’ personal data, including their name, gender and a photo image. The motives driving this plan are that it would make identity theft and fraud more difficult, aid security personnel in anti-terrorism efforts, and perhaps make traveling easier and more efficient.

 

Of course, this initiative is not without its critics, who offer several different arguments to make their case for opposing it. For example, there are the pragmatists, who wonder why the Feds want to spend the time and money to put all that information on a RFID chip if it’s going to be included in the paper documentation anyway. Also, civil libertarians say the idea of a chip that could potentially be used to track and monitor law-abiding, non-suspicious citizens smacks of Big Brother. And some informed observers of RFID may be wondering if the technology is ready for such an ambitious undertaking.

 

My question for all of you is: Do you think RFID and the professionals who run it are capable of successfully designing and implementing this program? And even if they can, should they? I’ll be posting a thread on this topic in our Wireless community forum. Drop in and let us know what your thoughts are.

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