Wednesday, February 04th, 2009 | Author:

If we want to take a day-trip to Montreal, about a four-hour trip from my house, we have two options here in New York to get across the border: we can get a passport that has an RFID chip, or we can get a special driver’s license with an RFID chip. I have neither, and probably will never again see the Canadian side of Niagara Falls where I honeymooned.

We have repeatedly been assured by our government that a) RFID chips are not an infringement of our privacy rights, and b) the technology is secure.

a) If you believe there’s nothing wrong with having your private information in a database that any over-zealous border control cop can access is acceptable, then I have only this advice: go watch a few re-runs of Hogan’s Heroes.

b) If you believe that any technology is secure – especially government technology – you haven’t been watching the news for the last couple decades. Just to update you:

Hacker/researcher Chris Paget has demonstrated the ability to read the RFID chip in your pocket or purse from a passing car at least 30 feet away. He can then make a cloned copy to broadcast your ID number, using just a laptop and some surplus hardware he got on eBay for $250.

Papers, Please! has all the details, and it’s worth reading how Homeland Security chose to make your private information available to any techie with the urge, even though better options were available.

There now. Don’t you feel more secure? less violated? all warm and fuzzy?

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2 Responses
  1. Cato says:

    Tin foil wrapped around a wallet works wonders. :) Not that I have any RFID on me that I am aware of. But it’s nice to know…

  2. akaGaGa says:

    The article did mention something like that. Glad to know you haven’t gotten any on you, though. :)