Monday, June 13, 2005

Get your passports now.

Ted Koppel has a pretty good commentary in today's Times. In it, he notes something I was unaware of: the State Department plans on putting RFID technology in all new passports issued by the end of 2005. I don't know if that's true or not. This blurb from EPIC, an online privacy non-profit, suggests that the State Department has dropped such plans. However, this article from Washington Technology suggests the opposite.

Either way, the rise of RFID technology and the carelessness with which it is being employed makes me think that we need a much more comprehensive debate over the intersection of technology and civil liberties. The Patriot Act draws most of the attention in any discussion regarding terrorism and civil liberties, but I suspect it is the less visible projects like RFID passports that will have a more pernicious effect in the long-term. It is easier to get people motivated to oppose egregious activities like warrantless searches than it is to oppose seemingly mundane issues like RFID implants in government documents.

Whatever the case, I'm getting my passport renewed before they start using these chips. Whether it's the US guvmint or foreign terrorists, the less easy it is to track me, the better.