Analysis and rationality in a nonrational world

February 1, 2008

Insane passport security idea comes to fruition

Filed under: Government, Terrorism — Tags: , , — analysis @ 2:08 pm

If you visit http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html,you’ll find a glowing description of the wonders of our new American passports. Now they contain RFID chips, the same technology used to track pallets of widgets. This is an absolutely terrific idea for identity thieves. Now, thanks to our wonderful new technology, falsifying passports has become just a little bit easier, assuming that border guards use them the way they’re supposed to (to speed things up by relying on the information from the little chips). RFID is hardly one of the most secure technologies on the planet, at least if dozens of articles in eWeek and other magazines are to be believed. But the important thing is that it’ll let the White House fire a few low-paid, loyal employees. Putting aside for the moment the wisdom of basing security around a radio device whose signal can all too easily be impersonated, has it never occurred to anyone that those in other lands seeking a passport to steal can now acquire a cheap device that tells them when they’re near one? What’s more, the clever thief can now figure out whether the passport is in the luggage, the handbag, or the pocket. Oh, the miracles of modern technology with no intelligence behind it.

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