RFID Passports Easy To Clone

Aron Schatz
February 4, 2009

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It turns out that everyone's fears about the RFID passport (the card, not the book) are true. A person can sit back with a cheap RFID reader and get enough info to clone your passport from far enough away. The US government does a good job of keeping Americans in check. That means that any person with a RFID reader can determine who is an American citizen. Do you feel safe now?


Chris Paget, director of research and development at Seattle-based IOActive, used a US$250 Motorola RFID reader and an antenna mounted in a car’s side window and drove for 20 minutes around San Francisco, with a colleague videoing the demonstration. During the demonstration he picked up the details of two US passport cards, which are fitted with RFID chips and can be used instead of traditional passports for travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. “I personally believe that RFID is very unsuitable for tagging people,” he said. “I don’t believe we should have any kind of identity document with RFID tags in them. My ultimate goal here would be, my dream for this research, would be to see the entire Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative be scrapped.”

Many new security additions only serve to limit our rights. Stop allowing the government to take away our rights and privacy!



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