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The U.S. Electronic Passport (e-passport) is the same as a regular passport with the addition of a small contactless integrated circuit (computer chip) embedded in the back cover. The chip securely stores the same data visually displayed on the photo page of the passport, and additionally includes a digital photograph. The inclusion of the digital photograph enables biometric comparison, through the use of facial recognition technology, at international borders. The U.S. e-passport also has a new look, incorporating additional anti-fraud and security features.

Since August 2007, the U.S. has been issuing only e-passports.

US Department of State

So we now have very secure Passports that can’t be copied or used by a third party right? Apparently not. Not only this but has our own Government deployed a method for tracking it’s own citizens? This same technology is also being used in the so called “Enhanced Drivers License” issued by states such as Washington which act as a Drivers License and Passport for travel to certain areas from the US such as Canada and Mexico. In both cases not only can any hacker steal the info right off the card from a mile away but anyone, the Government included, could track the movement of a person carrying such a card or secretly identify anyone entering a building by quickly scanning for RFID signals.

"Just like a social security number, the unique identifier number on this document must be properly safeguarded," said Nicole Ozer, Technology and Civil Liberties policy director of the ACLU of Northern California. "If it falls into the wrong hands, it can be used for tracking, stalking, identity theft, and counterfeiting. If the government continues to stick its head in the sand and ignore the very real privacy and security threats that researchers, civil liberties organizations, and even industry groups have repeatedly brought to its attention, the American people will pay a very high price."

The Register, 2/2/2009

Cloning passport card RFIDs in bulk for under $250

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