Aug 17 2006

E-Passports began Monday Aug. 14

When I wrote RFID Passports in March they promised E-passports by October, but a few weeks ago I posted RFID ePassports Ready and they announced that they would be launching ahead of schedule, but I didn’t expect that they would be 2 months ahead of schedule.

The fact of the matter of ePassports is that Security professionals are very upset that they are going live with this project because of all of the security flaws with the way that its encryption was done.

The Following is a press release from the Department of State

Department of State Begins Issuing Electronic Passports to the Public

To enhance border security and to facilitate travel, the Department of State began issuing Electronic Passports (e-passports) to the public today. Production has started at the Colorado Passport Agency and will be expanded to other production facilities over the next few months.

Consistent with globally interoperable specifications adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), this next generation of the U.S. passport includes biometric technology. A contactless chip in the rear cover of the passport will contain the same data as that found on the biographic data page of the passport (name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, dates of passport issuance and expiration, passport number), and will also include a digital image of the bearerÔ??s photograph.

The Department of State has employed a multi-layered approach to protect the privacy of the information and to mitigate the chances of the electronic data being skimmed (unauthorized reading) or eavesdropped (intercepting communication of the transmission of data between the chip and the reader by unintended recipients). Metallic anti-skimming material incorporated into the front cover and spine of the e-passport book prevents the chip from being skimmed, or read, when the book is fully closed; Basic Access Control (BAC) technology, which requires that the data page be read electronically to generate a key that unlocks the chip, will prevent skimming and eavesdropping; and a randomized unique identification (RUID) feature will mitigate the risk that an e-passport holder could be tracked. To prevent alteration or modification of the data on the chip, and to allow authorities to validate and authenticate the data, the information on the chip will include an electronic signature (PKI).

The Department of State is confident that the new e-passport, including biometrics and other improvements, will take security and travel facilitation to a new level.

What people don’t realize is that experts have already proved to the department of state that this technology can be hacked and they demonstrated it as well as supplied facts. However, the government is still proceeding with the implantation of it.

One of the reason that I am this concerned with the issue is that my passport was damaged and I needed to get a new one, but never got around to it because I thought I still had time, but I am wrong and now I will be provided with a more expensive e-passport. On the topic of money, it does not cost $30 to add a RFID chip and add the data to it. The chip itself costs about $.01 – $.10.

We will see how many complaints the US gets over this as soon as the first problem occurs with them.

, chip, department of state, epassports, government, passports, rfid, technology, traveling, United States, us, USA, visa

About the author

Timothy Haroutunian

Timothy Haroutunian is a ServiceNow Cloud Implementation Specialist at Acorio. ServiceNow is an IT Management solution that allows for a complete view of your IT and physical environment.

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