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RFID for US Visitors

by dvx Sun Jul 31st, 2005 at 01:57:07 PM EST

X-posted from BT, now with poll (non-US citizens/citizens with non-US partners only, please)

A couple of months ago I wrote a diary about the US-VISIT program, which requires visitors from abroad to submit to biometric identification. I also described the technical problems they have.

The Department of Homeland Security now wants to raise the ante and is about to start a pilot program in which foreigners will be issued an RFID ID card readable from 10 to 15 meters away.

More below the fold.

The Kingston (Ont.) Whig-Standard reports:

Kingston's closest U.S. border

crossing will employ high-tech radio frequency technology to monitor visitors from other countries who want to enter the States from Canada - a move that alarms both a Kingston privacy expert and an immigration specialist.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said this week that the crossing between Lansdowne and Alexandria Bay, N.Y., will be one of three Canada-U.S. land borders to require non-Canadians to carry wireless devices as part of a pilot project.

Travellers will be required to carry the devices as of Aug. 4.


They'll have to carry the wireless devices as a way for border guards to access the electronic information stored inside a document about the size of a large index card.

Visitors to the U.S. will get the card the first time they cross the border and will be required the carry the document on subsequent crossings to and from the States. link, via BoingBoing

Most Canadians are apparently exempt, but landed immigrants are not.

DHS says that the UHF frequency used "makes it impossible to locate a specific person". However, Queen's University law professor and privacy expert Art Cockfield points out:

"Often these technologies are introduced in a fairly minor form and then the technology is extended. What would be very troubling to me would be the tracking of visitors after they've crossed the border."

Not to mention the possibility of surruptitious screening in electronic spot checks.

What will they think of next?

As a non-US citizen, how does US-VISIT affect your desire to travel to the US?
. Not at all - I'm still going to go! 0%
. Not at all - I didn't want to go anyway. 41%
. I still want to go, but it bugs me. 8%
. I have to go, but it bugs me. 25%
. Fuck it - I'm going to Turkey. 25%

Votes: 12
Results | Other Polls
I see a market in RF opaque wallets. Wonder who has the patent on that?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 31st, 2005 at 02:03:46 PM EST
Good point: tinfoil hats will soon be passé.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Jul 31st, 2005 at 02:11:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for some country to state that it will fingerprint and HIV test (or something) all visiting Americans. Just wait for the outcry then.
by observer393 on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 02:47:43 AM EST
I highly suspect that this is just the dry run for all of the world's citizens. I doubt there'll be a shortage of excuses for implementation.

So far we've got chips embedded in some city dwelling dogs so their masters can track their every movement.

And we've got an RFID industry poised to enter the retail markets... barcodes soon to be another ancient artifact.

So folks, the technology for monitoring any and all individuals via GPS, and accessing your whole history, (of course that given you by the authorities) through RFID technology only awaits implementation.

My recommendation: Just Say, NO!

If interested in the retail application see


NVA, a viable option when the political process fails.

by NorthDakotaDemocrat (NorthDakotaDemocrat at gmail dot com) on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 03:17:04 AM EST
As a one-time NDSU (FARGO) prof, it's always nice to hear that North Dakota Democrats still elude extinction, and that resistance to government controls remains a bipartisan meeting point.

Hannah K. O'Luthon
by Hannah K OLuthon on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 07:22:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Found it! 69 feet is the current record from DEFCON. Wonder what the spooks in the NSA could cook up? 100ft? More?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 12:17:26 PM EST
Reading an RFID tag at 69 feet? Holy bleep!

'Course, another thing to keep in mind is that RFID was designed for industrial applications - i.e. high throughput. Just a little surfing turns up commercial tranceivers (read/write units) that can handle up to 99 tags at once.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 02:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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