From The Washington Times:
The State Department will soon begin production of an electronic passport card that security specialists and members of Congress fear will be vulnerable to alteration or counterfeiting.
The agency has contracted with L-1 Identity Solutions Inc. to produce electronic-passport cards as a substitute for booklet passports for use by Americans who travel frequently by road or sea to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
About the size of a credit card, the electronic-passport card displays a photo of the user and a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip containing data about the user. The State Department announced recently that it will begin producing the cards next month and issue the first ones in July.
RFID means radio frequency identification and that means it transmits your information. this is asking for identity theft to occur. Anyone with the right information could access the persons personal information. This is not something I am comfortable with having.
Security specialists told The Washington Times that the electronic-passport card can be copied or altered easily by removing the photograph with solvent and replacing it with one from an unauthorized user.
James Hesse, former chief intelligence officer for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Forensic Document Laboratory, which monitors fraudulent government documents, said the card should have been designed with a special optical security strip to make it secure and prevent counterfeiting. The selection of a card with an RFID chip is “an extremely risky decision,” Mr. Hesse said in an interview.
“The optical strip has never been compromised,” he said. “It’s the most secure medium out there to store data.”
Joel Lisker, a former FBI agent who spent 18 years countering credit-card fraud at MasterCard, said the new cards pose a serious threat to U.S. security. “There really is no security with these cards,” he said.
Hmm, so why are they going with a less secure option?
The State Department rejected a more secure card because it is “surrendering to speed over security, essentially creating new vulnerabilities. … It will not take long for the bad guys to figure out which ports have readability and which do not,” he said.