US begins major RFID passport trial

News Analysis

US begins major RFID passport trial

As the debate rumbles on around the use of smartcards and advanced biometrics as a means of establishing identity within organisations, the US government is making strides to take such technologies into the public domain.


The US Department of Homeland Security has just announced that it is to begin a major trial of passports embedded with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips at San Francisco International Airport .


The trial will start in mid-January and will see visitors from countries including Australia , New Zealand and Singapore have their passports checked, processed and tracked using RFID technology. All three countries have already started issuing passports equipped with RFID chips, which can store the personal information of the passport holder.


As San Francisco airport is one of the main entry points for visitors to California ’s Silicon Valley , a large number of IT workers will now experience RFID systems at close hand.


The Department of Homeland Security tested RFID passports for a three-month period last autumn at Los Angeles International Airport .


Such mainstream acceptance of RFID will be welcomed by both the security industry and the mainstream IT industry, in particular by companies such as Intel, which is reporting great business benefit from the use of RFID.

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