Friday, October 28

The Goverment Does Something Good (for once)

I sent off my passport for renewal awhile ago, and wondered what had happened. To my surprise, I find the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State has a site where you can Check the Status of Your Passport Application. I'm impressed.

I wonder if I'll like the new biometric RFID chip:
...many civil libertarians are concerned that the "contactless" chips—as opposed to cards that only give up their information upon direct contact with a reader—lack adequate security precautions and are susceptible to unauthorized "sniffing" by identity thieves or government snoops hoping to gather information covertly from passport holders. guru Bruce Schneier remains concerned: "Initially it's just going to be the photograph and a few other bits of data, but these things change. And I don't necessarily want to walk around the Third World broadcasting that I'm an American."

The privacy conscious should be able to shield their documents from surreptitious sniffers by covering passports in a metal sheath. "In this case," jokes Schneier, "a tinfoil hat really is the answer."

It arrived on the very day indicated. I don't see any sign of the RFID beacon, but that doesn't mean it's not there.

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