May 9, 2006 | By Derek Slater

The Increasing Ubiquity and Insecurity of RFIDs

This month, Wired published a chilling article by (former EFF Media Coordinator) Annalee Newitz about RFIDs and the privacy threats they create. She tells five stories of these chips in action and how simple hacks can expose you to identity theft, stalking, and tracking. Anyone could uncover your reading habits by exploiting chips embedded in library books, while RFIDs in US passports could blab your personal information to strangers. Newitz even has an implantable RFID -- intended for use in "medical ID tags and ... secure-access keys" -- embedded under her skin in order to illustrate its lackluster security.

EFF has been fighting hard to keep RFIDs out of state-issued IDs. In California, we've been working with ACLU and a diverse range of concerned groups in support of S.B. 768, the Identity Information Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto). The bill introduces key safeguards to limit the damage RFID technology might do to Californians' privacy.

The bill passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support, and now it's ready to be voted on in the Assembly. California's politicians need to be reminded that this insecure technology threatens our civil liberties. If you're a California resident, it's time to tell your representatives now to keep privacy-leaking chips out of your IDs.


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