RFID technology at the border
| 05.22.2006 | 08:01:37 | Views: 2893 | ID:
May 22 '06: Questions surrounding border security are being raised by the use of radio frequency identification with human identification according to technology experts and other officials in the Department of Homeland Security, Government Computer News reported over the weekend.
The technology, which has applications such as tracking inventory for commercial retailers, "comes against the background of a continuing debate within the department over the security and privacy issues surrounding the use of RFID technology to identify people at border crossings."Additionally, the Christian Science Monitor reported Monday that increased border security advancements proposed by the Bush administration call for "an integrated network of sensors, fences, and surveillance," that would help "offset the need for more 'boots on the ground.'" Such programs would include integrated computer networks developed and designed to monitor border traffic. IT News reported that DHS "wants to deploy RFID to identify and track individuals to cross international borders ... At the border in the US-VISIT program, at airports in the ePassport Program, Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II) program, and at entrances to secure government facilities, checking identification cards is routine," however using RFID, can also lead to gaps in security through "skimming and eavesdropping." GCN found that in the DHS report, "Most difficult and troubling is the situation in which RFID is ostensibly used for tracking objects (medicine containers, for example) but can in fact be used for monitoring behavior. ... For these reasons, we recommend that RFID be disfavored for identifying and tracking human beings. ... When DHS does choose to use RFID to identify and track individuals, we recommend the implementation of the specific security and privacy safeguards described herein." The report goes on to suggest that there should be "methods to be used when deciding whether or not to use RFID technology and best practices to maintain privacy in RFID systems used to track humans," GCN reported. IT reported that efforts to use RFID by various federal agencies "have had success in managing inventory, tracking blankets, food, and other essentials through the supply chain. RFID tags communicate information by radio waves through antennae on small computer chips attached to objects. A reader identifies the number on the tag, which in turn categories the object."
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