Federal Computer Week reports on enhanced ID cards for four Native American tribes. I’ve written before about the privacy and security problems that can come from embedding radio frequency identification (RFID) technology (which transmits data wirelessly from a chip or tag to a reader) into identification cards.
DHS officials announced the most recent agreement with the 28,000-member Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona to develop Enhanced Tribal ID Cards, which will contain radio identification frequency (RFID) microchips and be compliant with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Under the initiative, border patrol officials at land and sea entry points accept only approved forms of identification, including U.S. passports or passport cards, as well as hybrid driver’s licenses/border crossing cards issued by four states and two provinces in cooperation with DHS.
The passport cards and enhanced licenses contain RFID tags that can be scanned electronically from distances of about 20 feet for fast and easy processing. The Tohono O’odham’s ID cards will feature RFID tags and follow a design similar to the enhanced driver’s licenses, according to a DHS spokesman. […]
RFID tags in identification cards have raised privacy and security concerns because of the possibility of being scanned by an unauthorized person. To address those concerns, the RFID-enhanced ID cards contain only a series of numbers, which must be matched to a DHS database to obtain personal information.