p2p news / p2pnet:- The US government is using RFID (radio frequency identification) spy chips to track some foreigners who enter the country, and that may be just the beginning, says the New Standard.
A new pilot program launched this summer has RFID tags in immigrants’ visas, it says, going on:
“In August of this year, the Department of Homeland Security began testing RFID tags at five border crossings under the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, or ‘US VISIT’.
“The program applies to people without green cards who enter the US with a visa, whether for work, school, research or tourism, or those from 27 mostly European countries who are traveling under the ‘Visa Waiver Program,’ which allows travelers to stay for up to 90 days without a visa.”
Over the next year, people in these categories will get new ‘I-94′ visa cards fitted with spy chips at five border crossings including Nogales East and Nogales West in Arizona, Alexandria Bay in New York, and the Pacific Highway and Peace Arch in Washington, says the New Standard, emphasising that Homeland Security Department regulations demand that I-94 cards must be carried at all times.
Photo / New Standard
“The tag transmits a serial number which US government officials can use to access biographic and biometric information stored in a government database, including the individual`s passport number, US destination address, arrival and departure information, a digital photograph, and digital finger scans,” says the story.
But, “Any time a visitor is carrying his I-94 RFID-enabled form, his unique identification number, which is linked to his individual biographic information, could be accessed by unauthorized individuals,” says EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) in a letter quoted by the New Standard.
“So long as the RFID tag or chip can be read by unauthorized individuals, the person carrying that tag can be distinguished from any other person carrying a different tag. Foreign visitors could be identified as such merely because they carry an RFID-enabled I-94 form.”
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New Standard – Electronic Tags Used to Track Immigrants, September 5, 2005