EPIC FOIA Notes #14
November 20, 2006
E-Passports Less Reliable Than Traditional
for full document]
A document obtained
by EPIC from the State Department reveals that 2004 government
tests found passports with radio frequency identification (RFID)
chips that are read 27% to 43% less successfully than the previous
Machine Readable Zone technology (two lines of text printed at
the bottom of the first page of a passport).
The use of RFID technology in passports.
The State Department has begun issuing "e-passports," with personal
data embedded on RFID chips, saying they would be more secure and faster to
by EPIC under the FOIA showed that the same tests found
the chip readers "require too much attention and time on the part of the
The test results show that e-passports are not as reliable as traditional passports.
reports by the Department
of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee and European
experts also recommend against the use of RFID tags in identity documents.