Dept. of State Issues Final Rule on choice of "vicinity read" radio frequency identification technology for passport card

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 2, 2008

“…the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) provides that United States citizens and nonimmigrant aliens may enter the United States only with passports or such alternative documents as the Secretary of Homeland Security may designate as satisfactorily establishing identity and citizenship… The vicinity RFID electronic chip contains only one item of information–a unique identifying number that has meaning only inside the secure CBP computer system. No other form of personally identifiable information, such as name, date of birth, SSN, place of birth etc., will be electronically stored on the passport card or transmitted through RFID. All personal information will be contained in DHS systems and will only be accessible by authorized personnel through secure networks. Upon receipt of the passport card number, the border crosser’s personal information will be downloaded from the CBP system and provided to the CBP officer. The CBP officer will then interview the individual, verify their identities, and determine the appropriate action to take. The WHTI passport card approach was not designed to be an automated system, and the use of vicinity RFID technology in this final rule reflects this reality. Rather, the RFID-based approach allows the CBP officers to do their jobs better and faster.” [Federal Register: December 31, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 249)][Rules and Regulations][Page 74169-74173]

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