US to require RFID passports by 2006

The US State Department issued its final ruling that starting in October 2006 all US passports issued will be required to have RFID tags that contain the same data traditionally displayed in a passport. The government plans to carry out a trial run of the program using government employees by the end of the year. The first roll outs for non-governmental travelers will begin early next year.

Information to be stored on the RFID tags includes name, nationality, date of birth, place of birth and a digitized photo, as well as the passport number, issue date, expiration date and type of passport. The e-passport will be verified using an RFID interrogator, which can access the data up to 10 cm away. Some critics of the e-passport claim the State Department lacks the congressional authority to issue such passports, while others claim the program infringes on privacy rights. The government has yet to announce vendors for the RFID program.

For more on the State Department's final ruling on RFID embedded passports:
- check out this article from the RFID Journal