RFID Passport Pilot Test

passportIt seems that the United States’ RFID Passports (which has privacy advocates scared) is finally becoming a reality. According to MSNBC:

The US has begun issuing passports that contain biometric information stored on remotely readable microchips, in spite of lingering security and privacy concerns.

[…]

The passport chips contain all the personal information printed inside the passport, as well as a digitised photograph of the passport holder. At ports of entry, scanners will access these data and compare them with a national database for identity verification.

The new “E-Passports” have so far been issued only to US diplomats, as part of a pilot programme conducted in collaboration with Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. They will be introduced nationwide by October.

Is our government this dense?!? I mean come on…a security firm already demonstrated that they were able to crack the encryption on the passport prototypes. October will be a sad month for us all if the US keeps to its deadline.

Government Punches Google In The Face

punch.jpgBless Google. It seems that our handy-dandy Bush Administration wants to be able to sift through the data Google collects on users’ search results. According to Yahoo News, Google doesn’t like that much. Google says – and I’d have to agree with them – that providing that information is a violation of privacy rights. The article states:

The 18-page brief filed Friday argues that because the information provided would not identify or be traceable to specific users, privacy rights would not be violated.

[…]

The department believes the information will help revive an online child protection law that has been blocked by the
U.S. Supreme Court. By showing the wide variety of Web sites that people find through search engines, the government hopes to prove Internet filters are not strong enough to prevent children from viewing pornography and other inappropriate material online.

While the reasoning seems to be fueled by good intentions…it also seems like the government is trying to weasle in to get a hold of data that they could turn around and use for other purposes. Yay. The government gets an inch, they’ll stretch it a mile. Lets hope things go Google’s way come the hearing March 13th.