Passport EZ Pass – Good or Evil?

The New York Times

today reports
on the privacy concerns of the newfangled chip-embedded passports that we’ll likely be given from now
on. The article says that the chips will contain personal information that might be vulnerable to electronic snooping
by anyone within several feet. The ACLU is against the passports, or at least is
suggesting the information be encrypted (and why wouldn’t it be anyway?) because otherwise “this is like putting an
invisible bull’s-eye on Americans that can be seen only by the terrorists.” Which seems a bit paranoid to me. The major
concern it seems should be identity thieves not terrorists, but the ACLU in a March letter to the FAA said they are
“increasingly concerned that the biometric travel document initiative is part and parcel of a larger surveillance
infrastructure monitoring the movement of individuals globally.”


Some countries such a Australia already embed chips in passports. The State Department, which issues about seven
million passports a year, hopes to begin issuing a limited number with chips early next year, initially to government

I dunno, maybe I’m apathetic, but it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to put chips in passports. Makes forgery more
difficult, perhaps will ease the travail of getting through the airport. Thoughts?