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Thursday, December 01, 2005
IT'S SUMMER 2007, AND THE PARIS AND LONDON FLIGHTS HAVE ARRIVED SIMULTANEOUSLY at IAD. They're packed with passengers, like you, jet lagged and impatient to clear customs. But this time, instead of seeing the usual line that inches along as immigration officials scrutinize every passport, you watch formalities become a breeze as travelers wave their passports over an electronic scanner. This scenario will start to become a reality next year when the State Department begins issuing scannable passports, with digitalized photographs and embedded RFID (electronic tracking) chips containing name, date of birth, andother personal data. These "electronic passports" also will include holograms, security link, and other anti-counterfeiting safeguards.However, some security experts fear that the State Department may have underestimated the transmission range of its RFID chips and that microchip readers could be used nefariously outside the States to scan crowds and identify traveling Americans. Privacy advocates also worry that the chips might permit merchants and marketers to electronically "skim" personal data from your passport's microchips. Angela Aggeler of the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs says that, based on these concerns, the agency is retesting the range of ots RFID chips. She anticpates that the process will conclude late this year and that the new passports will begin being issued in early 2006; you'll get your when you either apply for a new passport or renew your old one.

(Source: HEMISHPHEREMAG/by: Bill Whitman)


American citizens presently using driver's licenses or photo ID's to travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, Panama or the Carribean soon will be required to use passports. New border security legislation will require American and foreign national tourists, shoppers, students and other border crossers entering the United States after December 31,2007, to show passports or "other accepted documents" at all ports of entry. This means that, starting in 2008, Americans and travelers arriving from Canada, Mexico, and other Western Hemisphere countries will be treated like those entering the States from, say, Europe or the Far East. It's certain to have a dramatic effect, particularly on U.S. citizens returning from holidays in Canada or Mexico and the many thousands of Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans who cross those borders to shop or work. For details about the new rule and the latest on its scheduled phase-in, visit travel.state.gov.
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:55 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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