I like RFID. I don’t like that the new passports issued by the United States, the European Union and other countries have radio-frequency identification chips.

I first wrote about this in November 2006, and in “Passports in lead foil” recommended shielding such important documents in an RFID-blocking enclosure.

During the opening general session at this year’s JavaOne, James Gosling alluded to the problem very clearly. While praising how JavaOne uses RFID chips to count the attendees in crowded classrooms, he decried their use in passports: “Hi, I’m an American. Can you detonate the closest device?”

Thanks, James, for raising the visibility of this issue. Not that it’s going to do any good. RFID is undoubtedly here to stay.

Fortunately, RFID-shielded passport holders are now readily available. For example, here’s one on Amazon.com for only $19.99.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick
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