Unless you’re living in a cave, you know all about the new U.S. electronic passports, which made their grand debut yesterday.
Says CNET News:
Not long after researchers at a pair of security conferences in Las Vegas demonstrated potential risks associated with the new documents, the U.S. State Department insisted the documents are tamperproof and said it had begun producing them at the Colorado Passport Agency, which serves applicants from that state and the Rocky Mountain region.
The US State Department already has a fairly comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions website about the new electronic passports. About half of the official Q&A from the State Department is with regard to security. For example, the site claims “To prevent eavesdropping, Basic Access Control (BAC) is employed in the U.S. e-passport. BAC is similar to a PIN used in ATM or credit card transactions. In the case of the electronic passport, characters from the printed machine-readable zone of the passport must be read first in order to unlock the chip for reading. Thus, when an electronic passport is presented to an inspector, the inspector must scan the printed lines of data in order to be able to read the data on the chip.
More to come, so stay tuned!