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Home > Past Releases and Reports > Privacilla to U.S. State Department: No RFID Tags in U.S. Passports

For Immediate Release
February 23, 2005

Contact: Jim Harper

(202) 218-4602

Privacilla to U.S. State Department: No RFID Tags in U.S. Passports

Radio Frequency Identification Technology Is Good for Products, Not People

Washington, D.C. — filed comments today with the U.S. Department of State objecting to putting Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags in passports, which all Americans must carry when traveling abroad.

RFID tags are tiny computer chips that store information and communicate it on cue to a special reader. The State Department intends to start issuing RFID-chipped passports, with unencrypted personal information on the chips, later this year.

Selected quotes from the comments follow:

  • "The proposed Electronic Passport rule is inappropriately cavalier about placing citizens’ personal information, unencrypted, on an RFID chip that must be carried in order to travel."

  • "RFID is good for products, not people."

  • "The use of RFID rather than some other technology or even the status quo is not justified."

  • "Rather than following international bureaucratic consensus, the Department of State should lead organizations like the International Civil Aviation Organization toward standards that protect the privacy of all international travelers."

Privacilla's comments on the U.S. State Departments Electronic Passports proposal can be found at: ( is an innovative Web site that captures "privacy" as a public policy issue. Privacilla has been described as a "privacy policy portal" and an "online think-tank."


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