US to slap tourists with RFID

R.A. Hettinga rah at
Thu Jan 27 11:09:06 PST 2005


US to slap tourists with RFID
Jo Best
January 26, 2005

The US Department of Homeland Security has decided to trial RFID tags in an
effort to make sure only the right sort of people get across US borders.

 The controversial US-VISIT scheme for those visiting the US from abroad
already fingerprints holidaymakers on their way into the country and is now
adding RFID to the mix in order to improve border management, the
department said.

 The trials will start at a "simulated port" in the spring and will then be
extended to Nogales East and Nogales West in Arizona; Alexandria Bay in New
York; and Pacific Highway and Peace Arch in Washington by the end of July.

 The testing phase will continue until the spring of next year. The exact
way RFID will be used with the travellers is not yet known.

 RFID chips will be used to track both pedestrians and vehicles entering
the US to automatically record when the visitors arrive and leave in the

 So far, over 400 people have been turned away from the country or arrested
as a result of US-VISIT checks.

 US Under Secretary for Border & Transportation Security, Asa Hutchinson,
said in a statement: "Through the use of radio frequency technology, we see
the potential to not only improve the security of our country, but also to
make the most important infrastructure enhancements to the US land borders
in more than 50 years."

 The US government has already shown a marked fondness for the tagging
technology. The US Department of Defense mandated its suppliers to use the
technology, while the Food and Drug Administration is encouraging the
pharmaceutical industry to use the chips in an attempt to beat

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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