REAL ID Act and RFID: Privacy and Legal Implications

Presented at The Last HOPE (2008), July 19, 2008, 8 p.m. (60 minutes)

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a practical and useful technology for locating items without the requisite close proximity as needed with older technology, such as bar codes. However, new technologies such as RFID "powder," internal and external pre-crime detectors, and insertion into children's clothing and other personal items have pros and cons associated with the practicality of its use. In addition, RFID use in access control, identification documents, and banking cards, while convenient and illegal to jam, may lack important security features to prevent unauthorized scanning and usage of the data contained. The REAL ID Act mandates using RFID in ID cards that most Americans should carry for domestic airline travel and must carry for international travel. This discussion will examine current RFID technology and security concerns as well as how the RFID technology implemented in REAL ID Act cards and passports may pose privacy and security risks.


  • Tiffany Strauchs Rad
    Tiffany Strauchs Rad is the president of ELCnetworks, LLC., a technology and business development consulting firm with offices in Portland, Maine and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her consulting projects have included defensive patenting for startups and security consulting for biohazard �Hot Zones� at the CDC. She is also a part-time professor in the computer science department at the University of Southern Maine teaching computer law and ethics. Her academic background includes study of international law and policy at Oxford University in England, Tsinghua University in Beijing, Maine School of Law, as well as intellectual property at Franklin Pierce Law School in Concord, New Hampshire.


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