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New York Issues RFID-Encoded Drivers Licenses 288

Posted by kdawson
from the tinfoil-hats-are-extra dept.
JagsLive passes along the intelligence that New York has become the second state to issue drivers licenses with RFID tags (Washington was the first). The new "enhanced drivers licenses" cost $30 more than the old ones. They can be used instead of a passport for entry into the US by land or sea (not air) from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Authorities say no personal information will be stored or transmitted by the chip, only an ID number that will be meaningless to anyone but DHS. Citizens of New York who prefer not to carry an identifying RFID chip can still get an old-style license.
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New York Issues RFID-Encoded Drivers Licenses

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  • Passport Card (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rob the Bold (788862) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:34PM (#25043675)
    I applied for a new passport this Summer, and it sounds like the new New York DL just includes a "Passport Card" [state.gov] in it. They're both for surface entry of the US from North American and Caribbean countries. The additional DL fee is $30, but a new Passport Card is $45, $20 if you already have a passport book. As such, privacy concerns would be exactly the same as with a new Passport or Passport Card.
  • Re:Not by air? (Score:5, Informative)

    by swimin (828756) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:35PM (#25043687)

    Because its a convenient and commonplace ID, that is usually issued by every state in a form that also allows nondrivers to get one too.

  • Re:Not by air? (Score:3, Informative)

    by FireStormZ (1315639) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:35PM (#25043689)

    ummm drivers license, not license plate... and a license is easier to lose.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:43PM (#25043833) Homepage Journal

    the residents have the option to get the cheaper RFID-free license? Who's going to choose to willingly pay more

    Many people forget how many cities in Upstate New York are close to the border. I cross the border on average 2-3 times per year by car myself. Currently I have to carry my passport to get back in - if I could go back to just carrying my driver's license, I would be much happier. Loosing a driver's license is a pretty minor expense in comparison to loosing a passport - and driver's licenses are generally replaced quite quickly here in NY state.

  • Re:Not by air? (Score:3, Informative)

    by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:47PM (#25043901)

    Unfortunately most states only allow you to get one or the other -- if you are licensed to drive you may not obtain a non-drivers ID.

  • Re:You'd be Wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by Frigga's Ring (1044024) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:49PM (#25043933)

    An RFID anything has a range measured in inches normally.

    I don't think you need to look further than Defcon to see the fun things you can do with RFID tags. In fact, if I recall correctly, at Defcon 13, they read an RFID token from at least 69 feet away.

  • Re:You'd be Wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by mpapet (761907) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:55PM (#25044027) Homepage

    there have been several demostrations of people able to read RFID tags at a significantly greater distance with the right hardware.

    And what exactly will they discover? Some long string of bytes that's all. What do the bytes mean? You watch too many movies where these bytes lead to some impossible story progression.

    Well, obviously the border crossings have a scanner, otherwise what would the point be?

    Are there scanners now? Are they compatible? That's a non-obvious question, but very relevant in the contactless world.

    That's irrelelvant so long as the RFID is optional. And presumably by the time it is not optional, you'll actually *need* that tag in order to do things.

    You make my point for me very nicely thank you. What are these magical uses besides border crossings? Do you understand that presenting the card without rfid functionality will be required at least in my lifetime? Does the State have access to the format of the bytes stored on the card? Again, you watch too many movies.

  • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:56PM (#25044049)

    Loosing a driver's license is a pretty minor expense in comparison to loosing a passport - and driver's licenses are generally replaced quite quickly here in NY state.

    It's true! Loose passports sink ships. Or something like that. So remember to tighten your passports, folks!

  • Are you stupid? (Score:3, Informative)

    by raehl (609729) <raehl311@nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @03:08PM (#25044251) Homepage

    A driver's license is used because it meets the requirement for government-issued photo-identification. You can also use a state-issued ID card any time you would use a driver's license EXCEPT for driving. It just so happens that most adults want to be licensed to drive, so if they need a driver's license anyway, there's not much point in ALSO having a state ID card.**

    You can NOT use your pet owner's license card or your hunting license card (depending on the state and purpose, your hunting license might be acceptable) because they generally do not require as rigorous a verification of identity as a state ID or driver's license.

    ** Although I used to have a state ID card AND a state driver's license when I was younger and lived in IL so that I could still get in the bar when they cops took my license as bond for the speeding tickets. (Fortunately I've lost my youthful good looks*** and my lead foot and neither is an issue anymore.)

    *** Ok, fine, the looks were never good, but they were at least youthful.

  • by mpapet (761907) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @03:48PM (#25044877) Homepage

    Until somebody gets the string of bytes from his own card and figures out that f( his_ssn ) = stream_of_bytes, tries it on a few friends' cards for verification, and then figures out an inverse function.

    Again, you assume you know how this works and rely on Minority Report/V for Vendetta moviethink. When the reality is so completely different I won't bother wasting any more time on it.

  • Re:Not by air? (Score:2, Informative)

    by dwiget001 (1073738) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @04:16PM (#25045277)

    Well, to answer you question:

    Years ago, in California, you could have both, and I did for this reason:

    1) If I lost my driver's license and only had it, I could not cash checks or do anything else (at the time) that required an ID.

    2) With lost driver's license, I could A) get to the DMV, show them my State ID and easily get the replacement driver's license stuff done. I did not have a copy of my birth certificate at the time, and the one time I actually needed the State ID (having lost my driver's license) it came in very handy.

    However, current state I live in, you can have only one or the other, not both. But, I have a passport now and copy of birth certificate as backups in case of losing driver's license as an ID.

  • by beef curtains (792692) * on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @04:24PM (#25045351)

    What's the difference between a border guard scanning an RFID chip in order to pull up all kinds of information on you, versus said border guard typing your name, drivers license number, and license-issuing state code into a search form to pull up said information?

    This is mostly a rhetorical question, but I'd say the only difference is the amount you waste standing there as you watch the border guard hunt-and-peck your name, realize he mistyped your name, backspace-backspace-backspace, retype your name, (repeat with drivers license number) and hit enter.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, how does having all of your records linked to a code stored in an RFID chip really differ all that much from having all of your records link to your name/drivers license number?

    That being said, I totally agree with your "theater of defense" comment...no amount of RFID chips, confiscated laptops, and cavity searches will do anything to prevent a highly-motivated terrorist from perpetrating whatever asshattery he's got in mind, especially when a bunch of armchair geeks like us /.ers can come up with workarounds in less time than it takes to vote in the latest /. poll.

    Tight security at a Canadian border crossing? Sneak across the border via some dirt logging trail in northern Minnesota. Border guards confiscating laptops? Encrypt the doc & Gmail it to yourself as an attachment. TSA performing cavity searches? Don't hide stuff in your keister (or if you absolutely must hide stuff in your keister, stick to that logging trail in Minnesota).

    The vast majority of people affected by stuff like this are law-abiding folks to whom the government wants to demonstrate: "Check it out, we're keeping you safe! These are your tax dollars at work! Vote Quimby!"

  • Re:Not by air? (Score:3, Informative)

    by extrasolar (28341) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @04:28PM (#25045383) Homepage Journal

    Also your driver's license is a photo ID that is registered by the government. But it doesn't bother me that much, and most places will accept other forms of ID, though not a pet license :) Usually military service cards will work.

    But that doesn't bother me as much as social security numbers being universally required. Here's a hint for anyone who isn't aware: You really aren't required to hand over your SSN to anyone who asks. When I apply for a job I write in that I'll provide my SSN after I'm hired. But whenever there's a form you have to fill out for some reason that asks for SSN, make sure you ask what that number is used for and whether it's really necessary. "Just for documentation purposes" isn't a valid reason.

  • Re:Meaningless? (Score:3, Informative)

    by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:54PM (#25046349) Journal
    OR BY ELECTRONIC MEANS. Have you checked the magstrip on the back yet?
  • MISINFORMATION!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @12:37AM (#25050791)
    I looked into this further. Washington is indeed issuing "enhanced information" licenses... but that information is printed in a pixel code on the back of the card. It is NOT RFID!!!

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