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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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  • Not by air? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:25PM (#25043511)

    What a waste then.

    Why not just get a regular drivers license and a passport as two different pieces of identity.

  • Meaningless? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by einer (459199) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:25PM (#25043515) Journal

    Meaningless to anyone but DHS until some nitwit with an unencrypted drive on their laptop leaves it in an airport lounge.

    This is just monumentally stupid. Seriously. A monument is required to commemorate this epically stupid idea. I'm thinking a huge statue of a DHS lacky shrugging their shoulders. Preferably with an Alfred E. Neumann "What Me Worried?" look on their mug.

  • Meaningless? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by McGregorMortis (536146) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:27PM (#25043543)

    A Social Security number is "meaningless". It's just an identifier. But it's a number that uniquely identifies you, and if other people get their hands on it, or are able to spoof it, then than meaningless number can have adverse effects on your life.

    How is this "meaningless" identifier any different?

  • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:28PM (#25043555) Homepage

    All someone needs to do is correlate your ID# with you (easy enough to do on many occasions). Once you have that, its no longer a meaningless ID number, but a unique personal tracking number.

  • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:31PM (#25043611)

    Citizens of New York who prefer not to carry an identifying RFID chip can still get an old-style license.

    And those who refuse will go right on the master list under "troublemaker/refusnik/something to hide/potential terrorist."

  • Re:Not by air? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:32PM (#25043643) Homepage

    I don't know... I'm tempted to question why a driver's license is used as ID in the first place. It's a license to drive a car, but people treat it like it's a universal ID and everyone is supposed to have one.

    Why not your license to own a pet? Or... I don't know, your license to be a lifeguard? Your license to carry a gun?

    Like why should having a license to drive be taken as proof of identity and authorization to leave/enter the country?

  • by kiehlster (844523) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:38PM (#25043741) Homepage
    If your kids are going to college near the Canadian border, and they insist on paying for an "enhanced driver's license", you know they will be taking trips to Canada to go drinking. I can only imagine some money was shipped over from Canada to pay off legislators to approve this. Obviously there is no other reason to go to Canada, and who would fly over to go drinking anyway?
  • Re:Hold on.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:40PM (#25043767)

    "Citizens of New York who prefer not to carry an identifying RFID chip can still get an old-style license."

    Wait a second here.. the RFID licenses are $30 more expensive than regular licenses, yet the residents have the option to get the cheaper RFID-free license? Who's going to choose to willingly pay more to be tracked more effectively? Aero

    I don't know, maybe people who travel to and from Canada on a frequent basis who don't want to have to remember their passport?

  • by Manip (656104) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:42PM (#25043807)

    Considering how easy RFIDs are to fake and how much they want to automate authentication the technology will be easier to bypass than the old fashioned 3D hologram was.

    People assume that just because its new then no bad guy will be able to figure it out... And that worked on Police Radios for like ten years before all the bad guys had scanners.

    Security though obscurity at its worst. My 2c.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:43PM (#25043825) Homepage Journal

    [The several states] yield only a portion of their sovereignty to the Federal government to keep the British at bay.

    "Portion" went out the window with the Supreme Court's expansion of the scope of "commerce among the several states" in Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942) [wikipedia.org].

  • by Reziac (43301) * on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:50PM (#25043965) Homepage Journal

    And since when did Canada become the enemy?? it irks me no end that I, a birth-citizen of the United States, now need a passport (or equivalent, such as this ID) to go to and from a country that when I was a kid, you just walked or drove or flew across the border and the crossing guard (if any) would smile and wave and say have a nice day. Explain to me how ME and YOU waving around a trackable ID makes the U.S. any "safer"??

    As to how it makes the U.S. boundaries more like the Iron Curtain, that needs no explaining. Komrade! Your papers please!!

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

    by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @03:10PM (#25044281) Journal
    My point is that we do it out of tradition and convenience, but not because it's any kind of a well thought out system.

    That, and the fact that every time some sort of national ID card comes up people start screaming about infringing on rights, etc.
  • Re:You'd be Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cajun Hell (725246) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @03:20PM (#25044449) Homepage Journal

    And what exactly will they discover? Some long string of bytes that's all.

    A unique string of bytes. It's different for every person, but it's the same every time you read the same person, so you just need to tie it to identifying info once. Walk past a reader, buy something with debit card, and upload the tuple to a server. Now when you walk by a different reader, doubleclick knows who you are.

    It's a cookie.

    You watch too many movies where these bytes lead to some impossible story progression.

    That would be Minority Report.

  • Re:You'd be Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomz16 (992375) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @03:23PM (#25044511)

    And why does it have to be contactless for ANY of the proposed applications?

    Am I the only one who fails to see the push for RFID in identifying cards? I've use my mastercard with RFID chip at the local supermarket. It's really NO more convenient than the magstripe... but it DOES open up the possibility that someone could clone my card from a few feet away!!! Furthermore, I don't see how this benefits the CC company. I've never had a magstripe on a credit card wear out before the bank sent me a new one (and I use my credit card at least once or twice a day)...

    If you really are JUST storing an identifier on the drivers license, wouldn't a barcode or magstripe accomplish the same thing, AND be MUCH more secure? My current NYS drivers license has one of those fancy 2D looking barcodes. Isn't that sufficient for storing an ID number? If it isn't, then what about just printing another one of those. There's plenty of space! Not only would that be cheaper (hardware is currently in place), but it would also be impossible to probe from dozens of feet away!

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

    by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @03:53PM (#25044935)

    And what exactly will they discover? Some long string of bytes that's all.

    And where that string of bytes travels. No longer do you have to present your license ; the RFID can be read at a distance. You don't need to know the format ; the number should be unique in any given system. All you need is to associate that number with the person.

    Corporate? They'll scan you at the counter and tie your RFID to your payment card details or loyalty card. Now they know when you walk into the store, which aisles you hover around, which things to send you coupons for.

    Once the corporates have the data it's only a matter of time before someone cracks it, steals it, loses their laptop on a train. Everyone will know your license RFID and your SS number.

    Government? They'll know which buildings you walk into. Libraries, hospitals, police stations.

    A contact card might have some technical issues, but you can't read it without the owners consent, unless you ping him down and rifle through his wallet.

  • Re:You'd be Wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NoisySplatter (847631) <noisysplatter@nOspam.gmail.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @04:16PM (#25045267)
    And then he realizes he was dreaming and the number on the card was arbitrarily assigned and isn't a social security number.
  • Re:You'd be Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ben2umbc (1090351) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:18PM (#25045889)

    Now when you walk by a different reader, doubleclick knows who you are.

    Oh no. You mean there will be targeted ads for stuff we might buy? The world will turn into a real life Amazon.com or Netflix, "Hello, Bob. You bought lingerie, hand cuffs and black duct tape last time. Similar buyers also bought whips."

    Thats funny, but that will be possible in the future. A system is possible using:

    • video cameras or other form of biometrics sensing technology
    • RFID
    • and your frequent shopper or credit card

    to

    • identify you when you walk into the store
    • know your past purchases
    • items you may have picked up and looked at but did not purchase
    • and know whether you prefer regular or low fat

    It may be possible already, if not, then soon.

  • Re:You'd be Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:27PM (#25045971) Journal
    I hate to undo moderation, but the obviousness of this seems necessary to comment on. We're moving toward a police state and the infrastructure needs to be in place to facilitate it. Magstripes need to be passed through a reader and you can only scan people one at a time. If everyone has an RFID chip, you can scan a whole area at a time. Think holding pens and you're getting close. Think crowds at stadiums or other public venues. It's already illegal (at least in California) to not carry a drivers license with you. I imagine within ten years the police will have scanners on their cars so that during traffic stops they can more easily determine the occupants of a vehicle that they pull over.

    Privacy is so long gone it's frightening. The "if you don't have anything to hide" meme has been swallowed hook, line and sinker by enough of the population that whole sale loss of privacy is the way forward from here. Once the system is in place its only a matter of time until it gets dragged into everything. Lets say you get into an accident but can't find any witnesses. I'm sure lawyers will be clamoring for access to the databases to subpeona potential witnesses. Too close to a murder scene? You'll be talking to detectives shortly. Living next door to a drug dealer? Oops, you were within 100 meters so you're a possible drug user according to the latest "proximity to potential criminality" algorithms.

I am here by the will of the people and I won't leave until I get my raincoat back. - a slogan of the anarchists in Richard Kadrey's "Metrophage"

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