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Germany To Roll Out ID Cards With Embedded RFID 235

An anonymous reader writes "The production of RFID chips, an integral element of the new generation of German identity cards, has started after the government gave a 10-year contract to the chipmaker NXP in the Netherlands. Citizens will receive the mandatory new ID cards starting from the first of November. The new card allows German authorities to identify people with speed and accuracy, the government said. These authorities include the police, customs and tax authorities and of course the local registration and passport granting authorities. There are some concerns that the use of RFID chips will pose a security or privacy risk, however. Early versions of the electronic passports, using RFID chips with a protocol called 'basic access control' (BAC), were successfully hacked by university researchers and security experts."
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Germany To Roll Out ID Cards With Embedded RFID

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  • EU passports (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:21AM (#33330382)

    New EU passports have RFID already. This is just a replacement for the barcode, right? The ID shouldn't have any information on it. If the implementers were smart ...

  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @06:00AM (#33330526)

    This is just a replacement for the barcode, right?

    Even if it were, it would be dangerous. Giving someone remote access to your passport/ID card number is a security risk by itself.

    They already have your face, anyone can take a picture of your face without you knowing it. If they can create a fake document matching that face to the right document number that's a big step towards stealing your identity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @06:35AM (#33330652)

    It's a near field communication chip, which isn't easily readable from more than a few centimeters away.

  • by k.a.f. ( 168896 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @06:55AM (#33330738)
    The federal ID card is not "mandatory" in any sense except that you may have to show it for certain very fundamental occasions, notably voting. (May have to show, I should add - the last two federal elections I wasn't even asked for the ID card, just for my voter's notification.) You have to actively go out, apply for an ID card and pay the fee to get one. You can live a long and productive live and never use your ID at all, unless you're a lawyer by profession or get arrested a lot... Also, the new chip ID will be issued starting in September - it will be a long time until even a majority has one. I got an old-style ID in July, so I'm good until 2020, and even then I won't give my fingerprint for it, that's an optional feature (it's only required for international passports).

    So, overall - yeah, this is a deal, but it's a lot less big a deal than the summary makes it sound like.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:25AM (#33330812)

    But what kind of idiot keeps his wallet in back pocket?

  • by agw ( 6387 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:32AM (#33330828)
    It's not like we didn't have ID cards in Germany before. Everyone already has an ID card and a number.
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @07:52AM (#33330884)

    you'd think history would have taught them to maximize personal liberties, not to diminish them in any way?

    Second World War was generations ago. The lessons have been forgotten, so authoritarianism and militarism are once again on the rise in Europe, and will once again lead to the world burning. That will be followed by the survivors being horrified of what they have seen and done, and swearing "never again", but a few generations later things will deteriorate again. That is the cycle of human history, and it cannot be broken, since no matter what lessons you might learn, your children won't, and their children certainly won't care.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @08:12AM (#33330946) Journal

    You could have a card with RFID which embeds a key that unlocks data in the database. Since governments have control over the database one wouldn't have to worry much their data being looked at by unauthorised staff and if the database was ever stolen only your physical card could unlock it.

    You obviously have a very different government to mine. If it's in a government database in the UK, the odds are that copies of it will be posted to the wrong address on unencrypted DVD-Rs, left on hard drives on trains or in taxies, leaked to the press, or used by council employees for private purposes.

    A better solution is not to store the information in either place. Store it on the passport in encrypted form and store the encryption key in the central database (or vice versa). You then need to both do a database query and scan the passport to have access to the data. If someone gets a copy of the database, it's no use to them without the passports. If someone steals a passport, they can't access the information on it.

  • by no-body ( 127863 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:56AM (#33331438)

    Yes, mandatory chip implant...
    If you are without: Please come to the side and put your arms on the back. Click (handcuffs)- pfft, there you go, now you have one.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:23AM (#33331922)

    "It may never heppen, but it is quite possible for all nations to band together and guarantee welfare for all human beings"

    That's utter babble, not insight. It is theoretically possible for winged monkeys to fly out my arse, but it isn't likely.

    What you are proposing is Communism, which has the minor drawback of containing the seeds of its own destruction in the power structures it must have to be made government.

    It makes no sense for everyone that has anything to sacrifice themselves for their less-accomplished, less-competent, culturally-self-destructive fellow humans who will just drink the well dry. Why should I want to live in a mud hut so everyone else can live in mud hut?

    Do-gooder humans have an interesting tendency to ignore likely outcomes of implementing their ideas.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @02:23PM (#33333216)

    "Unfortunately, they will also make perfect bomb triggers, when the target walks by."

    Plinking Alfred Herrhausen (to use a German example) was quite the coup. RFID-triggered ordnance could be smaller and even more precise.

  • by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @02:49PM (#33333392)

    I don't know, we live in a vastly different world than the ones before us. We are continuously confronted with what war achieves. Together with that, the introduction of the Euro means that we Europeans are very much in trouble together when we start a war with our neighbor. The history of the world is changing very rapidly, if there was any cycle it might well and truly be broken by now.

    The most aggressive country by far is the US. It makes war with countries that never even threatened the US. It takes the drug war outside it's borders and destabilizes large parts of the world because of it (instead of ending their own problems with poverty). That the US does not have any wars inside of its borders (and outside of prisons) does not mean that there is no war there. So let the first country without sin cast the first stone.

    The most troubling thing for me is the economic stability. If masses of people get out of work and there is mass poverty, then political correctness is the first to suffer (like in pre-Nazi Germany, were the nation went bankrupt after the first world war).

  • by dbcad7 ( 771464 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:31PM (#33334272)
    Although you may not be a troll, your information comes from bad movies, or old ones maybe.. Don't know.. If you could get past a little paranoia, and sense of superiority, and actually travel to Europe.. I think you would be shocked at how wrong your view of the world is.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham