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Experiment raises questions about passport security

February 13, 2009 by  

How secure is your passport?Despite government claims that electronic passports take security to a new level, a researcher has proven their protection mechanisms are easy to break.

Chris Paget has demonstrated that it is possible to remotely scan and download information from passports issued with a chip approved by the Department of Homeland Security, according to darkreading.com.

What’s more, he did so using a $250 scanner he had purchased on eBay and a simple antenna installed in his car.

"This is just simply the wrong technology," Paget told the website. "My goal is to inform people about the risks with these things and how much impact it could have on your personal privacy and security if you don’t keep [these IDs] in a protective wallet or if you carry it on your person."

These findings are bound to alarm electronic passport owners, and they provide additional evidence of the government’s lax oversight in the area of privacy protection.

Last month a USA Today report listed several federal agencies which failed to appoint civil liberties protection officers and report to Congress on the efforts to safeguards private citizens’ personal information, including passport and medical data.
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