Digital encryption is taking a new course with the advent of ID-chip embedded passports that are due to be issued in the U.S. this year. Digital encryption technology enables sensitive and secure data to be manipulated and transferred electronically for verification; with the increase in today’s security measures and traveler’s anxieties about personal safety, an E-passport may be just what the majority of travelers need.
The International Civil Aviation Organization has been developing and evolving the concept over the past few years, with a strong move toward electronic verification systems that can offer high-security opportunities for the majority of travelers. The ID chip would be difficult to falsify, and it would work in addition to other ID tags such as fingerprints, eye scanning systems, and other digital traveler-profiling strategies.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is being used in a variety of tools for tagging, finding, and retrieving information such as barcodes, personal data, and even physical inventory. The concept is based on retrieving data from radio waves embedded onto a label-style material. Today, it’s often used in library systems, bookstores, and other retail establishments to track and manage inventory effectively. RFID tags may also be used at grocery stores in the near future as customers become accustomed to simply scanning items directly from their grocery carts as they pass by an RFID scanner. The New York City subway system is using the technology to allow people to pay for tickets easily with a quick and simple scanning system. Transit fare collection, as well as payments at the gas pump,are two other avenues where speed of service can be dramatically improved with the option of quick scanning in place.
Human implants of RFID tags are not too far off either; consider that some nightclubs in Barcelona are offering implanted chips for frequent guests and VIP customers. The concept itself seems akin to a sci-fi movie or scene from ‘The Matrix.’ High-security establishments and offices may offer this to employees. In an effort to track and maintain confidentiality and exclusive control of important data access, the Mexican Attorney General’s office reportedly implanted 18 of its staff members with the ‘Verichip’ in 2004 (www.spychips.com). RFID technology is poised to evolve in a variety of industries, but using it for e-passports opens up new avenues for increased and enhanced security measures. The tags are embedded with the traveler’s personal details, identification protocol, and of course a picture that can be retrieved on screen.
With increased airport identification and security tools in the works, travelers may be able to ease anxieties about travel security and safety. RFID E-passports are just one opportunity for increased security measures, and the technology itself is advancing towards a variety of industries to increase efficiency, smoother transactions, and encrypting vital data.