According to Wired, it looks as if the US government is steaming ahead with plans to incorporate remotely readable microchips into new passports, starting later this year.
Critics - of whom Wired says there are many, including at least two associations of business travelers - contend that the chips will readable from as much as 10 meters away (depending on the strength of the reader), making holders of these passports uniquely vulnerable to ID theft. Some note that the new passports also would make it easy for, say, terrorists to pick US citizens out of a crowd. Oh, how reassuring.
The government so far has declined to encrypt the data on the passport chips. It also has refused to use another method, such as a printed barcode or the optical-memory based "Laser Visa" cards the State Department issues to frequent travelers from Mexico, that would not be so vulnerable.
Care to learn more, register a complaint, or read others' comments? Check out RFIDkills.com, which is collecting public comments through Monday, April 4, the end of the official federal comment period.