Are new passports [an] identity-theft risk?

Perry E. Metzger perry at
Fri Oct 22 08:40:27 EDT 2004

Ian Grigg <iang at> writes:
> R.A. Hettinga wrote:
>> <>
>>  An engineer and RFID expert with Intel claims there is little danger of
>> unauthorized people reading the new passports. Roy Want told the newssite:
>> "It is actually quite hard to read RFID at a distance," saying a person's
>> keys, bag and body interfere with the radio waves.
> Who was it that pointed out that radio waves don't
> interfere, rather, receivers can't discriminate?

I don't know who *else* has said it, but I've said this repeatedly at
conferences. With phased arrays, you should be able to read RFID tags
at surprising distances, and in spite of attempts to jam such signals
(such as RSA's proposed RFID privacy mechanism).

This isn't terribly surprising but for the fact that most people don't
think in terms of the fact that you can spatially discriminate radio


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