California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have seen an option for radio frequency identification tags in driver's licenses. RFID tags would have been voluntary, but they would have also opened up situations in which licenses with tags are expected, making them mandatory.
The problem with RFID tags is that they could be the target of hacks and security breaches, and the idea of including them in licenses has alarmed privacy advocates ever since the bill was proposed.
The RFID tags could have linked a person's background to the driver's license, letting people scanning the license know of a person's race, citizenship status, criminal history and so on without even coming into contact with that person. The goal was to make things like crossing the United States-Mexico border easier and quicker, however the security concerns seem to have outweighed convenience for Brown.
A number of states, including New York, Michigan and Washington, all have voluntary RFID programs and some private companies have been implementing RFID tags to watch employees. Despite this, research has proven that hackers would be able to read RFID chips at differing distances without the user ever knowing, making them vulnerable to things like skimming and cloning.
Despite vetoing the bill, Brown did suggest that he was in favor of the point of the bill, which was to speed up border crossings. It is likely that we will see more methods of speeding up border crossings in the near future.
Via: Ars Technica
Photo: Phil Konstantin | Flickr