European Data Protection Digest

Researchers: E-Passports Vulnerable to Tracking

RFID—UK

January 29, 2010

Researchers in the UK claim to have identified a flaw in electronic passports being issued by the UK, U.S. and as many as 50 other countries that allow electronic eavesdroppers to track document holders as they enter and exit buildings, according to the Register. Using the newly discovered technique, researchers from the University of Birmingham say they do not need to know the cryptographic key embedded in the document's radio frequency identification (RFID) chip to track the holder, and that the only way to prevent someone from executing a traceability attack is by shielding the passport in a special pouch.
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