New RFID ID card to replace passports among Western Hemisphere countries

Published 18 January 2006

U.S. government unveils a plan to equip citizens of several countries in the Western Hemisphere with a biometric card which could serve as a passport substitute

DHS and the Department of State launched new initiatives to deal with how people are screened and approved for entering the United States. No new requirements will be placed on people entering the country, a senior State Department official told reporters. “All we’re trying to do is … make it easier to comply with the requirements that are already on the books.” One of the initiatives calls for creating a new card the size of a driver’s license which can substitute as a passport for U.S. citizens. This new passport card will have an embedded RFID technology to transmit information to U.S. border personnel at ports of entry. The State Department is developing the card to comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which requires all travelers to and from the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, and Canada to have documentation that establishes their identity and nationality.

-read more in this DHS news release; and see this Wall Street Journal report

MORE: The United States will make greater use of what the U.S. government calls “travel intelligence,” or methods of linking databases to try to detect terrorists before they travel. The renewed emphasis on travel intelligence came at the event in which Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced several travel security initiatives. Report