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Secure ID Coalition Launched

Smart cards and electronic passports seem to be on the immediate horizon. Consider an article from GovExec.com, Firms launch security card coalition.

From the Homeland Security Daily Wire on the issue:

More and more, government agencies on the federal and state level contemplate, or even mandate, the incorporation of RFID technology into various IDs and documents. Privacy advocates are trying to push back, arguing that the new technology poses a threat to privacy. It is thus a good time for a group of identification card and computer chip manufacturers to form a new industry coalition dedicated to educating lawmakers about secure card technologies.

The Secure ID Coalition will promote contact-less smart cards instead of those relying on radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips, and will focus on state-level issues. One major goal is to prevent state lawmakers from prohibiting technologies sold or relied on by coalition members. Pending bills in California, for instance, would outlaw the use or RFIDs in driver's licenses and school ID cards.

There is a question though. At the recent Black Hat Security Conference in Las Vegas, hackers demonstrated how to clone one of these RFID chips. How important is this? Apparently not too important at all since the government is starting the rollout of the electronic passport this month. Besides, based on other information, cloning does not permit modification of the information.

However, the ability to clone these highly secure RFID chips does raise questions of the security of other RFIDs being used and mandated for tracking products such as pharmaceuticals where modifying the information is not an issue in substituting counterfeit drugs in the supply chain.