The State Department may be backing off a bit from its dumb-ass plan to embed radio frequency ID chips in passports, according to Wired News sleuth Kim Zetter.passport.jpgInstead of freely broadcasting to the world the passport-holder's personal information, the State Department is mulling the idea of requiring the "RFID reader to provide a key or password before it could read data embedded on a... passport's chip. It would also encrypt data as it's transmitted from the chip to a reader so that no one could read the data if they intercepted it in transit."Pretty Good Privacy creator Phil Zimmerman thinks the plan can "end the threat of skimming and eavesdropping" on the passports by potential evil-doers and identity thieves.But anti-RFID jihadist Bill Scannell notes that the chips would still contain a code that says the passport belongs to an American. "And for a lot of bad guys," he adds, "that would be enough."THERE'S MORE: Ryan Singel has the scoop on international reactions to the E-passports -- and what the government may be hiding about its RFID tests.AND MORE: Awww, yeah. "Responding to fears raised by privacy advocates that new electronic passports might be vulnerable to high-tech snooping, the State Department intends to modify the design so that an embedded radio chip holding a digitized photograph and biographical information is more secure," the Times reports.

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