California Abruptly Drops Plan to Implant RFID Chips in Driver’s Licenses
September 3, 2013
Following complaints from privacy groups, California lawmakers on Friday suspended legislation to embed radio-frequency identification chips, or RFIDs, in its driver’s licenses and state identification cards. The legislation, S.B. 397, was put on hold by the state Assembly Appropriations Committee, despite it having been approved by the California Senate, where it likely will be re-introduced in the coming months. Had the measure passed, it would have transformed the Sunshine State’s standard form of ID into one of the most sophisticated identification documents in the country, mirroring the four other states that have embraced the spy-friendly technology.
Radio-frequency identification devices already are a daily part of the electronic age — found in passports, library and payment cards, school identification cards and eventually are expected to replace bar-code labels on consumer goods.
Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington have already begun embedding drivers licenses with the tiny transceivers, and linking them to a national database — complete with head shots — controlled by the Department of Homeland Security. The enhanced cards can be used to re-enter the U.S. at a land border without a passport.
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