Mar 18 2009

Air France puts digital fingerprints in RFID boarding passes

Yesterday (just in time for tomorrow’s planned strike by French air traffic controllers, which is expected to force the cancellation of many of their flights), Air France began a public beta test of what they are calling a “smartboarding” card, as depicted in this video (and third-party videos in English and another in French) and photos and as described in this press release:

This new system is a world first. With a personal card which contains the latest biometric technology (encrypted fingerprints), RFID (radio frequency identification) and thermal printing (the back of the card can be reused up to 500 times), these passengers will be able to board through a dedicated portal whenever they choose.

Developed together with Citizengate, the smartboarding® service has 4 stages:

1. In a special office at the airport (Paris-Charles de Gaulle Terminal 2F), customers can obtain their personal smartboarding® card in just a few minutes which is immediately operational. During registration, all the customer’s identity information (surname, first name, Flying Blue membership number), as well as their encrypted fingerprints is transmitted to the smart card. This registration stage is only carried out once and no files are kept by Air France. Read More

Mar 18 2009

NPR parrots the government line on RFID passports

Today’s edition of “All Things Considered” includes a puff piece on e-passports with embedded RFID chips, based entirely on propaganda statements by government spokespeople.  For the other side of the story that NPR didn’t bother to cover, see the listener comments in NPRs blog, our previous articles on RFID chips in government-issued identity documents, and reports elsewhere on how RFID passports facilitate ID theft, how the globally unique ID numbers on the RFID chips facilitate surveillance, how the encryption used for the rest of the data on the RFID chip has already been cracked, and how space has already been reserved in the data structure on the chip for logs of travelers’ movements.