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Thursday, April 28, 2005
  A tiny step in the right direction
U.S. to alter passport design because of privacy fears: "Frank Moss, deputy assistant secretary of state for passport services, said in an interview Tuesday that government tests confirmed privacy advocates' suspicions that the electronic passport might be vulnerable to so-called skimming from a greater distance than officials had previously said, meaning a matter of three or so feet instead of inches, or about one meter instead of eight centimeters.

'You do perhaps face a risk of a reading without the knowledge of the passport bearer, and that is obviously something we want to protect against,' Moss said.

To prevent that, the special electronic passport readers used by customs officials in the United States and their counterparts around the world would use data printed on the new passport to effectively unlock the radio chip before it would transmit the personal electronic information it holds, Moss said.
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