Kristin Allen reports:
The German Interior Ministry confirmed on Monday that new identification cards containing radio-frequency (RFID) chips will be introduced starting November 1, 2010 – but some data protection experts are critical of the decision.
“It’s smaller than the old one, but can do a lot more,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said in a statement.
The information on the card itself will be digitally stored on the RFID chip inside the card, in addition to two fingerprint scans that German citizens can choose to opt out of. The ID will also have a digital signature that can be used to complete official business with government offices and possibly beyond – accessed only by a six digit PIN number.
“The citizens choose who they want to give what data to,” Interior Ministry official Hans Bernhard Beus said.
But data protection advocates say the RFID chip, which can be detected via radio frequencies from about two metres away without the owner’s knowledge, is problematic despite the fact it has already been incorporated into German passports.
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