DHS to deploy RFID at border crossings

July 31st, 2005

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will install radio frequency technology at five border posts with Canada and Mexico to track foreigners driving in and out of North America beginning this coming Thursday. As people pass thorough the security check once, they will be given an index card sized document containing the chip. The document is to be placed on the car’s dashboard so that a person’s personal information can be read as they approach a border crossing. The mandatory program will apply to all foreigners with U.S. visas–including those from the 27 countries whose citizens don’t need visas for short U.S. visits–who cross into the United States at those points. Canadians and Mexicans, who fall under special immigration rules, are exempt from needing the chip. (Link )

I found these quotes, from Link), to be misleading:

Kimberly Weissman, spokeswoman for the US-VISIT program at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told The Whig-Standard yesterday that the new devices can’t be tracked outside the border crossing area. “It has a range of 10 to 15 metres,” she said. “The UHF frequency that we’ve chosen makes it impossible to locate a specific person.”

She must have meant that (1) while the tags were in the border crossing area they couldn’t be read from outside the area; (2) the tags are not designed for localization. Such mistatements, which I assume were due to carelessness, can come back to haunt.