“Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, the Bush administration – specifically, the Department of Homeland Security – has wanted the world to agree on a standard for machine-readable passports. Countries whose citizens currently do not have visa requirements to enter the United States will have to issue passports that conform to the standard or risk losing their nonvisa status.
These future passports, currently being tested, will include an embedded computer chip. This chip will allow the passport to contain much more information than a simple machine-readable character font, and will allow passport officials to quickly and easily read that information. That is a reasonable requirement and a good idea for bringing passport technology into the 21st century.
But the Bush administration is advocating radio frequency identification (RFID) chips for both U.S. and foreign passports, and that’s a very bad thing [...]”
SOURCE: International Herald Tribune
NOTE: Schneier also has a new security weblog.