RFIDs in ID cards?

Tim Worstall has been digging, and wonders whether, despite denials, the goverment is actually planning to incorporate RFID tags into ID cards.

He quotes from a Telegraph report:

…a leaked letter from Mr Burnham indicates that the chips will use radio frequencies to allow “contactless” reading of the card by special scanners.

The Home Office said the signals emitted would be picked up only at a distance of a few inches. But Phil Booth, co-ordinator of the No2ID campaign, said receivers could easily be boosted to receive signals from much further away.

In the comments, he asks for anyone with technical knowledge to tell him if it’s possible. And the scary answer comes back – yes, and it’s not just the government who could benefit:

RFID snooping is only a matter of a non-standard antenna or of illegal power amplification. The world record was demonstrated last July – 69 feet through the roof of a hotel, for RFID tags which have a normal working range of about a metre or less.

[…] The worrying scenario is that the terrorists who are currently building bombs and booby traps in Iraq using infra-red detonators, would be able to use such “unique” EFID tags to target either individuals or to wait until a certain number of, say US or British passport or ID Card holders were within range before exploding.

OK, I’m getting a little worried now. Time to join the anti-ID card campaign, methinks. And maybe, as Tim suggests, begin checking out investment opportunities in companies that can make mini-Faraday cages.