What is your position on the debate about national ID cards

ID cards are a nuisance and should not be used as a person’s life line.

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I believe that passive RFID tags are simply too dangerous to store sensitive information. All cards using technology of this kind should be equipped with a button to press in order to close the circuit so that they broadcast the data only when they're supposed to. Or at least the cards should be faraday-caged in a metal box when not in use. (DIFRwear at sells wallets of this kind; I don't know how much they're effective.)

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@Daedala et al Even if the crypto is good RFID crypto cards have little or no defenses against even the most basic side channel attacks (power, time). Time is especially problematic due to the 200ms transaction window. I had this conversation with someone from that company who sells side channel filters for smart cards at CardTech 2006 and I was told flat out that for contactless farecards side channel protection is jut not (yet) possible.

In the UK, the question has been raised about implementing ID cards as a 'crackdown on terrorism'.

I believe it’s wrong to use radio tracking devices to track students because other unwanted people can track them. students might not evan where the I.D. cards.

With more and more people shopping online, criminals are gaining access to innocent shoppers’ identities easier than ever.


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Exactly right. More generally, the notion that secrecy supports security is . Whenever you see an organization claiming that design secrecy is necessary for security — in ID cards, in voting machines, in airport security — it invariably means that its security is lousy and it has no choice but to hide it. Any competent cryptographer would have designed Mifare's security with an open and public design.

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Very rarely did the money go for something necessary, like accommodation or food, but usually was spent on a multitude of gadgets, toys, and other assorted ‘guy-stuff.’ CDs, a subwoofer, X-boxes and PlayStations, new rims and tires…he even whipped out the plastic to cover the $5,000 for his girlfriend’s new boobs....

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However there are growing warnings against any rushed introduction of compulsory ID cards in the UK, despite the concerns as to the extent that Britain is secure from terrorism....

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Just deploy the RFID reader in a narrow passage where a large number of people happen to pass by: a metro station entrance, an escalator, a lift. You may choose to conceal the equipment or just install it in plain view pretending you're an electrician -- in a crowded metro station nobody'll notice. Come back some time after to recover all the data you've harvested. This can be done not only on Oyster cards but also on cards storing more valuable data.

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Here's the story. Every Oyster card has a radio-frequency identification chip that communicates with readers mounted on the ticket barrier. That chip, the "Mifare Classic" chip, is used in hundreds of other transport systems as well — Boston, Los Angeles, Brisbane, Amsterdam, Taipei, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro — and as an access pass in thousands of companies, schools, hospitals, and government buildings around Britain and the rest of the world.