Tracking chips in passports

In his recent book Spying with Maps Mark Monmonier asks if our locational privacy is worth protecting. He documented a number of ways we are under "geosurveillance."

Now comes news that the US government will implement RFID chips in our passports, despite a public comment response that was 98.5% negative. These chips emit a radio signal that carries information about the bearer (just what information is not clear) and the signal can be detected at a distance. Why bother having a public commentary if you just ignore it.

Two possibilities are that the passports will provide tracking information as well as biometric data. Is this really what we want in our own passports? Geotracking information? The problem with these "solutions" is that it makes a suspect of us all. We're all potentially dangerous.

The system, which will be implemented for government employees next month, will start for all Americans in about a year. Not to mention that many visitors from overseas will also be required to have chips in their passports. Just how will that happen? I can't imagine the Netherlands or Germany implementing this (though Blair might).

What is the real reason people actually want this, I wonder.

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