RFID in Chinese ID cards
May 13, 2004
Peter Winer reports from the RFID World conference:
[...] Rocky Shih represented the government of China's RFID initiative. [...]This should definitely be a wakeup call to citizens of the world as the US is continuing to work on implementing next generation machine readable passports.
Rocky did voice enthusiasm for government-issued RFID identity cards. He indicated that China would issue over a billion cards - one for each citizen. He expects that further annual consumption will be between 50 million and 100 million cards as damaged cards are replaced and new cards are issued for newborns.
Going further, he said that 3 million handheld RFID readers would be issued, one for each police officer in China. When asked if this would provoke privacy concerns, he clearly stated that the government does not need to respond to such concerns and that in China, the government does what it wants regardless of the opinions of its citizens.
These comments offer a crystal clear case against RFID in government-issued identity cards. Unless their usage is very carefully restricted - and the restrictions are very difficult to monitor - such cards have no place in a democracy.
Posted by andersja