Biometrics, RFID Technology, and the ePassport: Are Americans Risking Personal Security in the Face of Terrorism?
This thesis analyzes the arguments for and against deploying an electronic passport to American citizens that contains a biometric identifier and an RFID chip. Are Americans giving up civil liberties and constitutional freedoms to safeguard national security if the ePassport is instituted? Although the government has taken measures to secure the information on the ePassport, will it help to protect the United States border from another terrorist attack? In order to answer these questions I examined the security implications of biometrics and RFID technology separately. Furthermore, I hypothesize that the general public is not knowledgeable enough about the electronic passport or the technologies incorporated within it to be accepting of its production. The ePassport is a contested issue between the United States government, civil liberties unions and privacy groups. I conducted a survey in November 2005 that demonstrated over 70% of the participants are not aware of the development of the ePassport. This thesis concludes by suggesting regulations that should be in place to assure that Americans' privacy rights and constitutional freedoms are protected.
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