US authorities want to put RFID chips in driver’s licenses for the stated goal of speeding up US border-crossing lines in Mexico and Canada. Privacy experts caution that these spy-friendly forms of ID likely will evolve into something more nefarious. Pictured above: Border crossing from Tijuana, Mexico, to San Ysidro, California. (credit: Richard Masoner)

Radio frequency identification chips are everywhere—in passports, library and payment cards, school ID cards, and even in NFL players’ uniforms.
So why not put RFID chips in driver’s licenses? California Gov. Jerry Brown has a bill awaiting his veto or signature that would do just that. The states of Washington, New York, Michigan, and Vermont already have adopted the spy-friendly, voluntary program that links your license with the Department of Homeland Security. For the moment, the cards are designed to be used instead of passports at US land borders in a bid to speed up the entrance lines from Mexico and Canada.
But the more states that sign on, the more likely such cards could become mandatory across the country. That’s why privacy advocates are urging the governor to veto the measure. The American Civil Liberties Union, for instance, is decrying the move to RFID chips in driver’s licenses as a “civil liberties nightmare.”
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