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New RFID Passport

RFID tag in UK passport
Above is the picture of the RFID device in my new UK passport. The outer wire loop is 72mm * 42mm which is by far the largest RFID device I’ve seen. It appears that they want the passport to be RFID readable from distances that are significantly greater than those which are typically used for store security RFID devices. I couldn’t properly capture the text on the page which says “THIS PAGE IS RESERVED FOR OFFICIAL OBSERVATIONS, IF ANY“. The plastic layer that protects the RFID device leaves a 3mm margin that could potentially be used for official observations. Assuming that they don’t write in really small letters I guess this means that either they don’t make official observations on the passports nowadays or that any such observations are stored electronically where the subject has no good way of discovering them and objecting.

RFID logo on UK passport cover

Above is a picture of the front cover of my passport which shows the RFID logo. Both images have links to the full resolution pictures.

On Sunday I leave for a two week business trip to San Francisco, this will be my first trip with my new passport. I’m thinking of taking some aluminium foil to wrap around my passport when it’s not being used. I don’t expect to really gain any benefit from doing so, it’s a matter of principle.

7 comments to New RFID Passport

  • http://www.difrwear.com/product-detail.php?pid=2

    You may be interested in products like the above (I have one) instead of aluminum foil, but the foil works, at least with the Finnish passports.

  • Donald Allwright

    I don’t know how effective aluminium foil is at shielding it given it’s hard to make an effective electrical connection between the layers, but it does have the major advantage that you can unwrap it very ostentatiously in front of as many people as possible, and it will be clear to many that there is an issue at stake. That’s a major missed opportunity in the items you can purchase to shield them.

  • Tiago Faria

    +1 for the DIFRwear products.

  • At least for the new U.S. passports, the passport cover acts as shielding when closed and the RFID chip is supposed to be unreadable when the passport is closed.

    If something similar is the case for U.K. passports, would you need any additional shielding at all, except for something that might work when the passport is open (I doubt it)?

    Oh, well. I am hoping that the design of the U.S. passport RFID chips is similar to the photos you have here. I might now have a better chance of breaking the RFID chip by hammering on the passport (so that there’s no visible external damage, as with microwaving, etc.).

  • Mez

    Foil, may or may not work.

    What WILL work, however, is a mini faraday pouch. Google for “faraday pouch” for multiple options.

    I suggest the ones on etsy though;)

  • Stimp

    Wow that is very big. I bet they can read that from a mile away! I am returning to sf on Tuesday and hope you are in my line at customs!

  • opello

    +1 for DIFRwear as well. I have one of their passport holders and seems to work great.