The State Department is advising travelers using super-secure RFID-enabled passports to buy a “radio-opaque” holster, because it turns out that RFID chips aren’t so super-secure after all. Don’t fret if “radio-opaque sheath” isn’t on your holiday shopping list, this is thankfully one of those rare problems that you can solve with a hammer…
Walgreens charges a hefty $7.99 for passport photos. Is it because they’re super fancy, or technically challenging to create, or the paper is strawberry scented? The answer to all of these questions is no. It’s because it’s an easy way to make a quick buck. That’s why they hate it when you find a cheaper online solution and try to print out your own 4×6 layout of passport photos via their stores.
NY Senator Chuck Schumer says that the state department is price gouging by charging $97 to process a passport. Apparently, it doesn’t cost nearly that much, according to a new congressional investigation.
The new passport design for the “e-Passport” is fugly. Each page is filled with various patriotic type images concluding with a weird image of space. We declare it to be hideous, and we are the arbiters of good taste. —MEGHANN MARCO
Way back in December we told you about the new passport requirements and encouraged you to get yourself a passport before the deadline of…yesterday. Now the passport scramble is on, especially for business travelers who need to expedite their passports. According to the NYT, it can be “difficult, if not impossible, to get an appointment in a timely fashion.”
Despite the fact that RFID chips are not secure and can be read by hackers, any U.S. Passport issued after Jan 1 will contain an RFID chip. If you’d like to risk 25 years in prison for tampering with it, Wired has a primer on how to disable the chip and protect yourself from ID theft.
Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, beginning January 23, 2007, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to present a valid passport, Air NEXUS card, or U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document, or an Alien Registration Card, Form I-551, if applicable.