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Friday, September 09, 2005
  Electronic Tags Used to Track Immigrants [Code-46...]

In an experimental program, the US government is employing radio frequency identification devices to track some foreigners who enter the US ... and that may be just the beginning.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is used around the world in everyday consumer products from produce to beer kegs to DVDs.
Increasingly it is being tested as a method to track people and in schools, prisons and transit systems RFID devices, from pinhead sized minichips to flat tags inserted into a piece of paper, contain miniscule antennas that pass the information it contains after entering the range of a scanning device.

Most RFID technology in use now is 'passive' which means it does not contain an internal power supply and can only transmit information from a distance of up to about 30 feet.
'Active' tags have an internal power source, can be read from further distances, and can store information sent from a transceiver.

In August of this year, the Department of Homeland Security began testing RFID tags at five border crossings under the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, or 'US VISIT'.

The program applies to people without green cards who enter the US with a visa, whether for work, school, research or tourism, or those from 27 mostly European countries who are traveling under the "Visa Waiver Program," which allows travelers to stay for up to 90 days without a visa.
Over the next year, people in these categories will be issued new "I-94" visa cards embedded with an RFID tag at five border crossings including Nogales East and Nogales West in Arizona, Alexandria Bay in New York, and the Pacific Highway and Peace Arch in Washington. Homeland Security Department requires that the I-94 cards be carried at all times.

Code 46

 
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