Beam me up ' or not

GCN Insider | Products & trends that affect the way government uses technology

Like it or not, we're constantly getting zapped by various rays and waves. Transmissions from radios and cell phones are flying through the air all around us.

Those transmissions are physically harmless'at least, that's the party line from the manufacturers'but if you're carrying a passport, credit card or identification card containing a radio frequency identification tag, someone with an RFID reader could steal your personal information without your knowledge.

The government's increased use of RFID technology has caused serious concern about such theft, and naturally the wave of concern has spawned a wave of products that are supposed to help prevent it.

One such product, the RFID Shield from Smart Tools, is noteworthy because it recently received Federal Information Processing Standard 201 approval and is listed on the GSA Advantage Web site.

The credit card-sized plastic sleeve has one clear side and one opaque side that blocks RFID data. The clear side allows you to show the ID card without removing it from the sleeve and rendering it vulnerable.

This is a great solution for items such as ID cards for the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, the Defense Department's Common Access Card initiative and, if the Real ID Act passes, driver's licenses with RFID tags.

We like this solution because the card remains protected even when being shown. That's better than RFID-blocking purses and wallets that leave the card vulnerable when you use it.

In a few weeks, the company will release a version for passports, a hot topic now that all new passports must contain RFID tags.

What's more, with government pricing at under three bucks a pop, this solution fits a beer budget.

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