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July 31, 2006


The stupid "Real-ID" act demands that we have unified identity papers (state issued driver's license or ID card) with RFID chips in them. Also, new passports have to be chipped, with biometric crap as well. Welcome to the surveillance society. Still, I don't want every johnny with a extended range receiver able to read my data.

So I looked into protective wallets, to guard my ID, passport number, nationality, SSN, and/or address from going out when I walk by. I am a somewhat private person that way. I looked at two things: electromagnetic shielding fabric to make my own wallet, and ready made wallets and passport cases.

The first, I found Less EMF fabric, and ordered their sample pack. Much better that tinfoil and duct tape, like you find in NEW RFID Blocking Wallet. I haven't had time to pick which material to order and do the sewing, but they have some really nifty flexible fabrics which could do the job.

Then, I looked at DIFR Wear. They sell ready made wallets and passport cases. I bought one of each in black for a total of $39. When I got them, I was pleased by the aesthetic quality of both products. The leather is real. So far, so good.

My workplace, like many others, has a badge reader by the door, based on RFID. Therefore, I had a handy test platform. I stuffed my badge, still on it's lanyard, into my regular wallet, and put it up to the reader. Beep! So the badge and the reader were working. Then I tucked my badge into the DFIR Wear wallet, and put it up to the reader again. Nothing. Even with the wallet and badge resting on the reader.

So, the DIFR Wear products work in close range tests, and probably will work just fine to prevent ID skimming. I will still probably try making my own nylon and velcro versions, but I have good ones to fall back on when I get my big brother card next year.

BTW, EMvelope makes similar products, but much more expensive. Their wallet liner card alone is $15, and the passport shield is $25, and neither are leather.

Posted by ljl at July 31, 2006 01:12 PM