Uncle Sam Solves the Curse of the Hypenated Name?


I long for the day when I will no longer have to spell out my hideously cumbersome name for clerical workers, security officials, or hotel clerks. Sooner or later, I hope to have a chip implanted on my person that carries relevant data on public frequencies–and possible a little preprogrammed explanation of the name's origins ("No, Mangu is my mother's name–it's Romanian. Ward was my father's name. They were hippies, or feminists, or something, so I got both"). Until then, at least, I can renew my passport and get one of the 15 million electronic passports planned for release. German chipmaker Infineon announced today that passports containing its chips will be available by the end of the year. The chips will hold name, date of birth, issue date, and a picture–all readable by scanner.

Brian Doherty has written tons on worries about RFID in government hands. If you're with Brian, and really don't like having a chip in your passport (and your name is something simple to spell, like John Smith or Brian Doherty) you can always pop your passport in the microwave for a few minutes to kill the chip, then go wait in the line with all the analog losers.