American travelers have begun receiving a new RFID-equipped electronic passport in mid-August, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of State. Right now, the only people receiving the new passports, which are embedded with an RFID chip that contains full passport information, including the photo, are only going to people served by the Passport Agency in Aurora, Colo.
A State Department spokesperson told eWEEK that the department plans to issue tourist e-passports at all of its domestic passport agencies by the end of 2006. According to spokesperson Justin Higgins, the State Department had two primary reasons for moving to digital passports. "The first is security and the second is convenience of travel," Higgins said.