Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shouldn't our boondoggles use American companies?

Now, I don't know if you've been following the RFID Passport story, but it's happening. As of August 14, The State Department has actually started putting RFID Chips in passports. And, you know what's going to happen:
  • The read rates are going to be unexpectedly low
  • Maintenance costs for the readers are going to be unusually high
  • There'll be a public announcement of someone having tricked a reader, shelving any staff reduction plans
  • Privacy concerns will force the State Department to offer RFID-less passports as an option
  • The chips themselves will prove vulnerable to things like laundry, storage in hotel safes with electronic equipment, begin driven over, and other things that passports go through. I might have unusually unlucky passports, but I don't think so.
The technology is not ready for this deployment, and so much of the State Department's management structure has decide their jobs left "inadequate time to fulfill possible future commitments" that you have to imagine they've lost some ability to adapt to change. RFID Passports aren't going to work. Seen from the street, they're just a way to move money from the taxpayer to campaign donors.

But, why are we then buying our chips from Germans? I expect our contracting process to be somewhat corrupt, but it should definitely be buying American. Alien, Impinj, Avery Dennison and Texas Instruments, just to name some chip vendors off the top of my head, would love to get a piece of this action. Buying chips overseas totally does not keep the money on shore!

Somebody needs to read up on his Reaganomics.

No comments: