The UK Department for Transport just gave the go-ahead for a trial of new, RFID-enabled license plates aimed to make
vehicles trackable in Britain. Unlike passive RFID which only transmits over short distances, the e-Plate licenses use
active RFID technology to transmit vehicle identification numbers and other data to readers over 300 feet away. Not
surprisingly, US officials will be monitoring the trial closely with an eye toward bringing mandatory RFID-tagged
plates to the States. Active RFID is currently in limited usage on US roadways, where the Department of Homeland
Security is issuing RFID tags to foreign freight and passenger vehicles as they enter the country. Privacy advocates
cringe in horror at the thought of RFID license plates being used as backdoor surveillance tools, while proponents
argue, predictably, that active RFID will help, you know, save the world from terrorism.