ID cards and RFID tags are similar in one key respect: they get a lot of bad press -- one for constricting civil liberties, the other for being a lousy security risk -- and yet are widely used around the world. It's fitting, therefore, that Germany has decided to marry the two for the latest version of its own personalausweis. Dutch company NXP has begun production of the requisite RFID chips for these new slices of plastic, which will roll out from the beginning of November this year. The Deutsch state sees a vastly expanded role for the modernized cards, including validating your identity for online shopping and communicating with your local authority (e-government, they call it). And, of course, your biometric data is loaded onto the chip as well, just to make things nice and neat. You know, we remember the good old days when identity theft used to be hard.