I have an Enhanced Driver's License from Washington, which comes with an RFID protective sleeve to keep it in.

From the Washington Department of Licensing EDL FAQ page:

The passive RFID tag embedded in your EDL/EID doesn’t contain any personal identifying information, just a unique reference number. In addition, the tag doesn’t have a power source and cannot transmit data unless it is activated by an RFID reader. When you get an EDL/EID, we will give you a security sleeve to protect the RFID tag from being activated when you are not at a border crossing station.

What am I exposing myself to by not shielding my card properly, and therefore, is it necessary to keep my EDL in its sleeve at all times? It's rather cumbersome to do so. Or should I only keep it in its sleeve when abroad?

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    I am saying that your question is off-topic here, but I guess you will get a better and more qualified response at Information Security SE: security.stackexchange.com – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Nov 29 '17 at 12:31
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Do you mean you aren't saying so? – Azor Ahai -him- Nov 29 '17 at 21:18
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    Sure, sorry. I ment to say: "I am not saying that ...". – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Nov 30 '17 at 11:15

The protection is really against someone bumping up against you and stealing the encoded information with a concealed device. These occurrences are very rare and don't lead to much as the info is just a number that is tied to the person's "Passport" profile. The only people this number makes any sense to are the customs and immigration people. The sort of idea is that no one will try and create a duplicate with that serial number and use it to TRY and get past the border.

That being said, it is better to keep it in an RFID blocking enclosure of some kind. The same applies to most modern credit cards and full passports. There are wallets out there that have a mesh lining that blocks RFID signals. I suggest one of those to hold their drivers license as well as their normal credit/debit cards. Especially for your credit cards which could be duplicated and charged.

Heres an example of a wallet: http://a.co/1KMLygf

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    I don't think the RFID in an EDL is the same as the RFID in credit cards and passports, I think it is the same as the RFID in GE and NEXUS (and maybe US PR) cards. Credit cards need to be really close to the reader to be read, but the border crossing cards can be read through a car window by a reader that is 6 or 8 feet away. That's the reason these cards always come with a shielded envelope while credit card companies don't bother. – Dennis Dec 1 '17 at 5:38
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    RFID is RFID. The tech in the card is identical regardless the strength of the reader. Basically the reader needs to send a charge to the card that charges the tiny coil enough for the card to discharge its string of numbers back to the reader. The readers that read credit cards have a MUCH lower charge sent out than that of the readers at border crossings. The mesh in RFID blocking wallets is the same thing the foil lined paper sleeves use. Source: I'm an engineer. – Daxxcat Dec 1 '17 at 16:14
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    This really isn't correct. Passive RFID tags for different applications run at dramatically different frequencies providing dramatically different data rates and ranges. Passports and credit cards (and standard NFC) run at HF; physics requires that that something with an antenna that fits in your pocket be near by at that wavelength. I think GE et al use UHF tags (maybe 900 MHz from the size of the reader antenna) like toll transponders and are efficient at pocket size. Source: I'm also an engineer. – Dennis Dec 2 '17 at 4:39
  • @Dennis they use the same principles, despite different chip designs to cater to different frequency bands. While that means chips can only be used with specifically tuned readers (a good thing) it doesn't change the basic physics involved. And yes, I'm a physicist :) – jwenting Oct 11 '18 at 5:56
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    @KyleDelaney RFID blocking wallets have a mesh that will block any card from tapping. Its not gonna work for you. – Daxxcat Mar 18 '20 at 22:29

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