First, about passports. According to the International Herald Tribune, courtesy of Google News, it looks like President Bush has taken note of the kerfuffle (really, how often do you get to use that word?) over requiring passports from everyone entering the country, or perhaps it was of Canada's protest. He was apparently "surprised" by the proposed regulation. He is now re-evaluating the requirements of the law he signed.
Also, it looks like the rumors about RFID tags in new passports are true. Bruce Schneier's Cryptogram for 15 April contains a link to the specifications for the new passports:
The technology selected for the electronic passport is the 64 kilobyte contactless integrated circuit chip with an antenna. The electronic chip itself has a very short read distance, approximately four inches. This choice is compatible with standards and recommendations of ICAO. The standards and recommendations are found in ICAO Publication 9303, Machine Readable Travel Documents, Part 1, Machine Readable Passports, Fifth Edition 2003; and in the recommendations found in Technical Reports and an Annex supplementing that publication relating to the technology supporting the use of electronic chips in travel documents.
As for the 4" read range, I'm not clear at the moment about whether or not that's with a standard reader, or if you could get better range with a really good antenna and transceiver rig.
Sorry, no updates about the San Jose case.