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305 comments

Goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312162)

Has an RFID in his enormous colon. Taco put it there with his tongue.

missing something? (0, Offtopic)

thrillbert (146343) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312169)

Are there some SCO news I'm missing somewhere? I can't believe I've refreshed this story 3 times and there isn't a single post... I really feel as if I'm missing out on some big news somewhere else...

---
All men are mortal. Socrates was mortal. Therefore, all men are Socrates. -Woody Allen

There's a war going on, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312179)

and the only way to defend ourselves is with an electromagnetic pulse, our only defense against sentinel tags.

Re:There's a war going on, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312532)

May a giant cat puke on your colon

WHO NEEDS AN EDUCATION ARE THE SLASHDOT JANITORS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312183)

Not my "slacker" friends, michael, you dolt. Not going to do any mindless MS bashing in this article??? Huh?

Interesting technology (4, Insightful)

Meat Blaster (578650) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312190)

I guess I don't see why we aren't using it already. This could drop inventory costs to a quarter of what they were before -- no more all-nighters trying to discover what's in stock and what isn't.

Isn't Wal-Mart adopting it?

Re:Interesting technology (2, Insightful)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312359)

This could drop inventory costs to a quarter of what they were before -- no more all-nighters trying to discover what's in stock and what isn't.

I'm betting that manual inventories would still be required periodically. It might only happen once a year instead of every quarter, but there would still have to be some proof for the accountants. This would be especially true in the first few years of the system, when the bugs are still being worked out.

Re:Interesting technology (0, Redundant)

joggle (594025) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312369)

Isn't Wal-Mart adopting it?

RTFA!! The guy almost blames Wal-Mart for the widespread adoption of the technology in consumer products.

Re:Interesting technology (2, Redundant)

elwinc (663074) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312382)

Here's a quote from the article, which, to me, indicates why we should all be against ubiquitous RFIDs:
Right now, you can buy a hammer, a pair of jeans, or a razor blade with anonymity. With RFID tags, that may be a thing of the past. Some manufacturers are planning to tag just the packaging, but others will also tag their products. There is
no law requiring a label [stoprfid.org] indicating that an RFID chip is in a product. Once you buy your RFID-tagged jeans at The Gap with RFID-tagged money, walk out of the store wearing RFID-tagged shoes [stoprfid.org], and get into your car with its RFID-tagged tires, you could be tracked anywhere you travel. Bar codes are usually scanned at the store, but not after purchase. But RFID transponders are, in many cases, forever part of the product, and designed to respond when they receive a signal. Imagine everything you own is "numbered, identified, catalogued, and tracked [nocards.org]." Anonymity and privacy? Gone in a hailstorm of invisible communication, betrayed by your very property.
Spelling it out, this means institutions that choose to can automatically and cheaply start assembling a history of which RFID tags go where, and when. Still not scared? Next step: when the cops come to pick you up as a "material witness" [slashdot.org] they can easily scan your clothing and compare it to the RFID histories. Is everyone going to feel just as free to complain about the moron-in-chief, worship unpopular religions, and excercise their legal right to dissent against the powers-that-be if such technology becomes widespread?

Re:Interesting technology (2, Insightful)

aggieben (620937) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312623)

This is just completely irrational: Right now, you can buy a hammer, a pair of jeans, or a razor blade with anonymity.

Umm...not unless you buy with cash

Once you buy your RFID-tagged jeans at The Gap with RFID-tagged money, walk out of the store wearing RFID-tagged shoes, and get into your car with its RFID-tagged tires, you could be tracked anywhere you travel. Bar codes are usually scanned at the store, but not after purchase. But RFID transponders are, in many cases, forever part of the product, and designed to respond when they receive a signal. Imagine everything you own is "numbered, identified, catalogued, and tracked." Anonymity and privacy? Gone in a hailstorm of invisible communication, betrayed by your very property.
There's a simple solution: the tags will be removed from the products you buy at the store, much like current devices are. First, the store has incentive to re-use the tags. Yes, they may be cheap and get cheaper, but if they're reusable then most companies are going to want to reuse them. Secondly, if you had been reading anything else in the thread or simply been using your head, you would realize that even if the tags were to stay on the products, they couldn't be scanned from anywhere. The scanning range is only a few feet. Also, who's to say that there will be any connection between the id stored in the tag and your name? Companies would have no reason to keep track, and they're the only ones who could get that information. Also, for most products (e.g., non-electronic) destroying the tag would be somewhat trivial (put your Gap jeans in the microwave for a while, then see if they can invade your few feet of personal space).

Instead of spreading FUD, try promoting proper use and regulation of a new technology that could be very beneficial in a lot of areas.

Re:Interesting technology (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312424)

Cost is the only thing that's really holding the adoptation of these down.

Wal-Mart is adoptng it, their top 100 suppiers (as stated in the article) will be increasingly pressured to use them.

Although, Wal-mart has a fairly relyable system for keeping track of instocks (comparitively... human error tends to throw things out of wack somewhat, that and theft.), this will hopefully make it a lot easier to find justwhere the product is in the stockrooms.

It's about time! (3, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312193)

Thank god, for a while there it looked bad, but now that Walmart can profile all my purchasing power and sell that information to other marketers, the world is coming together for the best.

Re:It's about time! (1)

WTFmonkey (652603) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312251)

Lighten up. I can't shop at Walmart because I still have all of my teeth, but the cost savings alone (retail inventory every 6 months is expensive in a big store) will make the ROI appealking to managers everywhere. I think that is worth the few extra pieces of paper in my mailbox every day, and the few extra telemarketers I'll have to hang up on.

Re:It's about time! (2, Insightful)

rot26 (240034) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312410)

Lighten up. I can't shop at Walmart because I still have all of my teeth, but the cost savings alone (retail inventory every 6 months is expensive in a big store) will make the ROI appealking to managers everywhere.

I can feel the prices dropping now. I also can't wait until Walmart starts putting MY employers out of business, in addition tothe thousands of other small-scale employers that they've already nuked.

Re:It's about time! (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312513)

Cost savings? Where are there going to be cost savings?

The companies producing the goods won't just swallow the increased price, and while not every store will with the chips, it's cheaper to put it in your entire product run, then do some with, some without.

Heck, in the end this won't save even wal-mart any money. They've got a reasonable inventory control system... just thier buyers are frigging morons who over purchase and ship piles of crap to the stores that have no market for the item, and don't ship them the items that sell like hotcakes.

hi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312194)

Aaron D Vengrow was here

ATTACK OF COMMANDER TACO... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312202)

AND HIS ENORMOUS COLON!

The Register (0, Redundant)

marc_gerges (561641) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312204)

Interesting Register Story [theregister.co.uk] on the subject....

Re:The Register (2, Informative)

pogle (71293) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312259)

And if you look closely, and RTFA, its the same one as Security Focus. From the author's name, right down to the '©SecurityFocus.com' at the bottom of the article.

Re:The Register (1)

marc_gerges (561641) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312281)

Ugh.
Well, I guess that makes a point in reading the article before commenting.
On the other side, it might help loadbalancing the /.ing...

Re:The Register (0, Offtopic)

pogle (71293) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312313)

"Well, I guess that makes a point in reading the article before commenting"

Well, really, we cant hold you responsible for something that 90% of the /. community doesn't bother with...

"On the other side, it might help loadbalancing the /.ing..."

True, never even considered that. The Reg won't thank you though ;)

It initially confused the crap out of me...I read it on the Reg a couple hours ago, and then reading this new article was initially sure I was losing my mind or something. Need more caffeine.

diligent readers (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312205)

But for your slacker friends that need an RFID education in one easy-to-digest article, here you go.

Oh, you mean the slacker friend who didn't spend his Friday afternoons reading frivilous websites, who managed to get that promotion instead of me. I'll forward him the link.

Slacker friends' education (1, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312206)

But for your slacker friends that need an RFID education in one easy-to-digest article, here you go

Most of my slacker friends need an education period.

Re:Slacker friends' education (1)

jason0000042 (656126) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312556)

Well said. I'm sure that if I tried to explain RFID tags to anyone I know that isn't 'up' on them already, I would just get a puzzled look and a "Uuuah?" back in return.

Shielding RFID against security (5, Informative)

nhaze (684461) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312211)

Anyone who has used an RFID-based security pass card knows that they are easily shielded. Placing your RFID-secured product in an discreetly shielded bag would render the product nonexistant from RFID-probing security. I hope store that use it to augment theft security don't get lazy and think its unbeatable.

Re:Shielding RFID against security (5, Informative)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312335)

True.. but if using smart shelves the store will know that the item has been removed from the shelf and now is no-longer in range of a scanner... this should cause an alert as that is not normal behaviour.

Most theft is internal so identifying patterns of behaviour could be an effective way of decreasing theft.

The RF elements are the hardest part of this as the power levels are so low, in the US its 4 watts max for the READER, and in Europe its .5 watts. When you consider that the passive tags use the power that the reader puts out you can imagine how sensitive to interference these things are.

Re:Shielding RFID against security (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312465)

So in other words, if i go into a WalMart, pick up a PC game, and take it to a register, say after a half-hour to 45 mins browsing the store, that the initial activity of me removing the game from the shelf is not normal?

Re:Shielding RFID against security (1)

Jahf (21968) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312549)

If RFID were implemented ubiquitously throughout the store, then the game would still register on the various other scanners even in your cart unless you had put it in a shielded bag, which would not be normal.

Am I expected to place my .. (4, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312370)

shoes, pants, tires, body in shields whenever I leave my house? After the doctors spent all that time convincing me to take off the tin foil suit, you're telling me to put it back on?

Re:Am I expected to place my .. (2, Funny)

Surak (18578) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312442)

You took it off?! You listened to *them*?! Put it back on *now* it's not too late to save yourself!!

Re:Shielding RFID against security (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312456)

So those bags that ram and computer chips come in have a secondary use?

Another issue with RFIDs on the privacy department is range- SURE, my tired may be broadcasting their Id's, but if I'm in the countryside, what good does that do me? A satellite can't pick me up, so if I break down, neither can AAA (or insert Euro equivalent).

Re:Shielding RFID against security (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312552)

That's not the point. (If it were, we have GPS,
which will tell you where you are, and you can
call AAA on the cellphone and tell them.)

Re:Shielding RFID against security (2, Funny)

frumiousbar (587038) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312489)

That's why I drive with tin foil around my Michelin RFID tagged tires. I go through a lot of tin foil...

Adios Strom Thurmond (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312212)

Rot in Hell, you piece of shit.

Slashdot posts not meant for the slashdot readers? (0, Offtopic)

Anubis333 (103791) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312223)

Am I the only one who doesn't feel the need to see more "You've read all this before, but here it is again, even more watered down, maybe you can send the link to a friend or someone else if you know anyone that doesn't read slashdot as well" posts?

MOD PARENT DOWN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312333)

no reason, really. i just think it would be funny to drive this dude's karma into the ground

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312482)

you reverse psychology arsehole

uh oh... (2, Funny)

Afbc0m (623144) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312237)

*watches walmart become target of infinate number of home made EMP devices

On the other hand, this will prevent people from theft, and quite possibly lower costs, or raise stock value, either way, someone benifets

right.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312239)

so many freakin duplicate posts, so little time...

Small enough...? (0, Troll)

Gefiltefish (125066) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312246)


Small enough to swallow without notice? Ashcroft must love these things!

Re:Small enough...? (0, Troll)

DarkBlackFox (643814) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312282)

Yeah, that would only work for a few hours though, unless Ashcroft plans on tracking your shit.

Not even that long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312331)

The digestive juices ought to be enough to destroy the tag.

Re:Small enough...? (1)

Gefiltefish (125066) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312421)


Of course he'd want to track my shit, just in case I was eating Arab food -- implicating myself as an enemy combatant.

Foolish man... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312264)

"Of course, you, diligent Slashdot reader, have read about many of these already"

Read? No. Commented about? Yes!

Concerns (2, Interesting)

cybermint (255744) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312271)

While these chips sound very interesting at first, there are obvious privacy concerns. I'm not very comfortable knowing that someone with a portable transceiver could tell exactly how much cash I have in my wallet or what items I just purchased at the store. Criminals could also use this to determine what expensive items were hidden under the back seat of your car before they decide to break your window. The possibility of having RFIDs in my shoes is quite disturbing. I don't want to be tracked everywhere I go.

How susceptible are these tiny units to small EMP charges? If you drive by a high power radio tower, are the chips in your shoes going to start smoking? While this technology is interesting, I hope it goes no furthur than a replacement for barcodes.

Re:Concerns (3, Insightful)

Grax (529699) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312342)

If you microwave your money and blow out the rfid tags will it still be legal tender?

Re:Concerns - answered in follow up to article (5, Informative)

jimkski (304659) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312381)

I think one of the responders (Stefan Sokolowski) to the article did a good job of shedding a little more light on some of these concerns:

As a real security professional (i.e. one that does not go around screaming that the sky is falling) and as someone who has worked with RFID for the military and for civilian uses (mainly Post Offices) for over six years, I find your article makes a number of glaring omissions that would allow any sensible human being to make a rational judgement about this technology.

Omissions:

1) Range verses size. Very basic issue. The smaller it is, the closer you have to be to it to pick up the signal. For a small passive tag we are talking inches (3-4 feet max). In order to track something from 200 yards (maximum range currently in use), you need an active tag (i.e. with a battery) and it has to be the size of a beer mat. I think you would notice it in your jeans. The signal generator in this case is also a non-trivial device. It is the size on a lamp-post and weights in excuss of 30Kg. Hardly PDA attachment material.

2)Storage area on the device is tiny. For the small passive devices you are referring to the storage area is less than 1Kilobyte. Not much space for your medical records here.

3)The logic associated with the tyre scenario. The association of the vehicle number and the tyre would not be stored on the tag. There is no space, and Read/Write tags are much more expensive (and larger). Easy to overwrite also. So for your big brother is watching scenario, you would need to replace every lamp-post on every highway with a signal generator, have assess to the database that cross-references your vehicle ID with the tag ids, and be able to monitor all of the signal generators in real-time to see what was happening.

And all this just to find out where you are. Are you really that important? I think ringing your mobile would be easier.

There is also a problem with reading many tags at once. The current limit is around 200 tags per second for the best sensor. The tag will respond and continue to respond at regular intervals (sub-second usually but dependant on set-up). Because they are all talking at once on the same frequency, the sensor cannot distinguish and ignore tags in real-time. It may recieve many responses from the same tag, and there is no way to tell the tag to shut up. So imagine the situation across a busy highway.

RFID explained (1, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312272)

Allow me to explain RFID tags in one easy-to-understand sentence:

They are exactly like bar code tags, except they are scanned by electromagnetic sensors, rather than lasers.

Boom! That's it. Yes, the paranoia is totally and completely stupid.

Re:RFID explained (4, Insightful)

realdpk (116490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312356)

You missed something. They are not exactly like bar code tags. Here you go:

They are like bar code tags, except that they are scanned by electromagnetic sensors through your clothing/belongings possibly without you knowing, and carry enough bit-depth to uniquely identify your specific item (serial number), rather than visible lasers at checkout counters, which can only identify the type of item it is, not exactly which specific item it is.

As you can see, it's a bit more complicated than you would have us believe.

Re:RFID explained (0)

Sancho (17056) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312360)

Except that they can be scanned without your knowledge, say, someone outside the store with a portable scanner can get the inventory of your entire bag.

It's a privacy issue because the scanning penetrates further than barcodes do.

Re:RFID explained (3, Funny)

rot26 (240034) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312368)

They are exactly like bar code tags, except they are scanned by electromagnetic sensors, rather than lasers

Brilliant! Consise! Wow.

And a newspaper is EXACTLY like radio, except you recieve it with your eyes, instead of with a tunable RC network with optional FM demodulation.

Re:RFID explained (1, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312384)

Boom! That's it. Yes, the paranoia is totally and completely stupid.

You're right - there's nothing to fear from RFID tags. What people have problems with are the evil deeds [slashdot.org] RFID tags could enable.

Again, people need not fear guns, they should fear homicidal maniacs. But like guns, RFID tags take the wrap because they're the enabling technology.

Nope they aren't (2, Informative)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312405)


1D barcodes store only a reference number that can be used to indicate WHAT TYPE the product is.

And EPC stored on a tag tells you exactly WHICH product it is, and from that you can map its whole supply chain if it is all connected.

If you'd said 2D and 3D barcodes you'd have been more accurate, but those still can only be read one at a time.

RF-ID tags can be read thousands at a time and identifiy exactly which items you are dealing with. It is definately different but not by definition something to be paranoid about.

Re:RFID explained (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312409)

Totally and completely? That depends. For straight inventory in a store, I can see lots of advantages (heck, I can see an advantage in a server room as well...instant inventory). But, having someone be able to tell exactly what kind of underwear I'm wearing just by coming near me with a reader would creep me out. (That will be possible with this system, since you can't "degauss" RFID tags the way you can with present theft-deterrent systems.) Admit it, you all know one freak who would find it really funny to walk up to complete strangers & say "wow...you never struck me as a Hanes type of guy."
Also, there have been proposals for other uses besides inventory, and some of those are not going to work. One example I've seen talked about was using them for employee ID tags. There have all sorts of issues (passive scanning for authorized badges on subways, office lobbies), and would be a very bad idea.

The paranoia is completely justified (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312417)

You'd notice if someone bar code scanned your shoes, tires, pants, money, body. You're able to remove the bar codes from the items you purchase after you pay for them.

You can be RFID tracked anytime, anywhere, without your knowledge. Your location/possessions can be itemized/tracked/databased. Sounds like reasonable grounds for paranoia to me. Excuse me while I put back on my tin foil suit.

Re:RFID explained (1)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312450)

Can RFID tage be deactivated? Once the product is purchased, is the tag still active or can the store "kill" it?

If the tags can't be deactivated I can see some privacy issues arising from unauthorized detection. What if Walmart were to hide a sensor outside the doors of a competitor's store, scanning and logging every product in their customers' bags?

If the tags can be deactivated, what's to stop shoplifters from acquiring this technology? We all know that any security is eventually broken.

Re:RFID explained (2, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312509)

Can RFID tage be deactivated? Once the product is purchased, is the tag still active or can the store "kill" it?

Yes it can be killed. In fact, stores have a good reason to do so, since that way they can tell the difference between an item that has been purchased and one that has been stolen. (Unless the thief has a device to deactivate tags, of course, but casual shoplifters wouldn't).

Re:RFID explained (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312451)

They have many good potential uses (retail stores would never have to do inventory again, which, speaking from experience, is a nightmare.), but there is a GREAT chance of misuse. Unlike barcodes, RFID tags can be updated, and changed. A great example of this is the movie Minority Report, in which the stores know Tom Cruise's character by name, and know what he has purchased (and attempt to interest him in accesories.) What I see as the first, and immediate problem for consumers is returning products. Wal-Mart will know that they sold you a product and if you try to return the SAME product, only purchased from a different store (such as a gift that you are unsure where it came from), they could refuse to accept the return by stating it did not come from their store. Great for the Wal-Mart bottom line, bad for the consumer.

Re:RFID explained (1)

cK-Gunslinger (443452) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312486)

Allow me to explain RFID tags in one easy-to-understand sentence: They are exactly like bar code tags, except they are scanned by electromagnetic sensors, rather than lasers. Boom! That's it. Yes, the paranoia is totally and completely stupid.
Right, but the distinction is between the laser and the electromagnetic sensors. Lasers have to "see" barcodes to scan them, RFID can be detected through layers of clothing, etc from several feet away. The idea of a purse snatcher stopping my wife, asking to see her wallet, and manually scanning each bill to see how much cash she's carrying doesn't scare me quite as much as the idea of the same person walking by wife with a sensor in his wristwatch, passing it by her purse, seeing how much she has, then turning around and clubbing her over the head.

The idea of giant barcodes on the hood of our vehicles being read by each traffic light doesn't scare me as much as the idea of each light picking up the unique ID of our RFID tags hidden on our car. You think those traffic light cameras area PITA, wait until each traffic light times how long it took you to get there from the previous traffic light, determines that you must have been speeding, and automatically sends you a ticket. Have a nice day.

A little paranoia is a healthy thing to have.

Re:RFID explained (1)

ramk13 (570633) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312515)

No the paranoia is a *little* more justified than you say it is...

Can you scan a barcode when the item is inside a box, bag, or even your wallet?
Can a barcode be squeezed into less than 1 mm^2 area that you can't see?
If you had a barcode on something you owned, wouldn't it be pretty hard for it to be scanned without you knowing?

The paranoia lies in the fact that you don't have control over being scanned, and you might not even know that you are being scanned. If you *read* the article, it brings up some very good points. If cash is tagged with RFID tags, then banks or stores could scan you and see how much money you have before you walk in. Or worse yet, a criminal could scan people as they walked by and find people carrying a lot of money. Or arguably even worse than that, the anonymity of cash purchasing could disappear. Every bill you spend could be tracked.

I know I sound overly paranoid, but those things are all actual possibilities.

Death of barcodes (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312273)

The same thing is happening today. I'm here to tell you that the bar code's days are numbered.

When DigitalConvergence [digitalconvergence.com] 's CEO and entrepreneur extraordinaire J. Jovan Philyaw [digitalconvergence.com] hears about this, he'll start making free RFID scanners (CueDogs?) before you know it.

Re:Death of barcodes (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312392)

Nah, they're too small for his biz model...

"The CueCat is a cheapo bar-code scanner that looks like a marital aid."
--Leander Kahney, Wired

Mark of the beast? (3, Insightful)

cleancut (16625) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312284)

Yes...this always comes up anytime some story regarding chips underneath skin. But it doesn't sound too difficult to slip a RFID tag underneath a hand or forehead.

Sounds an awful lot like this. [biblegateway.com]

Re:Mark of the beast? (1)

cleancut (16625) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312349)

Excuse the sentence fragment from the parent. I'm currently suffering from caffine deprivation. ;-)

the only thing we have to fear... (1)

*weasel (174362) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312292)

the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

the famous line that could only be spoken by someone who lived in a world where he didn't have to fear the government tracking his every move and action through every consumer product with an RFID tag - silently amassing data about his most secret incestual bestial foot fetish to be used at a later date in a mcCarthy-ist purge of incestual bestial foot fetishists.

of course roosevelt was the walrus. i could be the walrus, and i'd still have to be afraid of an incestual bestial foot fetishist purge.

Not just for tagging consumers' chlotes. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312306)

These RF tags are perfect for tagging clothes, as the blurb pointed out. But an even more sinister use than tagging clothes is tagging the people who wear the clothes. And I'm especially referring to a certain kind of person:

Slavery is alive and well in this country, and I'm not referring merely to rhetorical or political slavery, but actual slavery. Women from foreign countries, particularly southeast-Asian countries are flown to America and promised low-paying but normal jobs performing menial labor or housecleaning services, but when they arrive, they discover to their horror that the real purpose is to prostitute themselves for the financial benefit of their masters. These women (and even children) are trapped, since they don't speak English, don't have the money to fly home, and don't have the physical or mental stamina to escape their tormentors after so much abuse.

How is this relevant to RF tags? Think of how much easier it would be to kidnap people from airports if all you needed to do was wander around with a small device, picking up the signals from the tags embedded in clothing given to the erstwhile immigrants back in their home countries. No longer would there have to be complicated networks of international communication -- they'd just have to agree on a certain range of serial numbers (of which there are trillions, as the article points out), hand out "free" clothes to people boarding the plane at departure, and sit back while agents at the US airports haul in the "goods".

This never would've been possible if we'd stuck to normal barcodes -- it's simply impossible to read barcodes surreptitiously. And since criminals are always the first to adopt new technologies for these devious purposes, it's only a matter of time before it comes to an airport near you, Thirteenth Amendment be damned.

Re:Not just for tagging consumers' chlotes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312362)

You say all of that as if it were a bad thing

Re:Not just for tagging consumers' chlotes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312593)

This is not new and happens all over the world. Russian whores are put to work in western europe and passed around and sold like lamps. Even in the Netherlands this happens outside and inside of their redlight district. Most of these girls are drug addicts but some are russian women looking for work in a russian city then getting kidnapped.

I guess it could be worse... like it is in Cuba where horny perverts travel to enjoy the child sex rings run by communist party members.

Simple Answer (2, Insightful)

rabtech (223758) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312321)

I think Congress should mandate that any product which contains an RFID tag must be clearly labelled as such, and the store must provide you the option of disabling the tag before leaving the store (perhaps a certain device you walk through or something?)

Products that have RFID tags only in the packaging could be exempt, since those tags don't stick with the product.

EMP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312325)

what I want is a small device to emit an EMP that will disable the RFID tag in any products that I own.

Who is ready to design one and show how you built it on slashdot so we can all copy?

Big Brother? not necessarily. (5, Funny)

griffjon (14945) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312341)

Everyone freaks out about RFIDs, but I remain in the camp that these could be really cool, as long as consumers (ok, geeks) figure out how to control them (by burning them out or just finding the darned things and removing them from unwanted places, like the back of a Yugo [1])

Ever lose your cell phone and have someone call it so you could find it? Imagin being able to do that with any random item? superglue a RFID onto it, and walk around with a semi-portable RFID scanner. OK, not as great due to the limited range of the things, but you could pretty easily determine if the keys were under the couch or not.

Now, the sucky thing will be if (when) manufacturers build RFIDs into places that you can't get to without destroying the item or voiding the warranty.

So, we need an opt-out method for RFIDs, which may be as simple as a way to find the lil' bastards and plier them flat, but beyond the scare, there's promise:

telnet homenetwork : fridgeport
Brr! it's cold in here [45F]! Can I have your username?
> JoeBachelor
And your password?
> gotb33r?
Welcome to your Refridgerator/Freezer system!
>cd fridge
>ls
Directory of /fridge:

Beer/
Beer/Shiner Bock (1)
Beer/MGD (5)

Condiments/
Condiments/ketchup package (13)
Condiments/mustard package (2.5)
Condiments/SoySauce package (1)
Condiments/Unidentifiable (5)
Condiments/mayonnaise (1) (warning: use-by-date 5 months expired!)

Vegetables/

Soda/
Coke (.5)
Mountain Dew (4)
non-caffeinated/
ActualFood/
lunchmeat_ham (1) (warning: use-by-date 1 week expired!)
cheese_cheddar (2) (warning: use-by-date is tommorow!)
End of directory. No healthy food available.
>man healthy
Sorry, you need to install the Mother or Health-Conscious-Girlfriend modules for these extensions
>make food
Unable to make food. Stop.
>exit.
Goodbye.

see?!!!!! see! this is my vision!

unrelated, I'm worried about /.s email garble today : Email
GriffJon@[ ]mail.com ['Hot' in gap]
hot in gap? what does that imply?

[1] That's a "Mall Rats" reference, for the rest of you.

Re:Big Brother? not necessarily. (1)

Mirage (9375) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312428)

I'm totally with you on this. I'm seeing a house set up with scanners at each doorway, and occupants having RFID tags on them. Combine this with some X-10 and you could come up with some fairly cool apps. And as long as you control the system there shouldn't be any privacy concerns.

Re:Big Brother? not necessarily. (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312617)

Exactly! The problem will be who controls the system -- and with only 128 bits of information, good crypto won't be very available, so it'll be protection by the limited radius of detection for lots of stuff, and security-through-obscurity, with all its inherent weaknesses.

But nevertheless, lots of power for automation and data-enriching of boring everyday things.

Security paranoid? (5, Insightful)

noitalever (150546) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312344)

ok, so in the first part of this article the guy says

"When a transponder receives a certain radio query, it responds by transmitting its unique ID code, perhaps a 128-bit number, back to the transceiver. Most RFID tags don't have batteries (How could they? They're 1/3 of a millimeter!). Instead, they are powered by the radio signal that wakes them up and requests an answer."

Later he throws in this little paranoia bit about "Do you really want your car's tires broadcasting your every move?" What's that about? He knows they don't "broadcast" and that you'd have to be within several feet to monitor. You already have a frickin license plate on your car, so who cares? The good side of that is that you could prove that your tires were now living on someone else's car when they were stolen...

And in that line of thinking, how long will it take for commercial "scanners" to come around, so you can locate the chip and neutralize it? It just seems that people are freaking out about security when in reality, people can already track everywhere you go anyway. How many people out there use cash exclusively? No one I know. I can't WAIT for the day when I just walk out the door with a cart full of stuff and it's automatically taken out of my checking account. that would well be worth someone being able to count how many hammers I buy in a month.

You are obviously single (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312403)

I can't WAIT for the day when I just walk out the door with a cart full of stuff and it's automatically taken out of my checking account.

The thought of my wife doing that scares the living shit out of me.

Re:You are obviously single (1)

noitalever (150546) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312507)

Good luck with that.
I don't let my wife out of the house, so it won't change anything on my end.
8-)

Re:Security paranoid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312434)

I can't WAIT for the day when I just walk out the door with a cart full of stuff and it's automatically taken out of my checking account.

I can't wait for that day either. I hope you and everybody else on whatever fucked-up planet you live on are happy.

Re:Security paranoid? (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312499)

Later he throws in this little paranoia bit about "Do you really want your car's tires broadcasting your every move?" What's that about? He knows they don't "broadcast" and that you'd have to be within several feet to monitor. You already have a frickin license plate on your car, so who cares?

Trancievers in every street light...
London would be the first city to implement it [guardian.co.uk].

how long will it take for commercial "scanners" to come around, so you can locate the chip and neutralize it?

How long will it take for DMCA-like laws that make that practice illegal?

I can't WAIT for the day when I just walk out the door with a cart full of stuff and it's automatically taken out of my checking account. that would well be worth someone being able to count how many hammers I buy in a month.

Yes, and I can't wait for organised crime to automatically skim a lil' bit off the top of all our checking accounts as we walk past 'em.
Not much, just a few bucks per person, walk around in a crowd and you'd make a few thousand dollars in minutes...

learning by RF-ID in Linux... (4, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312378)


For anyone who is interested in looking more at this area and has a Linux box....

For more info [autoidcenter.org] and then Download it here [autoidcenter.org]

If you want to build an RF-ID lab you need some cash to get tags and readers but this would help with the theory.

sums it up for most /. readers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6312394)

RFID tags are evil, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmkay?

Ironic (1, Interesting)

wiggys (621350) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312400)

Doesn't anyone think it rather ironic that the year Big Brother's powers to watch us changed dramatically was...

[Drum roll]

1984.

Why complain? Make money! (0, Troll)

dspyder (563303) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312445)

I don't know why all you slashdotters are complaining about this. RFID is powerful technology that corporations want to purchase. The ROI is super-quick and super-obvious to even the dumbest CFO.

MAKE MONEY!

Read up about this stuff. Learn the upsides, and the downsides. Build some useful software around this (more than just inventory and asset tracking). Apply for jobs at these companies! Quit bitching, and take advantage of the situation.

--D

Hehe (0, Offtopic)

zapfie (560589) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312466)


Of course, you, diligent Slashdot reader, have read about many of these already.

Oh man.. thanks Taco. I needed a good laugh. Pfft.. he actually thinks we read the articles.. hehe!

Re:Hehe (1)

deadsaijinx* (637410) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312583)

The Editors don't read the site and the patrons don't read the Links. It's a beautiful system of equivalent ignorance.

Privacy (3, Insightful)

msheppard (150231) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312538)

From the article:
your privacy is at stake.

Am I the only one sick of "privacy" being used as an argument? It reminds me of "won't someone think of the children." The Constitution/Declaration of Independance do not stipulate privacy.

I'm beginning to think that privacy is costing us too much. If we had access to a plethora of medical information, perhaps we could do some data mining and identify some patterns that would benifit us more than we can imagine.

I'm trying to remember WHY I want all this privacy, why it's so impoartant my purchases be private, who is it I'm afraid of them knowing that I bought a copy of "swank" magazine. I guess if I was a politcian I wouldn't want people to know some things, but I'm just a pretty average citizen, I don't need someone else protecting my privacy.

Maybe an employer would do a backround check and find something - but if they won't hire me becuase of some obscure piece of information, maybe I don't want to work there. Perhaps I'm the kind of person who doesn't really have something like that to hide... it seems the only people concerned about privacy are trying to hide something. Now I'm beginning to ramble...

M@

a helpful review (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312561)

i'm so unfamiliar with this i assumed the first two letters stood for "Read the F**king"

scary stuff

AAAAIIIEEEEE! (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312564)

The Mark of The Beast! [redmeat.com] 666! THE FALSE PROPHET!
THE END IS NEAR!!!
REPENT!!!!

Whew! I feel better now. I hav'nt had this big of an anxiety attack since I recovered from being an SDA.

Paranoia, how the hell could MSSQL track 270 Million people (USA only) and all their millon peices of tagged shit and keep it straight? (and you know that they will use MS products)
One good security hole and anyone who wants to won't exist or own anything.
Good thing no one uses RDBMS on OpenVMS anymore, it might work.

There ARE advantages (1)

toconn (685100) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312566)

First, paranoia about RFID seems silly. First, most of this technology will be PASSIVE(cheap), as in, it has no battery. This means that someone wanting to read your tag will have to generate enough energy to charge up the tag as well as read it. Which means that nearly all these passive technologies have very low read ranges, and for the 13.56Mhz variety that is typically used because of anti-collision and other benefits.. we're talking 12 inches max, given the current FCC limits. So I balk at any widespread "sniffing" of everything you've got on you.. Also, I'm not a privacy paranoia person anyway, so I don't get the big deal. I do know that RFID technology, and specifically walmart driving behind it is exactly what will bring in the waves of "Smart Appliances". Specifically things like: - Refridgerator knowing it's contents. This could be used for determining how long something has been in there, what you currently could make with the food you have. - Trash can that conversely keeps track of what you throw out, potentially building a shopping list of regular items - Washer and Drier knowing what's in them, and bitching at you when you put a brand new red sweater in with you whites. That's just a few things, and I'm sure the people around here are creative enough to do even more interesting things with them! I say bring the RFID on!!

adolescent use for RFID (1)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312589)

Surprised nobody's suggested this yet:
Use a portable RFID scanner to determine with complete accuracy the style and measurements of certain undergarments worn by people in your vicinity. (Assuming all undergarments have been chipped by the manufacturer)

If AOL RFIDs their CDs, (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 10 years ago | (#6312620)

will we have to begin microwaving them for reasons of security? We've been microwaving them for fun for years, but doing it for security reasons takes some of the fun out of it.
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