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michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the old-grey-lady dept.

Privacy 389

The New York Times has a piece on RFID tags. It's basic, but worth reading as a milestone - the technology is starting to enter the public eye. These RFID tags will have unique serial numbers - every RFID-tagged item you purchase will be uniquely different from every other nearly-identical item, enabling it to be identified and associated with you long after the purchase. And no, microwaving will generally not destroy the tags, and no, most items won't be microwaveable anyway. Try to microwave your couch.

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Microwave the couch (3, Funny)

ArsonPerBuilding (319673) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083180)

You mean you don't have a jiggawatt microwave gun?

That goes next on the list to a lime pit for all mad scientists.

Re:Microwave the couch (3, Funny)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083189)

So, what you do is go and buy something liable to attract FBI attention (large quantities of ammo, anarchist cookbook etc...), then go nail the RFID tag to the house of someone you don't like.

I like the sound of this... *evil grin*

Re:Microwave the couch (1)

ArsonPerBuilding (319673) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083195)

Were you in my Mad Science 101 class? The dude who managed to almost lose all his fingers from that nasty Hydroflouric Acid spill?

Re:Microwave the couch (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083319)

Nah. I'm far too advanced for a 101 class.

I'm studying death rays already...

Re:Microwave the couch (1)

panurge (573432) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083300)

Why bother? Modify your microwave oven, fit a suitable horn to the magnetron output (made of tinfoil, what else?). Cheap and effective

No responsibility whatsoever taken for the smell of kidneys frying (yours)

Re:Microwave the couch (3, Funny)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083302)

You mean you don't have a jiggawatt microwave gun?

If you do have a microwave gun, please make damn sure you get the cat off the couch before you use it.

Re:Microwave the couch (1, Interesting)

unclefungus (663751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083365)

microwave gun? Heres how to build one, maybe not quite as powerful. /herf004/

Big Brother (3, Interesting)

azbot (544794) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083184)

But How does it benifit the end user, oh wait I don't have to wait as lon in the checkout line with five screaming kids and a trolley full of sofas

Not good. (4, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083276)

I have to admit, I can see why retailers would want to exploit RFID tags. It would save them a lot of money in labor, as well as reducing the load on any loss prevention manager. This boils down to either more profits or lower consumer costs.

I have three opinions about them.

1) Everything you buy that contains an RFID tag must be properly labeled. The consumer should know what they are buying.

2) There should be a way to easily disable them after taking the product home. Ideally, they should be deactivated on your way out the door, but there are complications(non-technical) hindering the store's choices.

3) Any product that has a unique characteristic or property shouldn't have an RFID tag. For instance, if I go to the local Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, whatever and buy a personal fire safe(w/o the changeable combinations), I wouldn't want the safe to have it's combination somewhere indexed to the RFID chip's serial number. There is a greater security risk here, this is but one example.

You don't need a totally unique ID for that (2, Informative)

NigelJohnstone (242811) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083437)

"But How does it benifit the end user, oh wait I don't have to "

For that all you need is an ID thats unique PER PRODUCT, not PER INSTANCE OF THE PRODUCT.

Its the individually unique ID thats the problem here, if it was like barcodes (identifying the product) it wouldn't be such a problem.

Disabling RFIDs (1)

C0deJunkie (309293) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083187)

...And no, microwaving will generally not destroy the tags, and no, most items won't be microwaveable anyway. Try to microwave your couch. ..

What about trying to Slashdot'em???

Article - no reg. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083188)

How to Find That Needle Hopelessly Lost in the Haystack


ew product tags equipped with microchips and tiny antennas could one day make it easy to scan all the groceries in a bag simultaneously, allow businesses to locate any item in a warehouse instantly and enable the Defense Department to better manage inventories of mundane necessities like meals and spare boots. Hitachi announced this month that it has developed tags so small that they can be embedded in bank notes to foil money launderers and counterfeiters.

Tags with the technology known as radio frequency identification, or R.F.I.D., transmit a digital response when contacted by radio signals from scanning devices. Older versions of the technology have been around for decades, but now major manufacturers and retailers and the Defense Department are pushing to speed the development of a new version that could be read by scanners anywhere in the world, making it cheaper and more efficient to track the flow of goods from global suppliers to consumers.

The Defense Department expects to issue a statement in the next few days calling on suppliers to adopt the new version of the technology by 2005. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. made a similar announcement in July when it said it was requiring its top 100 suppliers to place tags with the new technology on cartons and pallets shipped to its stores by the end of 2004.

Radio frequency tags are currently used in products like wireless auto keys, toll collection systems and livestock and military armament tracking devices. A radio tagging system at Prada's store in SoHo in Manhattan identifies the clothes a shopper takes into a dressing room and allows the shopper to call up on an electronic screen images of the items being modeled and information about other colors and sizes.

But as business's interest in the technology grows, so do efforts by privacy advocates to place strict limits on its use.

"Very few people grasp the enormity of this," said Katherine Albrecht, director of Citizens Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, a group that was founded in 1999 to protest the use of frequent shopper cards and credit cards to collect data on individual consumers' purchasing habits.

Ms. Albrecht and other critics say that companies and government agencies will be able to monitor what people read or where they assemble from radio tags embedded in their books or woven into clothing. Unlike bar codes, which cannot be scanned unless a laser has a direct line of sight to them, the radio tags can be read through walls, and multiple tags can be read in an instant.

"R.F.I.D. certainly has value in the supply chain and in inventory management," said Beth Given, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego. But she added that "there are so many potential issues once it gets beyond the point of sale that consumer protections need to be written into law."

Privacy advocates have suggested, among other things, that the tags be designed so that they cannot be reactivated once they are turned off, that all goods with a tag carry a consumer warning and that the tag must be removed when a product is sold unless the buyer agrees to leave it on.

In theory, there may be benefits from keeping the tags active once a product is sold. Washing machines, for example, might identify the clothes in a load and automatically select the appropriate cleaning cycle. And a smart medicine cabinet could tract the expiration on drugs.

Ms. Albrecht, however, has called for a one-year moratorium on using radio frequency tags on individual items while discussions about the implications of the technology take place.

The privacy concerns have already caused some technology managers to play down their interest in using the tags. The Benetton Group, the clothing retailer, for example, announced in response to consumer protests that it had not attached the tags to any individual clothing items. And Wal-Mart halted plans for a widely publicized experiment with the Gillette Company to place radio tags on razor blades.

For now, the cost of the tags - from 25 cents to 30 cents each - make them too expensive to put on most individual items. Beyond that, businesses are not yet prepared to handle, much less exploit, the flood of data that individualized tagging would create.

Even so, privacy advocates fear that it is only a matter of time before the tags become commonplace. One well-publicized experimental project at a Metro Group supermarket in Germany installed so-called smart shelves to track the presence of items equipped with radio tags. After months of fine-tuning the system, Metro Group recently began a two-month performance test of the shelves, according to Gerd Wolfram, project manager for the store.

I.B.M., which is one of the technology providers to the Metro Group store, is also sponsoring a test project in Denmark that will place radio tags on popular grocery items to allow customers to make quick, automated purchases from outdoor kiosks located near gas pumps.

In the near future, though, Wal-Mart and other supporters of the new version of radio frequency technology are focusing on shipping pallets and cartons of products, not individual items.

Logistics consultants say there are billions of dollars to be saved in creating automated tracking systems that can help reduce loss during distribution and speed up sorting in warehouses.

Until now, radio tagging systems have generally been based on technology owned by individual companies and restricted to niche applications where a small group of users agrees on identifying codes and other crucial standards. Many of the systems operate in the 13.56 megahertz range, a radio frequency that has limited capacity to transfer information rapidly. The market for R.F.I.D. devices and the software to support them is expected to be about $1.13 billion this year, according to the Venture Development Corporation, a market research and consulting firm in Natick, Mass.

That market is projected to grow rapidly as the new version of the technology takes hold. Specifications for the new version - developed by a four-year-old consortium called the Auto-ID Center that is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and sponsored by nearly 100 companies - were released publicly two weeks ago. The new specifications call for R.F.I.D. systems to operate at an ultrahigh frequency, similar to that used by many cellphones.

The higher frequency standard would be able to handle much more data. But the high-frequency approach presents an engineering challenge because it could also cause interference with cellphones and some private radio systems that operate on those frequencies.

The work of turning the specifications into internationally accepted standards will be handed off next month to EPCglobal, a nonprofit subsidiary of the Uniform Code Council, which oversees the use of bar codes, and EAN International, a European commercial standards setting organization.

"I see nothing but green lights," said Michael Di Yeso, chief operating officer of the Uniform Code Council and leader of the team that is transferring the M.I.T. consortium's work to EPCglobal.

The momentum for those standards received a huge lift with Wal-Mart's endorsement this summer. In addition to the goal it set for its largest suppliers, Wal-Mart also said that it wants the rest of its suppliers to be using the EPCglobal standards by the end of 2005.

The Defense Department's decision to follow Wal-Mart's lead was another lift for EPCglobal. The department has been a leader in the use of a different type of R.F.I.D. technology, known as an "active" system, which requires tags to have batteries or other power sources to contact the scanning device.

Those systems are linked to global positioning satellites that track equipment in remote areas like Afghanistan and Iraq. The new commercial version of the technology, in which the tags do not have a power source, has a maximum range of about 20 feet.

The next big event for R.F.I.D. developers is a Nov. 4 meeting at which Wal-Mart will provide details for how suppliers can comply with its needs.

"Wal-Mart is so big it's like 10 companies getting together to force bar codes through 25 years ago," said Eric Peters, senior vice president for business development at Manhattan Associates, a supplier of software for product distribution systems. "Even if you're not in their top 100, you might want to do it so people think you are."

Re:Article - no reg. (3, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083376)

  • Privacy advocates have suggested, among other things, that the tags be designed so that they cannot be reactivated once they are turned off, that all goods with a tag carry a consumer warning and that the tag must be removed when a product is sold unless the buyer agrees to leave it on.


  1. We will remove it for you sir, but that will cost you 50c.
    How many will choose to leave it on.
  2. Why do you want to remove it sir, what have you got to hide ?
    And if you have something to hide, then that is just the excuse that the police/... need to come sniffing.

Either way, the pressures will be such that most people won't bother/want to have them removed.

What if you microwave it with.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083191)

Say you feed the tag to your cat, and then you microwave the cat, would the tag still not work? Hell, why don't you just pin it on some neighborhood dog or cat anyway .. similar to what they did on Police Academy 3 with Zed and Sweetchuck, when they were told to pick up rubbish so the taped the torches on the dogs to make it look like they were walking around.

So how do you destroy them? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083193)

Forbidden or not...

Re:So how do you destroy them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083222)

Don't destroy them, remove them and plant them in the forest.

Re:So how do you destroy them? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083227)

I wonder if putting them next to a commercial radio transmitter might do the trick.

A worker climbs up on the radio tower with his RFID-laced clothing

"And in other news, John Doe registered on all RFID detectors in the county today. And now on to Jan for sports."

8th Frosty Piss! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083194)

This is the eighth frosty piss, you stupid bastards! Read it and weep, mothers!

Search and destroy (1, Interesting)

warmcat (3545) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083196)

I should imagine the coils used by the RFID tags to get power and data should be detectable in the same way that metal detectors look for changes in their coil characteristics by the presence of the metal in the field. This should work even if the RFID tag is being quiescent waiting for a secret code to come in before it will talk, since it must suck power to listen.

"Cleaning behind the couch" will get a whole new meaning.

Re:Search and destroy (2, Interesting)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083223)

Here's why I don't understand all of the complaints:

For RFIDs to be exploitable in the way many seem to think they will be, and for them to be at all useful in a similar manner to bar codes for taking product inventory and the like, they're going to have to have a very generic way of checking the code. Otherwise the store is going to need several readers to check their stock, and the whole usefulness of the scheme will be lost.

If they can read it easily, you can read it easily. It's just a matter of getting a much lower power transciever or tweaking the wavelength in an existing one to manipulate the distance of the read -- you can easily narrow down the position of an RFID tag in an object if you have a modified reader that only works from a millimeter away, right?

We Don't Need This Shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083197)

Something worse than 1984 is approaching. If you can't see the need to overthrow our corporate rulers then you must love Big Brother.

Re:We Don't Need This Shit (1)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083289)

Worse than 1984 ?
It seems to have gotten worse every year since Adam got kicked out of Darwin's test tubes for sharing a Macintosh with Eve...

You either have to live with it and consider its advantages or just to move to some seriously unequiped country in which case, I'd suggest Afghanistan where the progress is being overthrown by the fighters-formerly-known-as-Talibans...

Now, it's not because my house will contain some radio-waves emitting plastic sheets that BB will read it... And even if he manages to do it, I suggest some cancer-researchers take a look to its emissions while I'll investigate some potential bugs in my house (it's either short range or cancerigen, isn't it ?)...

So, just buy Laibach's latest (enhanced)CD [] and have fun.

Power Source (2, Interesting)

switched4OSX (668686) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083199)

No, I didn't RTFA, as it requires a requires a registration. My question is, how long do the power sources in these things last? The link to EPC global did not answer that question.

Re:Power Source (2, Insightful)

L-s-L69 (700599) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083211)

RFID tags do not have an in built power supply, they are supplied with power by the scanner. IE scanner sends out pulse, tag responds. I know this is a bit simplistic but I hope it helps.

Re:Power Source (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083218)

you know, you are allowed to do a search for RFID on your own and read about it on other web sites.

stop being a leech and contribute

Re:Power Source (0, Troll)

switched4OSX (668686) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083263)

yeah, i should have contributed a beowulf cluster or soviet russia joke like this: 74387

nice comeback (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083436)

loser & whiner

good combo

Re:Power Source (1)

Crash42 (116408) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083221)

The tags get their power from a electromagnetic field generated by the tag-reader. This produces electricity in a coil in the tag. So the tags never run out of power and only time and an 'external brute force' (like a hammer) can destroy them.

Re:Power Source (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083234)

So what happens if you work on power transmission lines for a living?

Re:Power Source (0)

SammyTheSnake (630196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083264)

how long do the power sources in these things last?

I'm not intimately familiar with the workings of RFID tags, but they certainly don't need power supplies at all. Compare with the tags they embed in books to stop you nicking them from the library, or the similar (but much larger) tags they attach to clothes in shops, or the ID tags they've started injecting into in pets, or whatever else.

Generally, the way these work is that the 'reader' emits a signal, essentially saying "Where are you little tags?" which is strong enough that the energy of the signal is enough to power a miniscule transmitter that simply says "I'm #2393278". If you've ever played with a crystal-set radio, you'll be familiar with the first half of this process. Or if you've ever had a stereo pick up the mains hum (shield those cables!) There's probably enough electromagnetic energy floating around in the average house to power a transmitter with a range of a few feet even without the 'reader' transmitting power (if the signal is easy to separate from background noise, that is, and your receiver is sensitive).

I guess it's a little similar to the Tesla thing [] .

Cheers & God bless
Sam "SammyTheSnake" Penny

Who cares? (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083200)

Why should I? I'm not paranoid.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Kevin_ap (597233) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083242)

just because your not paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you

Re:Who cares? (4, Funny)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083253)

Why should I? I'm not paranoid.

That's because you don't understand the dangers. The knee jerk reaction to this type of story is to worry about "big brother", government spooks, or whatever. But that's not where the danger lies...

What you do is becoming more and more traceable. Every telephone call you make on a mobile phone, for instance, is logged and traceable back to you. Don't need to worry about this because you're not paranoid? Think again. You see, it's not the government you need to worry about. It's your wife or girlfriend!

Sometime in the near future...

Wifie: Hey, I brought one of those personal stuff locators today, you know, the ones that locate stuff by RFID tags?

Nervous husband: Oh, erm. That will be useful...

Wifie: Yes, very useful. I found a large heap of pornographic magazines on top of the wardrobe...

Nervous husband: Oh! Erm... That's...

Wifie: And why do you keep condoms hidden in the back of your washbag? I'm on the pill. The machine says they were purchased only last week.

Nervous husband: Ah! Now then... I. Erm...

I'm guessing you're not paranoid because you're not married or you don't have a long term girlfriend. You will be...

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083282)

or because he's not a prick?

Re:Who cares? (0)

SammyTheSnake (630196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083290)

Or perhaps because he has enough integrity that being caught out isn't a problem?

Cheers & God bless
Sam "SammyTheSnake" Penny

-- This isn't a .sig. I just typed it

Re:Who cares? (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083301)

Or perhaps because he has enough integrity that being caught out isn't a problem?

It was a joke! Laugh!

Re:Who cares? (0)

SammyTheSnake (630196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083326)

"Ha Ha"

I often wonder why "Cheating on your wife" jokes are so popular. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I can't see the point in getting married if you don't intend to be faithful, and laughing about it doesn't make it any less tragic that so many people think otherwise... hmm.

Oops, -1 Depressing ;)

Cheers & God bless
Sam "SammyTheSnake" Penny

Re:Who cares? (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083359)

I often wonder why "Cheating on your wife" jokes are so popular. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I can't see the point in getting married if you don't intend to be faithful, and laughing about it doesn't make it any less tragic that so many people think otherwise... hmm.

Oops, -1 Depressing ;)

Jokes aren't meant to be taken literally. You should try to lighten up.

Bob: What do you call 1000 lawyers drowned at the bottom of the ocean?

Bill: I don't know. What do you call 1000 lawyers drowned at the bottom of the ocean?

Bob: A start!

Bill: I don't understand why jokes advocating murding lawyers are so popular. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but murder is a very serious crime, and morally indefensible.

Bob: ?!?!?!!!

Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

dollar70 (598384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083426)

For some reason I'm always a little dissappointed whenever I see people list the reasons why I should be concerned. They usually point out the "dirty magazine collection" or something else dealing with those "embarassing" issues. Quite frankly, this isn't something to be worried about so long as you haven't been doing anything wrong.

But what is worrying is when information about you is used in ways to control your behaviour. For instance, if you are thinking about quitting smoking and purchase the patches to help with the cravings. Those interested will track your movements along with the movements of other "quitters" to place smoking triggers along your path to make it that much hard for you to shake the habit.

Perhaps you're a person who has bought a lottery ticket or two. Suddenly you're flooded with all kinds of gambling offers. Sure, you can say no to their offers, but what will others think when they see you getting that barage of junk mail to visit all those cassinos? What will your boss think when they start sending those offers to your office?

Most of us live lives of moderation. We like to take in occasional vices, but we mostly try to keep things pretty mundane. But this isn't allowed in the corperate world. They have to seek out potentially new exploits to justify getting an MBA. Any information that they can get will allow them to find a wedge between you and your better judgement.

I know, I know... You're too smart for their tactics. You're in control of your own destiny. It doesn't bother you when they mercilessly pick away at you. You're just content to sit back in your recliner watching "Matlock" re-runs on cable.

The sad part is, people don't see any value in privacy, because they don't realize the benefits it allows. Being anonymous allows you to have your turn next in line, and receive the same amount of respect as a person who is twice as affluent as your are. Once your personal worth is on the table with everyone else's, your value in society has just been broadcasted, and you will wait until those more worthy have been served no matter how long you've been waiting. You may never be served at that rate...

Oh, but you'll just head on to their competitors, right? Think again. They bought the same list. They also know that you'll be more desperate than before since they knew where you were coming from... Now they can really ream your wallet *IF* they decide you're worth having as a customer.

Privacy also allows you to be forgiven for your past mistakes more easily. Who hasn't made a mistake or exercised poor judgement when they were more youthful? It's the foundation of experience, but if your subordinates know every detail, they aren't as likely to be as subordinate. How can you credibly jump on them for making the same mistakes you used to?

Privacy has a very real value for people in society. It's not just about dirty magazines or illicite affairs. It's about not having to worry what the score is every moment of your life. It about not having to be publicly humiliated at unexpected moments. It's about maintaining person dignity and self-respect.

If you don't have any respect for yourself to keep private things private, how can you expect anyone else to respect you as well?

Read the bullshit and guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083325)

"We understand that to be effective, principles must evolve into policy. Therefore, we are undertaking an intensive process to develop implementation guidelines around our principles and guidelines."

As a general axiom of human behaviour - anyone who crafts such bullshit newspeak as this is up to no good.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083360)

Why should I? I'm not paranoid.

Agreed. They need these things for kids. Imagine schools could take attendence by just having the kid walk through the door. It'd save them from having to do homeroom at the beginning of the day. The only people against unique radio-readable ID tags implanted in every human being on the planet are the religious wackos. We can even track people when they enter buildings. Bank robbery? Just check the RFID tag log.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083391)

If I sat down for a while I could think of loads of uses but here is one off the top of my head.

1. Imagine walking through a shop door having all your clothes scanned. Now the shop knows.
- where and when you bought your clothes
- Other shops that scanned you recently.

Using that information it could build a quick profile of your shopping habits (especially if the tags were from that store and it could cross reference).

with this they could adjust the prices to fleece you or keep you coming back to the store. Or if you are a preferred customer one of the staff gets beeped to help you out. Something similar to what websites do with cookies/user info.

Remeber folks (4, Funny)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083207)

Remember folks -- when you buy tinfoil, remember to remove the RFID tag from it before you make your hat.

Re:Remeber folks (1)

marko123 (131635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083288)

If you are careful during construction, you can make sure the RFID tag is on the inside of the hat.

Mark of the Beast, U.N. Black Helicopters etc. (5, Insightful)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083210)

Ha! I laughed at my buddy a few years back when he said that the U.N. could fly over your house and scan it to see how much money is in it. Now that is a reality. The RFID tags would be useful for inventory purposes, but the privacy thing is hard to shake. Who says that "advanced" criminals in the future won't develop a "super RFID scanner" and scan all of the houses in a neighborhood and "see" what goodies are in each house to try to figure out which house to rob. OR the government can use it to see which house is guilty of thought crime! :)

They'll just call that WARE Driving (4, Funny)

xyote (598794) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083317)

It will be a kind of everyone lives in glass houses society. The only people with privacy will be nudists.

Airports (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083212)

Why aren't RFIDs used for baggage handling at airports? In Europe all baggage of a passenger has to be removed from the plane if this passenger does not board. This may lead to delays because they have to sift through every piece of luggage.

RFIDs should make this much easier...

Re:Airports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083261)

Great idea. The issue, at least with respect to privacy issues, is that there's a large number of ideas, great and not so great that have yet to be thought of, and of those that have occurred to people implement, questions remain as to how well they've been thought through.

I'd like to see them for all pets (except, maybe, goldfish cuz they won't get too far) and cars. At least car keys. That way I could find which pair of trousers I've left them in.

Obigatory aside: I for one welcome out baggage handling overlords.

RFID detector (4, Interesting)

Licensed2Hack (310359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083213)

We may not be able to stop companies from putting RFID tags on their stuff, which becomes *our* stuff when we buy it, but we sure as hell can find these tags and remove or destroy them after purchase.

How difficult would it be to build your own RFID detector? If it is too difficult for Joe and Jane Average, how much might one cost at WalMart/Target/Walgreens/

Somebody want to start a business making these? I have a manufacturing background...

Re:RFID detector (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083244)

If you know the frequency that the tag responds to/transmits on, you can probably rig a small antenna to provide power, and watch the signal on the antenna with an oscilloscope.

Re:RFID detector (1)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083278)

You may be able to find and destroy the RFID tag, but you may also have to destroy or damage the item itself in order to get at the tag.

Re:RFID detector (1)

albin (52375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083306)

Such a detector will work great when we begin to suspect that there are secretly active RFIDs on/in our purchases, etc. Assuming consumer protection agencies manage to get some rudimentary law passed (or a precedent set extrapolated out of existing law), having such a detector will allow us to nail businesses or agencies that break the law, and they'll stop trying by and large. After all, if just a few people are adequately informed and use law to protect themselves, the media will do the rest.

However, a problem I see is Federal Reserve Notes (a.k.a. money -- see the article). Since they are considered the property of the government, we can't exactly refuse to accept FRNs (unlike goods we could purchase elsewhere/not for cash) even if we suspect there are RFIDs in them, assuming there's no other convenient way to move the funds, and actually electronic money is much easier to trace than RFIDs.

So if I want to track you, I simply see to it that you receive an FRN (in the change for your Whopper, say) that I can track. And if you then go home or to Joe's house and discover the RFID, can you disable it? Meanwhile I know you where you went and disabled/tried to disable the RFID. I can also try to pass a law making RFID detectors illegal, but I think it's too late for that to have any effect, unless they insinuate RFIDs into all crucial parts for such a detector! (Paranoia!)

Or I plant an RFID in your tax return check. Or in a letter, or any piece of paper I want.

Another problem with regard to detection is an RFID that starts out dormant and becomes active at a later time, or in response to some stimulus. We'd need some kind of detector that wasn't based on active radio transmission, but rather that detects the unit itself.

I'm going to stop now while things like "RFID dart guns" and "non-radio transmission options" flit through my head...

Re:RFID detector (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083310)

Yeah but if you buy a hundred or so tags a week with your groceries etc. it would be a full time jobtrying to get rid of them

How to stop this (1)

L-s-L69 (700599) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083229)

Moan, tell other people get them to moan too. A store in the UK used these (coupled with a camera system) on razors recently (there was a prev /. post) enough people complained and the store removed the tags. The only way to stop these constant attacks on our privacy is to activly resist them. Oh and for people asking how to destroy these, if you can find them a hammer works. The problem is finding them.

Boycott RFID products (1)

bushboy (112290) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083235)

I can see this happening the same way as Europe boycotts GM food, to the point where supermarkets may actually state on the product :-

"This product does not contain any RFID tags"

RFID can be harmless - for instance, helping supermarkets judge thier stock better, tallying up popular products etc.

However, they are almost certainly going to be abused !

Re:Boycott RFID products (1, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083314)

I doubt it'll go that quite way. Given the EU's track record I suspect we'll just have some legislation to the effect that the RFID has to be on a tear off strip or tag in the same way that labels are attached to clothing. Hell, the damn things are small enough that you could embed the things in those little sticky price labels if you were so inclined.

Personally I'm looking forward to the day I can just wheel my trolley through a scanner and have a bill printed out automatically in front of the teller seconds later. They always look so damn disapproving as they swipe the obscene quantities of alcohol and convenience foods through the damn till, like my diet is any of *their* concern. ;)

Re:Boycott RFID products (1)

bushboy (112290) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083451)

Your probably right.

The general public will be blissfully unaware and non-caring about RFID, that is unless someone points out how it can get out of control.

I suppose so long as there's strict legislation, for instance your 'tear off' tag idea, it won't be a privacy threat.

The supermarket trolley idea is one that as far as I can remember has been through trial runs with different technologoy and indeed it's a good idea - except of course, it will mean millions of lost jobs worldwide ;)

What would be cool is an LCD built into the handle of the trolley that tallies up your purchases as you put them into the trolley.

The next step (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083237)

will be to make it illegal to disable or destroy an RFID tag - as that will be a common procedure used by terrorists to avoid being tracked.

I sure hope that people WTFU and realize that people who WANT to hold office only want it for the power, and the longer we keep electing these people, the more freedoms we will lose.

Political office should be a "draft" position - you get drafted to serve in office for one term and then you're done.. and lawyers aren't allowed.

Re:The next step (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083255)

Increasing government's power is a natural side-effect of serving in government.

The only people who can resist the temptation to increase their power can't get enough positive attention to get elected. They either focus on specialty issues, or they can't get into debates.

kind of like (1)

The Tyro (247333) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083309)

those tags on your mattress that say "do not remove under penalty of law!"

Yep... the mattress police... fear them.

alarmist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083238)

Katherine Albrecht, director of Citizens Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, she is an alarmist, freaking out thinking Big Brother wants to know what brand of coffee is in your cupboard...

Re:alarmist (1)

mo^ (150717) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083294)

The brand of your coffee may be unimportant, but linked to the credit card/storecard/loyalty card you used to buy the coffee with they have a pretty good idea how much cofee you drink.

The information does exist somewhere and only need amalgamting to get a good picture of your habits.

Then your insurance company can buy access to this data and penalise your insurance premiums coz a high coffee drinker has a higher risk of heart disease.

Oh no! (1, Funny)

cperciva (102828) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083239)

My couch is going to have an RFID tag? But... that would allow people to track me everywhere I go -- I never leave home without my couch.

Re:Oh no! (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083402)

Don't you remember the Smart Sofa Recognizes Occupants by Weight [] ?

Well, it will now be able to to use the clothes that you wear as an additional clue. So don't ever wear anyone else's clothes again otherwise it will report you to the morality police.

Higher Data Rates? (1)

beezly (197427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083240)

The article mentions a push for higher data rates...

"The new specifications call for R.F.I.D. systems to operate at an ultrahigh frequency, similar to that used by many cellphones.

"The higher frequency standard would be able to handle much more data."

but... I don't really understand what data needs to be put on these tags. Surely if you have a unique ID for each item, this can be referenced to a DB and then linked back to data there? Can anyone think of a good reason to have (relatively) large amounts of data on the tag itself?

Re:Higher Data Rates? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083266)

A list of scanner IDs encountered recently?

It would take overhead out of finding out where a person's been recently. It would also allow the device to be checked for tampering.

Re:Higher Data Rates? (3, Informative)

rokzy (687636) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083273)

yes, if you RTFA instead of just cut'n'paste whoring, it gives examples of a smart washing machine detecting clothes and a smart cabinet detecting medicine.

surely it'd be better if the washing machine could read the appropriate temperature etc. for the clothes rather than have to connect to some database? as well as being simpler and having less privacy concerns it would be more reliable as you aren't dependent on an external database being maintained just to look up a few properties of the product.

Re:Higher Data Rates? (1)

beezly (197427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083398)

Still, This kind of information is going to be in the order of bytes. If the are considering taking frequencies up to "mobile phone frequencies" this indicates around 900MHz+ and I just don't see what kind of applications for RFID need data transfer rates that high.

Why Higher Data Rates? (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083430)

Higher data rates would help the scanners read more tags at once. One major application is to scan entire pallettes as they pass into or out of the loading dock doors of a warehouse. If you have a pallette full of boxes and each box contains some cartons and each carton contains some retail packs of batteries and all the packs, cartons, boxes, and pallettes have tags, you get a lot of tags to scan. You may want to read thousands of tags in a 1 second interval.

Becuase the tags are passive and dumb, there is no collision detection or avoidance at the tag level. Only if the duty cycle for each tag is very short (i.e., a very short pulse at a high data rate) can you reliably read lots of tags in a short period of time.

kill them (0)

Simple-Simmian (710342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083257)

Cut them up. Beat them with a hammer. Kill them. Consumers don't need this stuff. The Government and big retailers need that crap they think. It will end up being another reason to fire some workers some place do to "increased efficencies." I say we call for a world wide ban. It's possible abuse out weighs it's benefits. It plain sucks.

No Batteries!! (1)

toconn (685100) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083260)

Everytime one of these RFID posts shows up, I'm still amazed people stir up conspiracy scenarios where big brother/robber/neighbor scans your entire house and figures out everything you own.

RFID tags that are cheap enough to attach to all your goods are passive tags. They have no power. The reader must generate power that is absorbed by the tag. There are regulations about how much juice you can generate... making the read range about 1 meter for a tag.. sure you COULD generate more... but to scan a whole house? Good luck! That kind of juice wouldn't be very portable. Furthermore, the kinds of readers that can support anti-collision (required for any of this shelf inventory, scan the whole grocery bag at once stuff) even have shorter read ranges.. like 1 ft.

Not portable? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083274)

About as portable as a generator and a pickup truck.

Not that I'm worried for the short term.

Re:Not portable? (2)

toconn (685100) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083321)

Good luck with that :) Too get a enough charge to a tag at a good distance... I wouldn't want to be sitting anywhere NEAR that reader. Might get quite warm and tingly

As far as good uses for RFID after you bought something with a tag:

- Imagine your refridgerator knowing what you had in it, and how old it was. The same for your pantry.. and then applications where this data is used with a database to pull up recipes you can make with what you've got on hand.

- On the other side, trash cans that know what you throw away and if it's a recurring item (milk, razors, DEODERANT!) it can add it to your shopping cart (this could bring back things like webvan).

- Washer and Dryer that knows when you've mixed your colors with your whites and warns you (because your clothes too are tagged).

- Insurance... you could walk around in your own home pulling all the tags for things to archive your stuff for your homeowner's insurance.

Re:No Batteries!! (1)

Agent R (684654) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083295)

That kind of juice wouldn't be very portable.

Actually, it could.. think Tesla as in Tesla coil.

Re:No Batteries!! (0)

SammyTheSnake (630196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083308)

I doubt it'd be that much power, I've made little radio transmitters (within legal limits) from home science kits before with a range of a hundred metres or so, powered off half a dozen AA batteries. Given that the scenario you describe is somebody intending to indulge in criminal activity anyway, I doubt he'd be too worried about upping the power a little over the legal limit...

Cheers & God bless
Sam "SammyTheSnake" Penny

Re:No Batteries!! (1)

toconn (685100) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083332)

We're not talking "a little"... These things ARE at the limits for doing 1 foot. And we're not just trying to get a signal to these badges, but enough juice to charge a capacitor so that it can "fire" back the response...

Scanner anyone? (1) (302970) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083272)

Where can we get scanners to test if the godds we buy carry RFID-Tags and how much do they cost?

Or will the tags only respond if triggered with the right code?

Forget destroying them, I'm more worried about... (1, Interesting)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083275)

Well, it makes sense that they will be resistant to a number of different attacks; radiation, static electricity, liquid corrosion, software or hardware corruption, reprogramming via other inputs, etc. They have to be, or else stuff will break.

I'm not so much worried about getting past and deactivating the tags, I'm more worried about;

1: radiation from the tags in my neighbors houses getting into mine and helping to contaminate food (energize particles, break them apart, they form new ones which are called free radicals, I eat them, get cancer or the same radiation breaks apart my dna creating cancer). Just think, if everything in your house was putting off a radio frequency that could be read at ~5 feet, that's a lot of radiation even in a room. If you go onto a train in Tokyo around midday it's like a microwave. Sure, RFID tags aren't as bad but still, everything in your house is getting exposed to it.

2: What happens on a day when there's some solar flare activity? RFID purchases are going to be affected one way or another aren't they? Eccess radiation in an area from other sources will show up on a scanner and may screw with equipment.

3: What happens if I go through the checkout with someone behind me and the reader picks up my bag, and their bag and charges me for all the groceries? How do I get my money back?

4: What happens when the stores decide paper money is antequated and require credit cards only? Don't tell me it won't happen either. When you use money your buying habits can't be checked but when you use credit they can track you. I prefer not to be profiled at all, but they're going to find one way or another to do it and make the vast and dumb majority think it's for their own protection against thiefs.

5: Did someone mention theifs wardriving with a scanner, figuring out what people have in their houses and also figuring out when they are there and when they aren't?

6: What do you want to bet that they're going to require people to get this imbedded in their bodies as well? There's already a rice-sized tag people can get that holds all kinds of information about them. And if you don't do it, they'll just make it difficult for you or impossible to not have one. Forget cash or credit card, we only accept RFID identification at the registers now. Oh, you're a criminal? Sorry, we don't sell food to criminals. Oh, your a hacker? You can't use that computer there. Then think about the real hackers who'll go waRFIDing. "Hey, lets make this sorry bastard a child molester." How many incarcerated or military personell are going to be required to get it manditorily?

Re:Forget destroying them, I'm more worried about. (1)

rokzy (687636) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083323)

is this a piss-take or genuine stupidity?

1. they don't generate radiation except when scanned. and that's radio waves - hence Radio Frequency ID. how do you keep out all the "cancer-causing radiation" from radio stations at the moment? I'm sure the same method will work.

2. I'd be more worried about solar flares knocking out electricity grids and communication satellites than maybe breaking an RFID.

3. the usual way.

4. if you RTFA, they can put the tags in paper money so you're already screwed.

5. did someone mention police with even bigger scanners tracking the thieves? or how about a big fat house alarm that goes off if a RFID leaves the premises?

6. usual laws apply.

Bank notes (4, Insightful)

Cyuonut (136786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083277)

...embedded in bank notes to foil money launderers and counterfeiters.

Would microwaving (whatsoever) the tag in a bank note render the note unusable? Will shops also have machines for automatically alerting the local police if I try paying with one of the forged ones?

What if I, without knowing it, carry such a note?

Guantanamo calls.

How about read distances? (4, Interesting)

thogard (43403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083285)

I'll worry about this when someone makes a reader that works well when several tags are in the field at one time. Currently farmers downunder are getting RFID tags for all their cows and most sheep. The farmers are sort of sold on a concept like Mr Spock's transponder saying Bessy is 126 meters at heading 74 with an arrow pointing at the cow. The problem is the current readers are good to read a cows tag at nearly .5 meters and when you consider how wide a cow is there is a bit of a problem.

In an unrelated subject, if someone has any clue about RF and DSPs and pulling several cruddy analog low powered alalog signals out of the either, I know someone that would like to talk to you.

Blocking (4, Informative)

phuqwit (102868) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083296)

You have to start trust in the ingenuity of people ... RSA Security has already found a way to render RFID tags useless. []
Privacy issues have surfaced because any reader can read the numbers on any tag. This means a reader in a department store, for example, could not only see what items a shopper has in her cart but could also see what other items she has purchased at competing stores, as well as how much money is in her wallet and what credit cards she's carrying.

The technology that RSA Labs is proposing would make it simple for corporations and consumers to decide which tags could be read by which readers and when. The solution uses what's known as a blocker tag to simulate all possible tag serial numbers. In doing so, it prevents the reader from discovering whether a specific tag is present.
Equipped with blocker tags it would seem that RFID tags become pointless once outside a controlled environment.

Re:Blocking (0)

Simple-Simmian (710342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083380)

Mod this parent up Informative.

Re:Blocking (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083422)

Nah, they'll just have to install Faraday cages in checkout lines so a person can go in and de-activate their RFID Blocker to pay without everyone knowing what they've got on them...

RFID-embedded money - talk about a mugger's dream come true...

Try to microwave your couch. (1)

kinnell (607819) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083297)

That sounds like a challenge. The first one to post pictures gets a karma bonus!

RFIDs hidden in new cars. US federal initiative! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083322)

But worse RFIDs are in new cars to aid in tracking car movement :

TOP SECRET FACT:Most modern cars have tracking transponders!

Spy transmission chips embedded in tires that can be read REMOTELY while driving.

A secret initiative exists to track all funnel-points on interstates and US borders for car tire ID transponders (RFid chips embedded in the tire).

Yup. My brother works on them.

Your tires have a passive coil with 64 to 128 bit serial number emitter in them! (AIAG B-11 ADC v3.0) . A particular frequency energizes it enough so that a receiver can read its little ROM. A ROM which in essence is your GUID for your TIRE. Multiple tires do not confuse the readers. Its almost identical to all "FastPass" "SpeedPass" technologies you see on gasoline keychain dongles and commuter windshield sticker-chips. The US gov has secretly started using these chips to track people.

Its kind of like FBI "Taggants" in fertilizer and "Taggants" in Gasoline and Bullets, and Blackpowder. But these car tire transponder Ids are meant to actively track and trace movement of your car.

I am not making this up. Melt down a high end Firestone, or Bridgestone tire and go through the bits near the rim (sometimes at base of tread) and you will locate the transmitter (similar to 'grain of rice' pet ids and Mobile SpeedPass, but not as high tech as the tollbooth based units). Sokymat LOGI 160, and Sokymat LOGI 120 transponder buttons are just SOME of the transponders found in modern high end car tires. The AIAG B-11 Tire tracking standard is now implemented for all 3rd party transponder manufactures [covered below].

It is for QA and to prevent fraud and "car theft", but the US Customs service uses it in Canada to detect people who swap license plates on cars when doing a transport of contraband on a mule vehicle that normally has not logged enough hours across the border. The customs service and FBI do not yet talk about this, and are starting using it soon.

Photos of chips before molded into tires: C:

(slashdot ruins links, so you will have to remove the ASCII space it insertess usually into the url above to get to the shocking info and photos on the enbedded LOGI 160 chips that the us gov scans when you cross mexican and canadian borders.)

You never heard of it either because nobody moderates on slashdot anymore and this is probably +0 still. It has also never appeared in print before and is very secret.

Californias Fastpass is being upgraded to scan ALL responding car tires in future years upcoming. I-75 may get them next in rural funnel points in Ohio.

but the fact is... YOU PROBABLY ALREADY HAVE A RADIO TRANSPONDER not counting your digital cell phone which is routinely silently pulsed in CA bay area each rush hour morning unless turned off (consult Wired Magazine Expose article). Those data point pulses are used by NSA on occasions.

The us FBI with NRO/NSA blessings, has requested us gov make this tire scanning information as secret as the information regarding all us inkjet printers sold in usa in the last 3 years using "yellow" GUID barcode under dark ink regions to serialize printouts to thwart counterfeiting of 20 dollar bills. (30 to 40 percent of ALL California counterfeiting is done using cheap Epson inkjet printers, most purchased with credit cards foolishly). Luckily court dockets divulge the existence of the Epson serial numbers on your printouts... but nobody except a handful of people know about this Tire scanning upgrade to big brother's arsenal.

YOU MUST BUY NEUTRALIZED OR FOREIGN TIRES!!!!! Soon such tires will become illegal to import or manufacture, just as Gasoline must have "Taggants" added or gasoline is illegal, as are non-self-aging 9 mm bullets.

It is currently VERY illegal to buy or disable the "911 help" GPS emitter in digital cell phones in the US or ship a modified phone across state borders, but it is still legal to turn off your cell phone in your car while travelling. As you should. And you should be wary of your tires now too. :

Alternatively you could illegally build jamming devices at : 13.56 MHz, + 1,356 MHz +- many freqs (TI-RFid) and a few others. If microwave is ever employed you might not be able to effectively jam but your brain would possibly cook over time, as it now known as of this year that the three harmonic resonances of water are not the only chemical actions harming human tissue at gigaherz frequencies. Jammers would be illegal and violators easy to locate. Tire removal is the only option.

RFIDs have been covertly used and sold by TI for over ten years are in many many products... and now your tires are being read by the us gov as you drive at speeds of up to 100 Mph on primary US interstate corridors. (Actually 160 km/h).

Those same US interstate corridors have radiation detectors too, but a small layer of stacks of interlocked graphite blocks those from detecting stealthy deliveries. Graphite blocks are IDEAL for shipping "dirty bomb" components, I believe.

Anyway, regarding tire radio transmitters: the sokymat LOGI 160, and sokymat LOGI 120) are just SOME of the transponders found in modern tires. The earliest tire radio spy chips had only 64 bit serial numbers but they have rapidly evolved post Sept 11 bombings: LOGI 160 LOGI 120 has 224 bit R/W memory ( to be marked using external hand help injectors with "salt" info when the fbi tags your parked car.

Basically the FBI "marks your car" without touching it physically, thus eliminating a "warrant" to put a locater on your vehicle. Just as the FBI can listen to you while you are at home by LEGALLY bouncing an infrared beam off your vibrating window pane and modulating the signal, the US Gov can LEGALLY inject (program) a saltable read-write sokymat LOGI eeprom tire chip (and other brands of tire transponders)

Using these chips to track people while they drive is actually the idea of the us gov, and current chips CANNOT BE DISABLED or removed. They hope ALL tires will have these chips in 5 years and hope people have a very hard time finding non-chipped tires. Removing the chips is near impossible without destroying the tire as the chips were designed with that DARPA design goal.

They are hardened against removal or heat damage or easy eye detection and can be almost ANYWHERE in the new "big brother" tires. In fact in current models they are integrated early and deep into the substrate of the tire as per US FBI request.

Our freedom of travel are going away in 2003, because now there is an international STANDARD for all tire transponder RFID chips and in 2004 nearly ALL USA cars will have them. Refer to AIAG B-11 ADC, (B-11 is coincidentally Post Sept 11 fastrack initiative by US Gov to speed up tire chip standardization to one read-back standard for highway usage).

The AIAG is "The Automotive Industry Action Group"

The non proprietary (non-sokymat controlled) standard is the AIAG B-11 standard is the "Tire Label and Radio Frequency Identification" standard

"ADC" stands for "Automatic Data Collection"

The "AIDCW" is the US gov manipulated "Automatic Identification Data Collection Work Group"

The standard was started and finished rapidly in less than a year as a direct consequence of the Sep 11 attacks by Saudi nationals.

I believe detection of the AIAG B-11 radio chips (RFIS serial number transponders) in the upgraded car tracking is currently secret knowledge. Another reason to leave "finger print on Driver license" California, but Ohio gets it next, as will every other state eventually.

The AIAG is claiming the chips reduce car theft, assist in tracking defects, and assists error-proofing the tire assembly process. But the real secret is that these 5 cent devices are a us government backed initiative to track citizens travel without their consent or ability to disable the transponders in any way.

All tire manufacturers are forced to comply AIAG B-11 3.0 Radio Tire tracking standard by the 2004 model year. C:

Viewing b11 synopsis is free, downloads from that are $10 and tracked by the FBI. Use the google cache to avoid leaving breadcrumbs.

A huge (28 megabyte compressed zip) video of a tire being scanned remotely is at (the file is "video"). I would use a proxie when touching it. The FBI is monitoring the "curious" hackers.

And just as showerheads are now illegal to import into the USA from Canada or mexico, as are drums of industrial Freon, and standard size toilets are illegal to import for home use, soon car tires without radio transponders will be illegal to bring across state borders.

The US gov is getting away with this. You read it here first. Well over a YEAR ago, from me, but fbi shills kept marking my message to -1 to silence this post. It never gets modded up, and this is the probably third time I posted it over the last 12 months.

Learn and read.

Imagine RFID type tags in bullets (1)

Artifex (18308) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083335)

What would happen if ammunition was somehow RFID-tagged, in a way that survived firing?
It would be a lot easier to tell who originally bought the ammunition for homicides, even if they didn't do any killing.

Of course, right now the government has a guilty-til-proven-innocent attitude towards speeders they catch with unattended photo-radar traps. Will they take a similar stance if they know the owner of materials used in a crime?

Re:Imagine RFID type tags in bullets (1)

Liselle (684663) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083399)

If RFID gains more momentum, somehow I don't see criminals picking up bullets at Wal-Mart.

But if you remember those stun-gun type personal protection thingers, if you fire one it releases thousands of tiny balls with a unique number on them that can be traced back to your weapon. Unfortunately, it's dodgy, because the ones I have heard about require that accurate records be kept at the point of sale, and the makers discovered that no such thing was going on, making the added security pointless. Maybe it will get better when things mature, but there will always be a black market.

Re:Imagine RFID type tags in bullets TAGGANTS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7083448)

There are already taggants in all bullets. Its a federal law. The technology is top secret. Bullets also self age.

Bullets were reclassified as EXPLOSIVES in some cities such as Pasadena and are illegal to possess on private property unless paperwork is filled out for each box.

The taggants used in bullets are "binary' pinches of things mixed in small batches to identify lots.

The chemicals include : rare earth oxides, radiological, BATF 3M color coded taggants (6 million cominations in use), Westinghouse ceramic 0.2mm particle taggants, Mossbauer taggants, Vapor Taggants, disproportionating salts, elastomeric adsorption, microencapsulated vapor, and many more,

Some can be defeated using neodynium magnetic separation, and multiple sift passes due to magnetics, as around 50 ferrites are used preferably.

Most taggants can only be thwarted by mixing many many lots of materials ogether and buying all lots using cash and not credit card and furthemore masking the face, because walmart records all faces even for cash transactions and all receipts are accurately timed within seconds and even transmitted to central walmart headquarters in real time. no other retailers do this though.

bullets do indeed have VERY accurate tagants, so you are either joking or do not know what you are talking about.

chemical taggants are used in all commercial prepared explosives including fuel-nitrate based.

EGDN (ethylene glycol dmltrate), NG, DNT-dinitrotluene, TNT-2, 4, 6,-trinitrotoluene, RDX, etc

worse than ALL taggants are RFIDs already hidden in most cars tiresand readable at highway speeds even in clusters of cars. See my post today on car RFIDs. It also mentions bullet taggants in one of the sentences. i posted it before you even wrote your post.

bullets are tagged under federal law with unique identifiers able to be read off the projectile.

heh (1)

Solikawa (604301) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083339)

i microwave my couch all the time

Ask slashdot... (3, Funny)

dubstop (136484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083346)

Dear Slashdot,

Following some advice that I read on a popular website, I attempted to microwave my couch. In the subsequent house fire, I lost many of my prized possessions, and my microwave oven was damaged beyond repair.

Do I have recourse to legal action in this matter?

Saving lives (2, Interesting)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083354)

Not so long ago, we had a story here in the Netherlands where a shop was able to locate people who bought a certain item, which was poluted by someone wanting to damage a company, because these people had used a bonus card, with a unique number identifying them, and because the shop did register who sold what. Some people had become seriously ill after eating the contaminated product. Luckily, they all recovered.

Double charging... (1, Insightful)

weave (48069) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083369)

OK, how do I stop from getting double charged for items? Like, I buy some books from Borders, then a week later walk into the same store with one or two of those books in my backpack? Or I buy a pack of smokes in one store, then walk into another one with that pack still in my pocket? Or buy some socks from BJs one week, then next week when I go there I'm wearing them.

Re:Double charging... (2, Insightful)

albin (52375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083384)

Well, this is the exact type of use RFIDs are good for. Borders knows you bought that last week because the object is unique and is registered as sold in their database. And if the consumer protection groups are able to do what I think they will try to do, you will have elected to turn the RFID off at the point of purchase and they will have done so, for fear of you detecting it with your homemade RFID detector and suing them for invasion of privacy.

Re:Double charging... (0)

Simple-Simmian (710342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083393)

All tags supposedly have a individual ID so the store already knows what has been purchased and what has not. That is the whole supposed idea inventory control.

Break um (1)

RepublicanFucks (698475) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083394)

Cant you just find where they are and smash em? And who wants a smart washer machine since when has looking at the tag n the back of shirt become to hard to do?

Knee-jerk Alarmists (1, Troll)

jim_mcneely (640547) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083412)

There are some objections and a lot of legitimate strengths to RFID technology. I am surprised to see so many on slashdot being such knee-jerk Luddites. This is promising technology and there are clearly ways to limit the risks it poses.

Here are what seem to be the risks:
1. Businesses keep a database of my purchases and spending habits. What do I care? Maybe they will keep stocking and producing more of what I want to buy. Maybe they will use this to market stuff to me that I am actually interested in. What is the problem with that? The grocery stores already do it with the cards they issue and I am happy to have them do it.
2. Bad guys will drive by and scan my house to see what there is worth stealing. This is not a credible threat, as someone else has pointed out, these are passive tags that can't be read easily at a distance.
3. Nefarious gov't figures will be able to track my movements and will imprison me or kill me. Am I overstating this fear for dramatic effect? Well, what exactly is the fear? If this can be determined to be a true threat to our rights against unwarranted search and seizure, all we have to do is pass a law to have the units blanked out upon the point of sale. It also would seem to be technologically unfeasible.

There are probably many many ways to get around these weaknesses which in my mind are not really that great a threat anyway. The laws against unwarranted search are going to end up being a challenge to the worst of them anyway. The creation of these technologies does not suddenly cause the veracity of deeply entrenched law to just evaporate like a mist.

What are the benefits?
1. I am a database developer, and this is going to create a LOT or work for me for years to come. What's wrong with that?
2. This will greatly increase the efficiency of inventory and logistics systems, cutting down on the need for tedious soul-killing work counting widgets and keeping track of stuff.
3. There are a lot of really fabulous futuristic applications for this that I can't wait to see implemented. The article mentioned auto-inventory of medicine to see what is expired.
4. Far more accurate and efficient inventory means less cost to bring stuff to market which means better stuff for lower prices, or better profits for businesses whcih means more $ available to hire ME to beef up their information infrastructure.
5. These benefits are only the tip of the iceberg.

Let's enforce a no-resale clause (2, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083424)

If a manufacturer wants to stop resale of it's goods on the second hand market (think: CD, software, E-book) it says so on the packet and puts a unique RFID into every item.

Then it goes round the car boot sales and picks up the items (doesn't even need to buy/touch them - scan as they walk by), tie back to the original sale (you did pay by credit card didn't you ?) and hit you with a court case.

Result: more profit

All seems overdone. (1)

Ceadda (625501) | more than 10 years ago | (#7083444)

I've read about this tags in a lot of articles now, and I always see the same complaints. Oh, how am I gonna deactivate them and I don't want to give off a radio signal of the things I'm wearing/carrying. Anything broadcasting its own signal and upc is going to be a small, but findable chunk of plastic and metal. Take new sweater, find tag, take hammer. DEACTIVATED. Its really not going to be that difficult. You may not use that method on your couch, or dvd player, but your not going to walk around in public carrying something the size of a refridgerator, at least I hope not!
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