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Richard Stallman Accosted For Tinfoil Hat

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the of-all-the-reasons dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 549

ndansmith writes "Bruce Perens posts in his blog about an amusing encounter between Richard Stallman and United Nations security at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis. It seems that RFID technology, which Stallman opposes for privacy reasons, was used in the identification badges for the conference. From the blog: 'You can't give Richard a visible RF ID strip without expecting him to protest. Richard acquired an entire roll of aluminum foil and wore his foil-shielded pass prominently.' During a keynote speech, Stallman also passed around the tinfoil for other to use as well. It seems that UN security was not amused, however, as they would not let him leave the room for some time." What makes this even funnier, of course, is that tin foil hats won't stop them.

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549 comments

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070660)

post HA!

Re:first (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070810)

Sounds like Bruce Perens made it up on the spot. I can't imagine hime or Stallman at the UN-conference. Fuck, why would they invite a bunch of fucking clueless smelly weirdos?

Fucking UN, fucking FOSS-communists.

Oh, and why is the body of Perens' article so fucking wide? He can't even grasp simple markup-languages, so how should I believe he has ever contributed anything constructive to GNOME (perhaps some architectural roadmap: 1. add bloat -> 2. add eye-candy -> 3. add more bloat -> 4. see 1. and 3.

Those poor security people ... (5, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070662)

They really had no idea who they were dealing with.

Re:Those poor security people ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070668)

An especially undersocialized nerd?

Re:Those poor security people ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070906)

What? ESR was there, too?

Re:Those poor security people ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070723)

There isn't enough tin in the world to wrap all the way around this guy's ego.

Re:Those poor security people ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070732)

That's because people like Stallman would have long been committed to the loony bin, so everybody else in society don't have to deal with them.

Re:Those poor security people ... (5, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070793)

No, I expect they studied his dossier very carefully.

Then assigned the new kid to the detail. You know the one: shoes are a bit too shiny ;uniform pants crease is a bit toocrisp. The one who never lets you forget he's ready for anything.

Anyhow, that's what I would have done.

Re:Those poor security people ... (5, Insightful)

imlepid (214300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070823)

Security people rarely have any idea what they are dealing with. The main reason why is they are simply given orders to "check an RFID badge" or "wave a wand around those people who set a metal detector off". They aren't paid to think critically or anything. This is often the charge levied by Schneier [schneier.com] . If we hired smart security people, overall we'd be more secure.

Re:Those poor security people ... (5, Insightful)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070860)

But we all know that "security" is not really about security. It's about giving people a "feel-good" product that earns some people vast amounts of money.

Most security is at best pathetic. Why? Because good security is expensive and sometimes invasive hence not acceptable by Joe Sixpack.

Example of such feel-good "security" is what's going on at airports around USA. Best illustrated in Soul Plane [imdb.com]

Re:Those poor security people ... (4, Interesting)

satch89450 (186046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070869)

If we hired smart security people, overall we'd be more secure.

I have my Washoe County, Nevada, work card for security guard work in my wallet. When are you going to step up to the plate and be one of those smarter security guards?

Fill the void!

Why does he want to amplify the signal? (4, Insightful)

odweaver (914814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070664)

Wasn't the whole point of the MIT article that aluminum amplifies and tin degrades signals?

Re:Why does he want to amplify the signal? (0)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070681)

Can some kind mod please bump this guy up? Look at his posting history... no reason he should be negative. Looks like some mod without a sense of humor decided to bomb him into oblivion.

Re:Why does he want to amplify the signal? (2)

odweaver (914814) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070725)

Thanks for sticking up for me.

Re:Why does he want to amplify the signal? (4, Insightful)

external400kdiskette (930221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070734)

Tin Foil is more symbolic and his intention was to make a visible stand against the technology in general as opposed to protect him personally. I guess this sybolic gesture he figured would resonate and give him more publicity for his crusade.

Re:Why does he want to amplify the signal? (-1)

DanMc (623041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070777)

Tin is an aluminium/lead alloy. I have been wondering if a quick 5 second POP in the microwave wouldn't be the best strategy to thwart RFID tags in badges and documents? I once took revenge on my brother by throwing his laser tag gun into the microwave. Of course instantly one of the metal traces on the circuit board popped and the gun was toast.

Re:Why does he want to amplify the signal? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070790)

Tin isn't an alloy, it's an element.

Subskin aluminum foil (4, Funny)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070915)

``aluminum amplifies''

So now I know what they were doing with me in that incubator. They were installing an aluminum hat under my skin. Clever. I'll cut it out, though!

Hmm (4, Funny)

Army of 1 in 10 (931706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070666)

I'm confused... who am I supposed to root for? Stallman or the UN?

Excuse me while I go curl into the fetal position in a corner until I resolve this dilemma. ;)

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070768)

I'm confused... who am I supposed to root for? Stallman or the UN?

That's simple. The total cost of ownership should be much higher for the UN, so you should be able to root them easily.

Re:Hmm (1, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070797)

who am I supposed to root for?

Yourself.

KFG

curses, foiled again! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070667)

Curses, foiled again - darn it! i m #1

RTFA Poster (0, Redundant)

Hellraisr (305322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070669)

He put tin foil around the card itself and encouraged others to do so.

The Slashdot title is wrong. (4, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070713)

Exactly. The story does NOT say "Richard Stallman Accosted For Tinfoil Hat". It says he wrapped his RFID card in aluminum foil, which is 100% effective in preventing reading the card without the card carrier's knowledge. The story also says that Mr. Stallman willingly took off the foil at checkpoints.

Re:RTFA Poster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070875)

As if you would expect posters to ACTUALLY read the article. Let alone the post, i am kinda interested how it went from foil over the badge to a fail hat ... but then again I suppose it makes it a more interesting post that way, wouldnt want accuracy to get in the way.

I may be going out on a limb (4, Insightful)

mr_da3m0n (887821) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070671)

But I think this was just a message he was trying to get accross. Now what I wonder is why the security didn't let him leave? OH NOES HE HAS TIN FOIL OVER BADGES!!1 Unless they had something to hide...?

Chickenwire the new tinfoil! (5, Informative)

dj245 (732906) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070678)

If the holeys in a mesh are half the size of the average wavelength of the radiation, practically none will get through, assuming it is made of the right material. The proper size mesh for RFID technology is left as an excerise for the reader.

Re:Chickenwire the new tinfoil! (3, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070819)

Isn't it supposed to work to just surround the whole thing with anything that conducts electricity, creating a Faraday cage?

Re:Chickenwire the new tinfoil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070877)

Kind of.

If you have a mesh where the spacing equals the wavelength, then the signal cant get through either way.

If you wrap something in metal (solid sheet, or mesh where spacing is less than the wavelength), then the RF can't get in, but it can get out.

Re:Chickenwire the new tinfoil! (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070910)

``If you wrap something in metal (solid sheet, or mesh where spacing is less than the wavelength), then the RF can't get in, but it can get out.''

So then you just have to wrap the rest of the world in it, right?

Or simply wrap yourself in it, and declare yourself to be on the outside.

What are you talking about? (5, Funny)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070679)

"What makes this even funnier, of course, is that tin foil hats won't stop them [slashdot.org] ."

what are you talking about? Tin foil hats stop everything :P

Re:What are you talking about? (1)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070827)

What makes this even funnier, of course, is that tin foil hats won't stop them.

Wasn't the government going to line the new RFID passports with tin foil to appease the critics?

Re:What are you talking about? (1)

ff1324 (783953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070874)

what are you talking about? Tin foil hats stop everything

Actually, red tape has the power to stop logical thought.

The Hypocrisy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070684)

I love how these techno-leftists think RFID rechnology is just inherently evil without regard to whose using it and what purpose it is for, and yet say that P2P technologies like Bittorrent are great, even though the major purpose of it is copyright infringement.

It's just another example of hypocrisy.

Re:The Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070699)

Yeah, real hypocritical... do you even know what that word means?

Re:The Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070719)

Who said that RFID is "inherently evil without regard to whose using it and what purpose it is for?" There is no need for RFID in personal identification documents, a contact readable chip does all the same legitimate things with less abuse potential. And the major purpose of Bittorrent is to move large amounts of data asshole.

Re:The Hypocrisy (2, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070736)

Yes, because BitTorrent can not be used for human trafficking or for keeping track of citizens' movements in a totalitarian state, such as one that considers copyright infringement to be more important than these things.

Re:The Hypocrisy (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070789)

Right, because cheap RFID - with an effective range of a few feet - is really gonna be a big concern in tracking down people. You're making the case for a non-existant concern. And even if it were a concern, that's what the UN is there for - or is the UN not capable of handling such things?

-everphilski-

Re:The Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070853)

Dear everphilski,

Hello, my name won't mean much to you as unlike most slashdoters you don't know me. My job is to increase gain to allow faint radio signals to be recieved at larger distances. People who don't know me are often surprised how effective I can be at my job, but they soon realize that the range of radio equipment is not as easy to tell as they thought.

Yours north, west, east and south,
Directional Antenna

Re:The Hypocrisy (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070749)

Not at all. The "major purpose" of Bit Torrent is to transfer large files efficiently. Bram Cohen intended that to be used for entirely legal purposes such as Linux distributions. The fact that, like most tools, it had wider application is completely irrelevant. You can break into someone's home with a screwdriver ... that doesn't make a screwdriver inherently evil.

Bit Torrent and similar technologies simply give individuals more power. Yes, more power to do things that some organizations would rather they didn't do, but also more power to make their lives better as well. A trade-off, in other words, and one that (for once) is on the side of the many, rather than the few.

Valid complaints about RFID are generally not "RFID rechnology is just inherently evil", but are oriented against governments and/or criminal organizations that would use it to hurt people. Yes, there are many legitimate benefits conferred by RFID tech, but those must be balanced against the potential for people to get hurt by them. Thoughtless dissemination of RFID technology (such as the U.S. State Department was all set to do with passports) will cause a lot more damage than it is worth.

Re:The Hypocrisy (1)

Hikaru79 (832891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070909)

The fact that, like most tools, it had wider application is completely irrelevant. You can break into someone's home with a screwdriver ... that doesn't make a screwdriver inherently evil.

Ugh. It pains me every time I hear analogies like this. Let me give you a better analogy, based off yours. A company releases a new brand of screwdriver that is VERY VERY effective at taking the knobs off doors (among other things, of course). Suddenly, almost every home in the country is being broken into because of these new screwdrivers (which are just doing their job, it is of course the person USING the screwdriver at fault). You can't even reasonably expect to buy a house without knowing it will be broken into by the next day. There, now we have a fair analogy. Now would you say it would be a good idea to take those screwdrivers off the market?

I am NOT in any way saying that Bittorrent or even filesharing is evil. I just can't stand stupid analogies.

Losing privacy is wrong, (C) infringment isn't. (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070779)

What's so hard to understand about that?

Re:Losing privacy is wrong, (C) infringment isn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070821)

And copyright infringement of GPL code isn't wrong as well? Because you people seem to have a big problem with that.

With that, I just totally dismantled your idiotic point, boy. Time for my victory lap.

Re:Losing privacy is wrong, (C) infringment isn't. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070854)

Ha! What an idiot you are! That doesn't "dismantle" my point at all; on the contrary, it proves it! You know why? Because if we didn't have copyright, we wouldn't NEED the GPL! All software would be Free (even "closed-source", because the source code could leak once and then everyone could use it).

Paranoia isn't cheap (5, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070685)

You deserve what you get if you use aluminum foil. Any conspiracy theorist worth his salary won't accept anything less than genuine tin.

Re:Paranoia isn't cheap (1)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070843)

Of course if his salary permits, he could use silver. It is much classier and a much better conducter. Myself, I like copper.

tin, pfft (5, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070848)

lead is the only way to go

I used to use a anti-xray film bag for shoplifting, works a treat

brilliant... (2, Interesting)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070689)

nice, he makes a big ostentatious show of covering up his RFID strip with foil so "they" can't get at him, and of course all that happens is "they" make a big show of harassing him.

Fucking hilarious.

Re:brilliant... (5, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070846)

nice, he makes a big ostentatious show of covering up his RFID strip with foil so "they" can't get at him, and of course all that happens is "they" make a big show of harassing him.

This is exactly what he intended. If they hadn't harassed him, then the story wouldn't be in the news, and nobody would know about it. However, he knew that this would most likely cause some kind of stink, which would generated a news story that gets people talking about the issue. Now we're all here thinking about RFD, just as RMS wanted.

RMS played the UN security like puppets on strings just the same way as terrorists play the administration and congress: they know what the knee-jerk reaction will be and they use it to their advantage.

Credit where Credit is due. (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070690)

I take exception to many things that RMS says and does, but I'm with him 100% on this one. Way to go, Richard!

-jcr

Re:Credit where Credit is due. (-1, Flamebait)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070707)

What are you, kidding? He's a total asshole. If he didn't want a name badge with RFID in it (which is moronic itself), he could have just asked politely for a plain paper one. Oh, but if you're polite, and ask nicely, you're not "fighting THE MAN!" or whatever the hell Stallman thinks he's doing. So instead he has to be an asshole to the security guys who are just trying to do their job. And here's a news flash RMS: the security guys who had to deal with your bull aren't the people who decided to use RFID name badges and have no power to reverse that decision. So you're just being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole.

Why is it stupid? Millions of people wear RFID name badges every hour of every day, and I've not yet heard of anybody's privacy being compromised. I work at a county hospital in the middle of nowhere, and we have a RFID badge system. When you're talking about RFID tags you don't know are there, then you might have something to protest, but this is just stupid as all hell.

Re:Credit where Credit is due. (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070743)

Um, Stallman was harrassed and was kept prisoner, more or less. Privacy invaded, ding. Next.

Re:Credit where Credit is due. (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070767)

Sorry. So sorry, responded to wrong post. I blame the sunlight on the monitor this morning.

Re:Credit where Credit is due. (0, Troll)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070774)

Yeah, he was being an asshole. Of course he was harassed; he deserved to be harassed.

Whatever happened to being polite when visiting somebody? If he didn't want to follow the rules, he could have just left instead of coming in like a crazy guy waving foil around.

And how was his privacy invaded? You haven't explained that part, yet. Is a security guard buying stuff with his credit card on Amazon because he scanned his name badge?

Re:Credit where Credit is due. (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070788)

Whatever happened to being polite when visiting somebody?

Whatever happened to being polite to one's guests?

RMS was right, the UN organizers were wrong. End of story.

-jcr

Re:Credit where Credit is due. (2, Informative)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070834)

End of story? Because your opinion obviously supersedes everybody else's. In fact, I don't know why I'm even posting this, seeing as how you've stated what you think, which is undoubtedly without question, and there's no point in discussing it further.

Sarcasm aside... the UN could have been more polite on this issue. RMS could have been more polite on this issue. For instance, why didn't RMS protest the badge when handed it in the first place? Why did he, instead, go out and buy a roll of foil and start covering it up? Did he even attempt to talk to the organizers to obtain a badge with no RFID strip?

There's still no excuse for acting like a jackass, and being a pain to people (the security guards) who have nothing to do with the decision to use RFID badges. (If he was being a pain to, say, the Head of Security, or somebody else who was involved in the decision and had the ability to revoke it, then that would be a different story.) If you want to get something changed, being a jerk to innocent guys just trying to do their job isn't the way.

Is this the first time you've seen this? (4, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070904)

It is extreamly common for people in authority to use other who have no say to deliver their messages. This is often done with the express purpose of pushing unreasonable requests on people, and creating exactly your feelings on anyone who complains. This is not just in government, but in jobs, and even in families.

How many people have had a review, that included a "wage review", at work where they are told that someone not involved in the meeting, and unaccessable to the employee, is the final decicion on their raise. This was the same thing.

So basically you are wrong. In most situations, being a jerk to the innocent guys just trying to do their job is the only way to get things changed. If your job is Henchman, expect to be treated like it.

You know,,,, (0, Offtopic)

Chickenofbristol55 (884806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070691)

hats made out of lead keep the aliens and the "man" at bay better than aluminum!

And hyperthreaded processors are the sign of the devil!

~Chicken

Re:You know,,,, (-1, Offtopic)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070786)

Hyperthreaded processors are the sign of Ronald Reagan?

-- Huey Freeman

Tin/Aluminium? (1, Interesting)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070697)

I'm surprised someone as knowledgeable (or as crazy, depending on your point of view) about these things as Stallman would mix up using aluminium foil - which is almost useless when it comes to these sort of signals - and tin foil, which is somewhat more effective.

Kudos to him for doing this, though, as regardless of what you think about the man, there are still a lot of problems and risks to be ironed out with RFID, not just the privacy concerns that Stallman has, and personally I'd be in two minds about carrying anything that relied on such technology until those issues are resolved - admittedly, though, I'd probably be OK with it for something like this, I'm more concerned about RFID passports and credit cards, given the recent issues (I'm too lazy to look them up on the /. search myself, but they're there if you want to hunt them down, just search for 'RFID')

Re:Tin/Aluminium? (1)

really? (199452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070839)

I would guess he was just trying to make a point, rather than actually make it work. no?

Re:Tin/Aluminium? (4, Informative)

anethema (99553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070845)

Actually, beeing an electrical engineer, I can tell you that aluminum or tin would be an equally effective shield for RFID or any other frequency in which it is relativly large enough. (Relative to the wavelength used by the transmitting device..in the case of RFID it can use anything from 52 mm to 2398 m. No matter the frequency, encasing an entire object in metal foil will block its RF output as explained loosely below.)

If you wrap any RF transmitting device in tin OR aluminum foil, you are going to completely shield the device and no RF will get in or out because the foil would act as a farady cage.

This is because aluminum conducts electricity just fine, and as RF is composed of electro-magnetet waves, a solid conducting surface will act as a ground (short) and bounce the signal. If there is no way for the signal to escape, it wont.

Any electrically conductive material would have this property. You could (and it has been done many times) make a faraday cage out of aluminum just as easily as steel or tin. Aluminum of course only has about 60 percent of the electrical conductivity of copper so copper (actually silver but obviously too expensive) would be the ideal material, but for weak signals like RFID it is irrelivant and both would work fine.

Movie Guy Comment (3, Funny)

griffjon (14945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070702)

Richard Stallman Accosted For Tinfoil Hat

Best. Slashdot Heading. Ever.

Re:Movie Guy Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070855)

Nah, the prize has to go to "Richard Stallman opposes SOAP" (can't be arsed to search for it.)

For all the "what does it matter" folks (5, Interesting)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070705)

For months as this RFID contraversy has progressed, people on the 'dot have said, "well, you can always block it with a piece of foil if you don't want to be tracked".

Well, guess what? As predicted by a quick examination of human nature, they WON'T let you block your tracking devices. You will not have a choice as to when and where you will be tracked. This is just the very beginning, the closing of the gate, of our World Prison.

Tell me why again we have to have tracking devices embedded on our persons? I seem to have missed the reasoning. Terrorism?

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (3, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070746)

It's a goddamned NAME BADGE! It's not the Illuminadi, it's not the "Pentaveret" or whatever the hell secret society you think is covering up UFO's. It's to identify which doors he should be able to unlock and which he shouldn't have access to. Millions of people were RFID name badges every day. Thousands of businesses require them. Why is everyone on Slashdot, a Linux-oriented website, so technophobic and paranoid? And half of the people posting here probably wear a RFID name badge to work, also.

Look, there are legitimate reasons to oppose *some* RFID tags. For instance, RFID tags put on clothing which are not removed at purchase. But clowning like this only serves to distract from the real issue.

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (5, Interesting)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070795)

Exactly. It was just an identity badge. And they went bonkers. Totally disproportionate response.

Yell at the authority-maddened idiots who thought they could harrass Stallman, not Stallman. He made the point beautifully. It's about the POWER, not about security.

What do you think the guvmint or the cops will do when you block THEIR tracking, even symbolically? Arrest, jail, prison, inevitably.

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070849)

"Authority-maddened?" They went "bonkers?" They just held him until he removed the foil so they could scan his badge. That's "bonkers" now?

Has it ever occurred to you that they use RFID badges because it makes their job, keeping the UN secure, easier?

If Stallman was opposed to the badge, he should have said so, POLITELY, when it was issued. He waved around foil because he wanted to get his face in the papers the next day. If he wanted to actually protest the usage of RFID badges, he'd have talked to the Head of Security, or whoever recommended them in the first place. Being a jerk to the security guards, probably some of the lowest-paid employees there, isn't helping.

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (3, Insightful)

qeveren (318805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070914)

You're missing the point entirely. He wrapped the badge in aluminum foil precisely to cause this reaction, because he wanted to get his point across to a wide audience of people.

Complaining quietly and politely about certain kinds of issues just gets you swept under the rug and ignored.

And since when should security be 'easier'? If security is easy then you're probably doing something wrong.

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070796)

A name badge is something with a name on it, a badge with radio equipment isn't just a name badge anymore. Doors can be controlled with contact readable chips, the widespread abuse of RFID chips for this purpose does not make it good.

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070760)

Imagine you were kidnapped. In that case you would be happy to have a tracker on you :)

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070811)

Except that it wouldn't do a damn bit of good, because the "good guys" only read them at the DMV or conference or whatever. If you were being kidnapped, you'd be in the situation where only the bad guys are reading your RFID.

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (0, Flamebait)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070765)

Actually, after RTFA, I think that the reason he was not allowed to leave the room right away was not that he had wrapped his RFID badge in foil, but rather that he had (jokingly) talked about killing another participant.

Of course, everyone with common sense would've realised it was just a joke, but security people tend to take these things seriously.

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070829)

Not smart. Making a joke in a situation like that is tacky at best. My bet is that the security isn't there just because uniformed men look good, but because there is a real threat caused by violent people wanting to make a name for themselves and their cause.

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070870)

From TFA, he commented about killing the guy AFTER he was allowed into the room for his panel discussion (after being delayed at the door).

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (2, Informative)

__drewmerc (642198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070891)

if you had actually RTFA'd you'd realize that comment wasn't made until nearly 2 hours after he was allowed to leave the room. so no, the sarcastic "maybe i shoulda killed ..." comment has absolutely nothing to do with him not being allowed to leave the initial panel room.

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (3, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070836)

Tell me why again we have to have tracking devices embedded on our persons? - because you are a slave. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind.

Ok, now that I did the obligatory Matrix quote, here is why I think tracking every single individual's movements, purchases, and even thoughts is an inevitable future: the technological advances allow government bodies to have the most control over the population (look what is happenning in the most developped countries: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, etc.) The government has the will to control the population. Ironically it is the population that gives the government that power. Apparently the small number of people who are able to innovate and come up with technological progress are mostly the ones who understand how this new tech can be abused to give the government more power and to take away freedoms of the people. Unfortunately the majority of the people are not the ones responsible for the innovation, they are just 'consumers', they have no clue. But they are the majority and they are always ready to trade their freedoms for some illusion of security and/or convenience. The innovation suggests new technical possibilities, the government needs a stable system to make its only income: the taxes. Thus the government protects and maximizes its source of income: a stable regime with powerful system of controls that absolutely prohibit any dissident behaviour that leads to decreases in government income. The population in majority agrees to anything that creates illusion of security/safety/convenience etc., and basically gives up the idea that individuals should be responsible for their own behaviour and actions to themselves first. It looks more and more like an ant colony or a bee hive, doesn't it?

It looks like it is the inherit property of a system - to maximize government control and power and minimize individual freedoms in order to maximize government's income. The problem is a system based on taxes.

Thus, see my previous [slashdot.org] posts [slashdot.org] .

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070861)

Short and simple:

You're paranoid. Seek help.

Re:For all the "what does it matter" folks (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070878)

You're paranoid. Seek help. - just because I seem paranoid to you does not mean they are not out to get us.

It's the principle of the thing. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070714)

I don't think he covered his tag in foil to block the radiation. It seems to me that it was more about sending the message that making him and others wear RFID tags was Not Cool.

You Westerners are funny (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070717)

I propose a trade. We'll take whatever RFID tech your companys want to try. You take all our imams and Communists and cholera epidemics and goernment induced famines. Cool?

Honestly, this is what you worry about? This is where you expend your free speech and ability to protest?

I proposed a variant of Munchausen's syndrom called Orwell's syndrome where people imagine the government is out to monitor them and get them.

Are are UFOs involved? We'll take those, too. Even the anal probes. You can hve the police who round up people based on ancient tribal division and ram them ass first on to stakes in the ground simply because it amuses them to do so.

I always wonder what youin the West would do in the face of true evil. Soil your panties and faint, I imagine. Especially the geeks like you. You think your SOCOM or Splinter Cell experience will serve you well if a governemnt rape detail came visiting?

This is what it takes! (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070835)

The price of Freedom is eternal vigilance. -- Thomas Jefferson
Hell yes, we worry about this, because it takes this level of concern to remain Free! Maybe the fact that you apparently don't care enough to complain is why your country is fucked up so bad! Have you ever considered that?!!

Re:You Westerners are funny (3, Interesting)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070859)

I always wonder what youin the West would do in the face of true evil. Soil your panties and faint, I imagine.

Perhaps you'll find that "true evil" can turn wusses into heroes. We sit on our fat asses, because we can.

You have to hand it to Richard (5, Insightful)

Mel (21137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070718)

The guy has balls and he'll make a stand against what he believes in no matter how it looks. Sure, the tinfoil hat doesn't actually work, but it's a visible symbol that cannot be ignored. Without people like him making a visible protest on a forum that so many high-level people will notice, protests against tracking technologies are just pissing into the wind.

Rock on Richard.

Re:You have to hand it to Richard (4, Insightful)

gkuz (706134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070773)

The guy has balls and he'll make a stand against what he believes in

I thought he was making a stand for what he believes in.

Re:You have to hand it to Richard (0, Flamebait)

CodeArtisan (795142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070816)

The guy has balls

Yeah, wrapping foil round a badge. How courageous is that ? What a hero. If only he'd stamped his foot too, I would have wanted to father his children.

Their rules (2, Insightful)

secolactico (519805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070747)

I think he would have made a better statement if he simply refused to attend the summit upon finding out that the tags had RFID.

Having a covered up badge could be a breach of security, since not only did he cover the RFID (and not even that) but he covered the "visual part" of the badge.

Of course, being a famous personality, that wouldn't be much of an issue, but what about the "crashers" that got a wad of aluminum and simply say that they were following RMS' advice?

I admire RMS in this aspect. I wish I could do more to preserve our right to privacy. Nowadays, all I do is refuse the services of people who insist in gathering all kind of information in exchange of unrelated good/services (I just want to rent a movie, you don't need to know my yearly income of wether I have life insurance). But it's a losing battle.

It's called "Civil Disobedience" (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070844)

By definition, it doesn't work if you play by their rules. If he'd just chosen not to show up, nobody would care. Doing this, however, caused enough of a commotion that we're now reading about it on Slashdot. This is exactly what RMS WANTED to happen!

Great image for the FOSS movement (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070748)

I'm going to be flamed for this so I'll post AC.

I respect RMS. He's contributed a lot to the FOSS movement (but no, sorry, what I run is Linux). Several of his writings are thought-provoking. But on the other hand, we all want to see Linux become mainstream. Is this the image we want corporations to have about FOSS? One of its leaders childishly and purposefully gets in trouble with UN security for shielding his pass in aluminium foil. A movement led by immature pranksters. Is that the image we want?

real reason? (4, Funny)

Bethor (172209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070770)

Are you sure it was the tinfoil?
I mean, if I was a security guy and got confronted by this [indymedia.org] this, I would be pretty nervous too!

is that the second coming of Jesus? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070838)

or just some paranoid wacko?

Transparent tinfoil hats and badge holders (3, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070813)

Richard will surely be using transparent aluminum in many creative ways. It is the best of both worlds, you can see the RFID tag, you just can't scan for it.

Stallman rocks... (0, Troll)

rmsmith (930507) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070815)

And not just because he and I share the same initials, either. You show 'em, RMS.

Ironic having the summit in Tunis (4, Insightful)

Twid (67847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070824)

The real story for this conference is the sad irony of having an information summit in Tunis, which violently suppresses freedom of expression [indexonline.org] .

You can read lots more stories here. [google.com] I'm pretty surprised the freedom-loving editors at slashdot didn't pick this up as a separate story, it's much more important than Stallman's RFID-tinfoil stunt.

Re:Ironic having the summit in Tunis (2, Insightful)

dysk (621566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070857)

The real story for this conference is the sad irony of having an information summit in Tunis, which violently suppresses freedom of expression.
Maybe it is good to bring people who believe in free speech to a place where it is lacking. Otherwise we're simply preaching to the choir.

if (Al == Sn) (1, Funny)

kperson (771747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070841)

From the people that brought you... "Pi = 3.14" We now have... "aluminum = tin".

tin foil, aluminium foil, tin foil, aluminium foil (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14070864)

So.. lets see about this

slashdot article mentions tinfoil in title
slashdot article states richard stallman used aluminium foil
slashdot article references him using tinfoil (which one is it now?)
slashdot article references another slashdot article stating tin foil hats won't stop the arbitrary collection of people considered as 'them', but the article actually again features tinfoil in title, and says aluminium foil to be the bad choice again contradicting the title of the article referenced

I dont want to go read TFA, i might just find out that stallman stripped all his clothes and seran wrapped himself after throwing a tinfoil chair across the office hitting some beancounter and knocking his damn tin foil hat off his melon.

so uhm yeah, i must be new to slashdot or...

Tinfoil (2, Insightful)

PrimeNumber (136578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070903)

Although Stallman probably knew that tinfoil doesnt work, he was more likely trying to make a political point about RFID, which was a good thing IMHO.
 
Personally I would have suggested that people go to the snack room and throw it in a microwave oven, that way it makes it a pain in the ass and costs those who want to implement this crap. Money is the only thing people like this understand anyway.

Al Foil would work fine (4, Informative)

StarsAreAlsoFire (738726) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070905)

Ladies and gents: Aluminum foil may not work for head-gear, but it will work just dandy for covering an RFID tag.

Tag == 100% wrapped.

Head != 100% wrapped (one would hope)

Aluminum foil is conductive. That and complete coverage is all you need for a faraday cage.

There are like 30 posts already that act like it won't work: it will. Want to test it? Wrap your walkman in foil and try to listen to FM. Freqs are different for RFID (probably), but it doesn't matter.

Take care not to touch the ant. of the radio to the foil though, or you may actually improve reception ;~)

Hammer time? (3, Interesting)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14070908)

Why not just set the thing down, and bash the RFID chip with a hammer, or crush it with your leatherman? Claim not to know why it doesn't work, and let them deal with you in the conventional manner, instead of all this big brother shit.

--Mike--

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