Is RFID tracking you?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, May 7, 2008.

  1. Principessa

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    It's not new; but RFID's are becoming more prevalent on many consumer purchased items. The passport I just received last month has one embedded in it.

    Is RFID tracking you?

    By Daniel Sieberg~CNN

    (CNN) -- Radio frequency identification has been heralded as a breakthrough in tracking technology, and denounced as the next Big Brother surveillance tool.


    RFID sounds futuristic: A transmitter smaller than a dime embedded in everything from a T-shirt to human skin, communicating data over a short distance to a reading device.

    The technology has been around for decades -- the British used it to identify aircraft as friend or foe during World War II, and factory warehouses have used it more recently to make shipping more efficient.
    So why is it getting so much attention now? The short answer is that RFID has moved into more common corners of society.

    Today, it can be used to identify missing pets, monitor vehicle traffic, track livestock to help prevent disease outbreaks, and follow pharmaceuticals to fight counterfeit drugs. Many of us start our cars using RFID chips embedded in the ignition key.

    RFID chips, injected under the skin, can store a medical history or be used to control access to secure areas. The next generation of passports and credit cards are hotbeds for RFID. It could make bar codes obsolete.

    However, hackers and analysts are exposing potentially serious problems. Hackers could disable a car's RFID anti-theft feature, swap a product's price for a lower one, or copy medical information from an RFID chip.

    "The dark side of RFID is surreptitious access," said Bruce Schneier, a security expert with Counterpane Internet Security Inc.

    "When RFID chips are embedded in your ID cards, your clothes, your possessions, you are effectively broadcasting who you are to anyone within range," he said. "The level of surveillance possible, not only by the government but by corporations and criminals as well, will be unprecedented. There simply will be no place to hide."

    But Mark Roberti, editor of RFID Journal, a trade publication that claims independence from the RFID industry, said the long-term convenience and cost-savings outweighs the potential pitfalls.

    "Technology is neither good nor evil," Roberti wrote in an e-mail responding to questions from CNN. "Technology is a tool. All technologies can be used in positive or negative ways

    "The Internet is a great boon to businesses and consumers, but some use it [unscrupulously]. RFID is no different. It will be bring tremendous benefits to consumers and businesses. The key is to find ways to maximize the benefits and try to limit any potential abuses."
    Can an identity be stolen?

    Most RFID chips or tags are passive, meaning they contain no battery power and can transmit data only when zapped with a reader. Active tags, which are more expensive, can carry some battery power

    Prices for the chips can range from several cents to a couple of dollars apiece, depending on the application and whether they are ordered in bulk. The cost has limited RFID's appeal. To compete with barcodes, RFID chips need to be priced at under a penny each. The cost is gradually coming down, though

    The storage space is extremely small, typically about 2KB, and the data on the tags can be read by equipment from a few inches to several feet away -- and sometimes a bit farther.

    A group of hackers at the 2005 DefCon technology convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, used an antenna attached to an RFID reader to scan the information on a tag nearly 70 feet away. RFID proponents downplayed the demonstration, saying the apparatus was impractical and wouldn't work if the information on the RFID tag were encrypted, which is more often the case.

    "The kind of RFID that is becoming widely used has no power source, and can send information over tens of feet. Compared to, say, a cell phone, which transmits personal identity and location information for miles, RFID's potential for misuse and abuse is quite trivial," Kevin Ashton, vice president at ThingMagic LLC, a manufacturer of RFID readers, wrote in an e-mail responding to CNN's questions.

    "That said, companies that make and use RFID have a responsibility to make sure the technology is developed and adopted in ways that make it secure and useful."

    That responsibility was recently addressed by a best-practices manifesto composed by the RFID industry. Participating companies included Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Visa U.S.A. and Proctor & Gamble.
    The manifesto is meant to assuage consumer fears about how data could be collected, shared and stored. Key parts of the document include an agreement to notify consumers about RFID data collection and give them a choice when it comes to gathering personal information. But the manifesto doesn't suggest any penalties for not complying, and the onus would likely fall to the Federal Trade Commission to investigate any claims of harm or wrongdoing.

    "Credit card companies have huge incentives to secure the transaction: They need to avoid customer complaints, counterfeiting and billing disputes, so it seems reasonable to assume high levels of security will have to be built in before such a system would be widely accepted," wrote ThingMagic's Ashton.

    RFID near you

    Despite these concerns, others say there are huge benefits to using RFID.

    "At least 30 million people carry an RFID tag on them every day in their car keys or in their access control card to get into their office building or to buy gas or to pay a toll," wrote RFID Journal's Roberti. "Everywhere RFID has been rolled out in the consumer environment, consumers have overwhelmingly embraced it."

    One new consumer application is in credit cards. Consumers could simply wave a credit card containing a passive chip at an RFID reader to pay for their purchases.

    While there is concern that hackers could remotely read the card information, supporters argue it would be easier for merchants, and the speed of the processing time could shave off more than a dozen seconds per transaction, which would add up. They also say transactions would be no more or less secure than they are today.

    "That is, if you buy stuff today with a credit card, that information is stored in a database," Roberti wrote. "When or if RFID is used to record sales, data will go in a database, the same one in fact. If the government wants access to the RFID data or the bar code data, it's essentially the same thing."

    The controversy and discussion about RFID technology will not end anytime soon. But both sides agree that a sizable dose of debate is needed to hammer out the kinks. Meanwhile, the technology is appearing in an increasing number of places -- though even if you look around, you still might miss it.



    HOWTO kill/block an RFID
    Posted by Cory Doctorow, April 25, 2008
     
  2. D_Ivana Dickenside

    D_Ivana Dickenside New Member

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    what a great article. i had no idea stuff like this was going on... and omg is that scary!! eeek!
     
  3. D_Roland_D_Hay

    D_Roland_D_Hay Account Disabled

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    Big Brother is just around the corner!!!
     
  4. DC_DEEP

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    I mentioned these in several past threads. Yes, the RFID is becoming ubiquitous.

    My current passport doesn't have one, but I have to renew in a couple of years, so yeah, I'll have yet another one.

    The only one I use with any frequency (the only one that does any tracking, anyway) is my SmartPass for the bus & the train. The SmartPass is required to exit any Metro parking, and is much more convenient than other forms of payment; but they try to coerce you into giving them lots of personally-identifiable information when you purchase one. If you register your card when you buy it (including name, address, etc etc) they "promise" to reimburse you for unused fare if your card is lost, stolen, or damaged (you do still have to purchase a new card). I opted not to register mine, and take a chance. I also refuse to add money to my SmartCard using a credit card, because they also collect and store your credit card information in their personal infomation database, along with information about where you travel, and when, and how often.

    I'm resisting all this databasing as much as I possibly can, but if all the sheeple just go along with it, my protests won't do much good.
     
  5. D_Ivana Dickenside

    D_Ivana Dickenside New Member

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    is he around the corner, or working the corner?
     
  6. D_Roland_D_Hay

    D_Roland_D_Hay Account Disabled

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    Right now around the corner...but soon we will all be working the corner for Big Brother (hehe)...
     
  7. D_Ivana Dickenside

    D_Ivana Dickenside New Member

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    rico, as long as i get to be your pimp it's all gravy :biggrin1:
     
  8. blkmwbp

    blkmwbp New Member

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    can u be my pimp too staci?? LOL
     
  9. D_Theophallus Kneedgroin

    D_Theophallus Kneedgroin Account Disabled

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    This means I know where you are NJ....24/7
     
  10. Principessa

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    Damn! You weren't supposed to see me following you. :tongue:
     
  11. dufus

    dufus New Member

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    Except when going through check points, wrap the passport in aluminum foil. The RFID chip will be shielded and it won't be able to communicate with the outside world.
     
  12. simcha

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    Wear a tin foil hat too so the damn Gubmint don't steal yer thoughts! :tongue:
     
  13. EagleCowboy

    EagleCowboy Well-Known Member

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    NOT TRUE!!
    I was giving NJ the heads up earlier today on her new passport. And I'm really glad she started this thread.

    The new passports come foil lined already so as to "prevent" unauthorized scanning by low-lifes lurking within range. They have already proven that this doesn't work and may even HELP increase the chip's range by acting as a huge antenna for it. The passport chips contain all your highly sensitive personal data that you normally wouldn't give to anyone. It also includes a digital picture of you. As NJ found out, this tidbit wasn't included in any of the forms she signed and she read them all thoroughly.

    I found the chip in my passport and was able to remove it and make it look untouched.

    I also found a chip in my driver's license, and on both plates of one of my cars. They have all since been removed.

    It's bad enough that they can track you just as soon as you power up your cell phone.

    And for those lucky people that buy all GM cars and trucks equipped with OnStar? They can know where you are at any given time and can lock you out of your own vehicle or disable it if they really want to. Doesn't matter if you subscribe to the service or not. If the government wants to track or stop you, they can go through OnStar to do it.

    Big Brother is working the corner.
    What are YOU people going to do about taking that corner back??
    Better think of something that works. And fast!!
     
  14. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    Eh, the way I look at it...

    The government couldn't move postal parcels quicker than a little startup called FedEx... I could park 3% of my income under the mattress and still beat Social Security, much less have the wits, the where-with-all, and capacity to track 304million ppl.

    Secret chips in your licenses plates...

    dude... Eagle Cowboy... are you on a whole 8-ball when you post???

    Tyler Durden called... you still owe him your monthly fees from February thru April.

    All this Big Brother blather gives the government FAR too much credit... let em go after who they need to.... whether it's RFIDs, water boarding, or hounding US-based terrorists with telemarketers to drive them out... if they are tracking everyone, please look at my short-term account, and help me out with my short positions on a few stocks.

    The US Government knew more about the citizens in the 13 colonies than it does about one of you bloated internet junkies in front of a computer in Dubuque, Iowa. Stop looking over your shoulder for black helicopters, and move on... the fake cheese is spilling over your nachos...onto the cracked pavement under your feet.

    By the way, Dick Cheney will come to your doorstep to collect for any library books overdue from 1973-1985.
     
  15. DC_DEEP

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    Faceking, the funny thing about your post is, you are correct that the US government can't do the simple tasks like postal service and social security - because those are citizen services, and they really don't give a shit in the big picture.

    More time, money and effort are being expended precisely to fine-tune tracking and databasing systems.

    And the problem is not that the government is scrutinizing every single detail about every single person at any given moment. The problem is that they are putting these systems into place, mostly automated, and then tagging & flagging different information types... not to mention that none of that information is secure.

    It doesn't matter that I have nothing to hide. I just don't like the idea that my bank records, my travel history, library records, internet history, medical records, and phone records are being collected and cross-referenced by my social security number.

    One accidental visit to a "flagged" website could take you from anonymous data collection to scrutiny. The same with a suspicious person calling your phone number by accident.
     
  16. Northland

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    It would be nice to finally have a stalker...er, I mean tracker. No longer will Mike Huckabee be wondering where I am and I will be able to locate my stash of hemp with ease.

    Sounds good to me!




    Now to the more serious sigh of things...

    This isn't exactly a shocker. It is precisely what many have expected and often feared for years. Used properly it has good features; however, as shown, there is far too mucn potential for disagreeable usage of this technology.
     
  17. dedrewm

    dedrewm New Member

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    umm be careful altering your passport! You can get SERIOUS time for that.... I should know! (that's another LONG story)

    Anyway, dont use the microwave method to fry your chip in your passport because it can cause "burn marks"... USE a good strike with a good old hammer and that will disable it!!!! (the BEST current method for now)
     
  18. TurkeyWithaSunburn

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    While not specifically related to RFID here's an interesting song I found on youtube... after the introduction listen to the words of the song.
    YouTube - TANGO FLASH MOB

    License plates in Mexico have barcodes on them. I see a few plates from Chihuahua every few months.

    You will know RFID is inevitable when Walmart goes to exclusively using them. Didn't Walmart pretty much force barcoding for everything in the mid 80's?
     
  19. Principessa

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    Yes, they did! Damn, you are smarter than the average bear.
     
  20. alex8.5

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    What ever happened to just doing things the old fashioned way. Just regular paperwork, without secret microchips in everything.
     
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