I recently read a very interesting article on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.
RFID’s are fast becoming a means of identifying just about any material object. You probably have been using them. They are used on pet ID tags or under their skin, on EZPass through a toll booth, paying for gas, tagging flight bags, used to track shipping containers, employees ID tags, drivers’ licenses, they are on all new issued passports. They can be incorporated into cell phones and other devices. Thus, you could pay for parking, buy a newspaper, or grab a soda from a vending machine without opening your wallet. They are very small. The new ones are as small as the dot at the end of this sentence. They are considered as the next generation barcode. A barcode must be read directly by a scanner without anything in front of the barcode. RFID’s can be read through most materials and can be applied to objects in harsh environments, are maintenance free and will last for years. They just set there dormant until a radio signal wakes them up and requests an answer. Some of them are designed to be read within a few inches, some several feet away.
What is in the future for RFID’s? Plans are to place them into all sensitive or important documents such as paper money, stock certificates, manuscripts, university diplomas, medical degrees, auto tags, birth certificates, and any other sort of document you can think of where authenticity is paramount. Who knows, someday you could put one on that project you sold that you made in the shop.
Consider the human body. There is now a RFID that is designed to go under the shin. It is a great way to keep track of children, Alzheimer’s patients, mental patients, prisoners, or other persons in danger of wandering.
This is all very good and will make our lives a lot better and secure, but it gives me the creeps. The possibilities are scary. Anything our government or companies obtain from RFID’s can also be obtained by the bad guys. For around $150, a person can buy a RFID reader that can activated a tag, within your billfold, from 4” away.
It’s something that I am going to have to live with, like it or not. Sure, it’s possible to destroy a RFID tag. There are web sites on the internet that tells how to crush it with a hammer, puncture it, or even microwave it, but that would also probably damage what it is in. I can’t drown it or demagnetize it. And washing my clothes, that have a RFID tag, won’t remove it. I could remove it, but first I would have to find it.
Congress could pass a law requiring that the consumer be notified about products with embedded RFID tags. We should know when we are being tagged. We should also be able to disable the tags in our own property. If it’s required by the company we work for, that’s a different matter. But if it’s ours, we should be able to control whether tracking is enabled. I do not think that will happen. They, and you know who ‘they’ are, would like to know who we are and where we are.
There is one thing that I can do. I found a few web sites on the internet that sells a billfold, about $20, that is made to block RFID’s. At least I can protect that information.
-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon