With a little work, a disposable camera can be turned into a low-cost device for disabling the tracking bugs in many products and ID cards. Radio Frequency ID tags (RFIDs) are tiny bugs that can be embedded in products and ID cards, enabling them to be read at a distance. US passports and London's tube-cards are beginning to incorporate these. Nominally, they can only be read at a few centimeters' distance, but security researchers have demonstrated that they can be read by attackers at 15 or more meters away. With goods, it's hard to tell if you've got an RFID embedded in them and hard to kill them (though you can put them in the microwave and kill them).
Modding a disposable camera's flash to deliver an RFID-killing energy-shock is a pretty cool project if you want a portable way to disinfect your stuff. The London Underground's "Oyster cards" are used as stored-value cards for boarding the tube. They track your movements when you touch in and touch out at the turnstiles. You can avoid the worst of the data-collection if you frequently change Oyster cards, but the Underground has promised to start charging £3 for new cards; however, they promise to replace defective cards for free. With one of these, you could zap your card when it runs out of stored money and trade it for a new one that will have a different serial number and consequently not be associatable with your previous card.
Many times, intrusions into privacy like this are excused on the basis that they offer discounts in exchange for your personal information. This is true with the Oyster card, too: a single ride on the tube costs £3 now if you use a paper ticket, but with an Oyster card the journey is as little as £1.30. The thing is, before they ramped up Oyster card use on January 1, the cost of a paper single was also as little as £1.10 -- in other words, they nearly tripled the cost of an anonymous journey and then told everyone that you got a great discount if you used the privacy-surrendering means.
It generates a strong electromagnetic field with a coil, which should be placed as near to the target RFID-Tag as possible. The RFID-Tag then will receive a strong shock of energy comparable with an EMP and some part of it will blow, thus deactivating the chip forever.
To keep the costs of the RFID-Zapper as low as possible, we decided to modify the electric component of a singe-use-camera with flash, as can be found almost everywhere.
(via Red Ferret
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
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