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EFF to Comic-Con: protect our secret identities!

Dave from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sez, "What we don't want to see is massive tracking using RFID chips (or any other easily trackable or hackable technology) in badges, whether that's real-time tracking or requiring check-ins at every panel entrance. Obviously, these are very public events and an attendee can't expect a lot of privacy -- they're likely to pop up in the background of hundreds of photographs posted to social media. At the same time, there is a certain anonymity in crowds, and it's an anonymity built into the culture of cons."

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New York Comic-Con hijacks attendees' Twitter accounts to send out shilling tweets

Attendees at New York Comic-Con were required to register their new, RFID-bugged badges online, in a process that encouraged them to link them to their Twitter accounts. Little did they suspect that NYCC would use their signups to send tweets from attendees' Twitter accounts, in a loose, conversational style ("So much pop culture to digest! Can't. handle. the. awesome."), linking back to NYCC's website, without any indication that they were spam. I'm reasonably certain that the fine-print on the NYCC signup gave them permission to do this stupid thing, and I'm also certain that almost no one read the fine-print, and that rather a large number of attendees objected strenuously to having their Twitter accounts used to shill for a service that they were already paying a large sum to enjoy.

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Hardware hacker learns his E-ZPass is being read all over NYC, not just at toll booths

Over at Forbes, Kashmir Hill has an item about an electronics tinkerer who goes by the nom de net Puking Monkey. Stranger than his handle, his discovery: the RFID-enabled EZ Pass (automatic toll paying system) affixed to his car was being read all over New York City, as he drove around. Not just at toll booths. For what purpose? And, is this a violation of reasonable privacy expectations, in the most heavily surveilled city in the US? Xeni 34

San Antonio students and parents upset at mandatory radio-tracking snitch-tags

Chris Matyszczyk on CNet rounds up a variety of reports on the outrage over the schools in San Antonio, Texas, which have insisted that their students wear radio-tag trackers. The schools are using every conceivable technique for coercing their students into submitting to wearing the technology, which reminds me of the tracker anklets that paroled felons wear. For example, one student was told she couldn't cast a vote for homecoming queen unless she submitted to the tracking regime. The schools say that the students are being tracked to reduce truancy, which will make them money -- presumably by saving them on the cost of tracking and punishing students. The practice is old hat in Houston, where students have been chipped for some time.

What some might find truly beastly, though, is that his daughter, Andrea, claims that she was told by a teacher that without the ID badge, she couldn't vote for homecoming king and queen. At least that's what Catholic Online reports.

Some might find it odd that Hernandez also reportedly claimed that the school only wanted to co-operate with his feelings if he stopped publicly criticizing the tagging.

His daughter told The Alex Jones Channel that the tags don't make her feel safer.

"I feel completely unsafe knowing that this can be hacked by pedophiles and dangerous offenders," she said.

She added: "I walk home. Dangerous offenders can pick up on my signal."

For the record, I don't think that this is a very realistic fear. On the other hand, I think that there are very good reasons to want to enjoy the privacy of being un-tracked -- for example, the fundamental freedom of association is compromised if your snitch-tag tells the administration who you hang out with.

No homecoming queen vote if you don't wear RFID tag? (Thanks, Dave!)

Brazil to roll out national radio-chip ID/surveillance/logging for all vehicles

In Brazil, a new regulation requires drivers to add radio ID tags to their car windshields, which broadcast "vehicle year or fabrication, make, model, combustible, engine power and license plate number." This will be read by checkpoints throughout the country, and centrally processed and retained, in a system called Siniav. The administration claims that this system will be "confidential and secure" because its contractors will sign confidentiality agreements. The system will also be integrated into wireless toll-road collection. Here's some auto-translated detail from a release by Brazil's National Traffic Department (Denatran):

What are the uses of the system? * Identification of traffic conditions on stretches of road where there Siniav antennas installed.

* Development of origin-destination matrices displacement vehicles, virtually in real time, with the installation of antennas Siniav at strategic points in each city.

* Determination dependable fleet circulating in the country, by location, including the Automobiles licensed in one municipality and exclusively circulating in another.

* Obtaining data for planning and management of public transport systems, including its fleet of vehicles.

* Integration with the project Siniav Brazil-ID (linked to treasury area), helping with mapping the displacements of cargo across the country.

* Greater control the movement of vehicles in the border area since the Brazilian vehicles will be identified when leaving the country. The system also enables the placement of the nameplate vehicle electronics in vehicles foreigners entering Brazil.

* Conducting surveillance (blitz) selective, with instant identification through an antenna Siniav, fixed or mobile, vehicles circulating illegally, whatever the cause.

* Surveillance electron speed and movement of vehicles in places and / or times when such service is prohibited.

* Interoperability in automatic toll collection on highways, allowing a single nameplate vehicle is used by all dealerships. It is up to Detrans deployment of electronic vehicle identification plates on vehicles and the cost of such equipment.

If the thief start the transmitter in a robbery, the radars can detect the vehicle?

Yes Like all vehicles possess the chip, which does not possess will be detected immediately by going through one of the antennas scattered throughout the country. The checkpoint nearest police will be alerted.

Vehicles need to have electronic monitoring until 2014 (auto-translated)

Veículos precisarão ter monitoramento eletrônico até 2014

(Thanks, Ethan!)

Implanting a London Oyster card transponder in a ring

Dhani Sutanto removed the transponder from a Transport for London Oyster card (a RFID-based stored value card used to pay for rides on public transit) and implanted it in a ring, making a lovely bit of snitchy jewelry that gets him on the bus.

Oyster Ring (Thanks, Phoebe!)

RFID blocking at the point-of-sale


Spotted by the cash-register at London Drugs, a giant discount pharmacy-cum-big-box-store in downtown Vancouver, these cheap RFID-blocking credit-card sleeves.

RFID-blocking wallet, point of sale, London Drugs, Vancouver, BC