Government Says RFID Human Tracking Is A Bad Idea

from the a-bad,-bad-idea dept

There’s just something about RFID technology that seems to get a certain group of people very upset about how the technology will be misused. It’s certainly reasonable to keep tabs on the potential for misuse of a technology — but too often these folks don’t come up with any constructive solutions, preferring to completely ban the technology. This clearly isn’t going to happen. A much better solution is to work on better technology that makes the threats of RFID misuse much lower. Of course, poorly thought out plans by the US government to put RFID chips in passports without thinking through all the security implications doesn’t help people feel any calmer. Nor, of course, do ridiculous statements from companies that sell RFID chips that we should implant such chips in migrant workers (this statement, though, comes from VeriChip, who has a long and well-documented history or making false or misleading statements — so it’s hard to take them seriously. After all, even their own board members seem a bit shy about using the company’s technology). However, it appears that at least some in the government are recognizing the problems with RFIDs in tracking humans. A new report from the Department of Homeland Security specifically says that using RFIDs to track humans is a bad idea.

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Comments on “Government Says RFID Human Tracking Is A Bad Idea”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I’m atcually a proponent of this sort fo thing, not just for imigrant workers though. I’d love to be able to implant an innocuous chip into my child for a ‘worst case scenerio’. Let’s face it, there are a whole bunch of sick people out There and too many kids get abducted each year. If there was the option of being able to immediatly track and see where your child was in that type of situation, I don’t think it would be seen as a bad thing. I know it’s a bit way out there, but we live in a world were a lot of bad things happen.

Grumpy Old Man says:

Re: Re:

I am sorry, but you both misunderstand the tech, and fail to see how much bigger the negative for potential abuse.

RFID is a very short range tech. so unless said “sick person” is trying to sneak his stolen child past some sort of check point equipped with a RFID scanner it is not going to help find him/her.

as for the negatives, well I will just point you to the book “1984” and think of the implications of anyone knowing all your movements.


Worried Skeptic says:

I’ve always been worried of this technology. If my passport has a chip that lets the government know where I am, or if my child has one for a “worst-case-scenario”, that means the technology to raed those signals is out there. I would think that would make the ability for “a bunch of sick people” out there to find me or my child. Technology is a gift, and should be handled properly. I say we stick the chips in convicted felons – as a punishment. If they turn around, good. They’ll always remember they can be found in seconds. If they do something again, they’re easy to find. I’m just skeptic of who would have the tracking technology for these chips.

DittoBox (user link) says:

Re: Mark of the Beast

To me it’s not that. It’s like BMW using DRM chips on their cars. Every part in the new BMWs has to be verified and be chipped with a unique ID hash at a dealership, or an approved mechanic (which interestingly enough, costs said mechanics tons of cash for the system and to be certified to use it).

This means no after market parts.

This means you can’t do any work on your own car.

This is vendor lockin at the dealership.

This is extortion against 3rd party mechanics.

This means you can’t use recking yard parts.

This means that it takes a dealer’s bay and about day to program all the chips with your information or unique customer ID the first time the car is purchased. Even some dealers think this is moronic.

In turn we as the consumer only get one thing (BMW corporate is really the only true benefactor here…), and it’s quite small: stolen parts can’t be used. It basically means your car once stolen only allows for joyriding. They can’t strip it and sell the parts.

That’s not worth it. People argue that most BMW owners don’t give a crap about after market parts or 3rd party mechanics. So? That’s a lame excuse. There’s still a few owners that do, but it really screws the rest of us if the rest of car industry decides to do this.

Wolfger (profile) says:


The idea of implanting RFID chips is all based on Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. The world is not inherently worse than it used to be, and parents have always gotten by without RFID to “protect” their children. As has already been pointed out, the bad guys can use the chip as easily as the good guys can, so what protection is there in making your child vulnerable to an entirely new and poorly understood kind of assault?

JS McMahon (profile) says:

I agree with Dittobox

RFid works for short range, I understand that, but at the same time I also have come to understand that there are satellites in orbit that can read the caption print under a photograph on a newspaper from miles high, so ‘short range’ is relative. I feel that as punishment, this might be the perfect ‘leash’ to reign in (hopefully ex-) criminals. I DO NOT feel this would benefit ANYONE to be used race-wide. Not only would it have to be regulated, but imagine the underbelly market that would crop up with the resale of identifying markers to those who would use them for ‘less than legit’ reasons. If, for instance, we were to walk through a grocery store, throwing all of our products into the cart. These products were conveniently tagged with a radio frequency identifier, as am I. All that’s required to complete my purchase is to walk through an archway and press a button (or sign a slip or whatever). Now what if that rfid tag is really just in my pocket, salvaged from the unfortunate chap who passed away from chlamidya a week ago…who’s paying for my groceries? Not me!

I think this would just complicate things. Good idea for groceries, bad idea for people.

Josh (profile) says:


First off, sorry about above comment. Accidently hit enter instead of shift when typing email address. (Maybe there should be a check for content before allowing submitted comments? Just a thought..)

Anyway, it’s about time they’re recognizing the issue, especially after touting the idea of plugging passports with all these little chips. It’s suprising enough that there are uncrypted chips (though the ones in passports are of course.. still doesn’t satisfy me) used anywhere as it is. Unless you want to flip on and off a small freq jammer around your card, you’re pretty much open to anyone who bumps into you on the sidewalk.

ŽÐå××ÿ™ says:


I read an article where you can use new handhelds to pick up the traces on the new US currency but there was a BIG problem with this being someone could purchase these devices and sit in the bank parking lot and “CLOCK” people walking out of the bank. Forget him Steve, he is only carrying $350 but check out this hottie momma over here in the pink dress, shes reading $1250, must be rent time or something…ready? Lets GET HER!

This is a really BAD idea, c’mon people, I really for some reason can’t get upset and be amazed….just a matter of time I guess…..

Anonymous Coward says:

The only people that would need something like that invading their privacy are those who designed such things and criminals. Those tracking devices should be used in prisoners and prisoners on parole. I don’t see why other peoples privacy should be invaded because of the evil doings of criminals. If you want to know where your child is at all times either keep them at home or get a damn leash. That’s how it was done back in the day. Don’t allow other people to get punished because you cant discipline your own child.

Erin says:

Tracking Humans.

The thought of this is making me sick. I dont want to live to see the day when tracking devices( That are used for pets) has to be put in me. I dont mean to quote Elephant man, but I am not an animal im a man(well woman, but you get the idea.) I dont this this will make the U.S. A better place I think it will make it an episode of the twilight zone.

Keith Richard Radford Jr (user link) says:

True story concerning the RFID in humans

As a young boy, Mac was raised in and around Boston, where America’s history, from pre-Revolutionary days to the present, reveals itself at every turn. Mac, said however, he too often passed by historical landmarks without ever realizing their importance; he could not have cared less.

American history was far down the list of my favorite school subjects for Mac and I had to used my Government book to keep my lunch money by gluing it inside my notebook and using it like a mace. However, after graduating from high school and moving to California, his attitude changed.

Returning home for short visits, Mac developed an interest to visit the many sites which He had previously ignored discovering the historical relevance to everyday life. With each succeeding trip Mac visited as many landmarks as time would allow – – Plymouth Rock, Salem, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill,

Philadelphia, Gettysburg, Washington D.C. and Mount Vernon, Virginia. Armed with his camera, Mac captured a pictorial essay which was entertaining as well as educational. These slides, and the commentary that went with them, expanded rapidly to four one-hour presentations which Mac was pleased to deliver to service clubs, schools, hospitals, church organizations, and even to teacher’s groups.

I met Richard L. MacMurray on the fish line from Atascadero State Hospital were he was raped by three guys who wanted to teach a sex offender a lesson.

It was my 1st day on the job and I was asked to look out for him. Giving a 24hr. heads up I had the night to think just what would I like offered to me when I arrived in prison. The options were without end, but there was one common thread. What was this guys desire, and how could I turn it into a positive for everyone where something good could come from it.

I asked one of the guys to check in with him. Sit with him and talk to him and find out what he wants to do with his time. He told us his need to write a book, a history book.

The best thing for anyone is to have a purpose and the D-Quad Psych. Department inmate staff chose to join the project. Mac decided to really get serious and spent hours in the library, as well as in book stores, researching each President for uncommon, yet noteworthy stories.

Mac orchestrated the guys on the project having them incorporate their studies in classes missed in the real world wile Mac worked hard to help each one with their studies wile gleaning more information for the book.

All I had to do was sit with him for an hour each morning on the yard till the gate racked to go to his teachers’ assistant job at the prison. Once he was in the education area he was in his environment. Each morning he would feed the birds with bread which he took from the chow hall.

After about a year passed and I was giving him bread I took for him along with others dropping off bread out of site of the guards. Mac spent the hour each morning with us helping us learn wile feeding the birds.

We knew the only investment we could make that could not be taken away was an investment in ourselves and looking after Mac had become important to us.

We had questions that would sometimes take a week or two for us all to agree on an answer. We found our viewpoint was in essence quite like our founding fathers viewpoint since they were the criminals of their time looking to survive and grow in a new place. Others would join in on the yard and soon D Quad was not divided by ethnic foolishness. The D-Quad Psych. Department inmate staff was doing a project that was getting some outside attention which meant less pressure. The guys were a mix matched batch of everything from Tyranny’s to Homophobes but we could all appreciate the honesty of men who also had something more important than themselves.

Mac was especially grateful to a long-time friend Mike Birkholrn. Mike not only encouraged him from the very beginning, but he also offered the resources of his company (Hemmings, Birkholm & Grizzard) to publish the manuscript in October 1993 Dr. Ken Barclay of California Polytechnic University (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo), offered much encourage­ment and advice.

The office of Congressman Bill Thomas (R-Calif. 21st District) provided up to date information on Cabinet Officers, Supreme Court Justices, government agency addresses, and other statistical information.

The last time I really saw Mac was when he told me he was going to be placed in the civil commitment program. I had an offer from the California Department of Corrections to place a microchip in my hand so I was going home in about a month. Our support system was breaking down and Mac looked rough. He knew I was sad for him and he forgave me for not attending at the gate and he was going to cell up.

That was the day he gave me a signed copy of our book with a note to my mom and step dad letting them know I was making positive use of the time.

The four years we were incarcerated at the same facility the topic was the human factor in history and understanding we are all imperfect.

What our founding fathers chose was to build not destroy yet instead of sending a nation to college we send our most valued resource, humans to prisons.

The process of punishment is counter productive in my humble opinion, sending someone to college seems more productive allowing perspective when most inmates come in believing the world is still flat.

Please take time to see:
Don and Nancy Part3
See through the eyes of a therapist who has worked with sex offenders for over 23 years, and a woman who’s son has been imprisoned after his sentence was served ten years A look into the conditions that Megan’s Law has created through the eyes of a therapist who has worked with sex offenders for over 23 years, and a woman who’s son has been imprisoned after his sentence was served ten years ago, yet is still incarcerated and RFID use. Keith Richard Radford Jr’s Blog spot.

Willson says:

Tracking CHips.. GReat Idea

Indeed chips for tracking the Bad guys is a great idea..
or do you think rehabilitation really works??

Its mulit-purposeful.. if the technology becomes GMS sateliite freindly , then keeping out children safe , whereabouts known is also a great thing..
Have you taken a look at the number of innocent faces on milk cartons lately ??

Come on Politicians Wake the FXXX UP..
Thank God we still have the right to bare arms. just in case one of them bastards thinks he can pounce into my home..

i said my peace..

Keith Richard Radford Jr (user link) says:

Anyone pusing rfid is a moron

Is it that you can not see past your own halo’s shining light or is it that you really have over extended yourself? The system of GPS, RFID, implants and human tracking has no future. Anyone can see proponents are some kind of paranoid delusional nut bags afraid of things they ether don’t know anything about and need to shoot it, or would really like to have such drama in their world. There is not any peace associated with tracking humans.

Keith Richard Radford Jr says:

the truth about these media screwballs putting the screws too peoples balls

Exorcism and sex?
Let me tell you about my families setting me up for an exorcism and her need for money through political, and religious pandering concerning sex.

I remember living behind a church were Brian Lamb, and a bunch of these Cspan guys used too have a wood shop. At that place of residence my mom thought I needed an exorcist, after playing in the mud the way very young children will sometimes with my uncle who mixed a glass of this red clay in water and told me it was chocolate milk.

After drinking it as he would force me to do thing all the time like the time he made me cut off the limb I was sitting on and the device came out of my shoulder being more powerful and in control I broke out with ring worm all over my body and my mom told me it was writing that could not be understood so she had priests come in from the church.

I guess my Dad did not know that one of the people at the church was in line for being my new dad but that was not in the cards because I guess he felt I was in need of discipline after an accident in the wood shop. I had been check out on the band saw by my grandfather who was a millwright in Arkansas and to do some jobs the blade shield had to be removed. Some kids came in and wanted to use the saw, then got mad that I wanted to warn them to put the guard on and they told me they owned it all and I was not to tell them anything, and after this head strong kid cut his thumb off the other kids said they would tell their fathers it was all my fault, but it was not.

I had a fever of well over a hundred and I was a bloody mess with the infection. The priests came in with outer guys and one had a camera. The priests would throw me across the room well the other snapped a picture. I would fall on furniture and the floor and they would tell me get on the bed, don’t get off the bed very loud and when I would crawl back on the bed they would pick me up and throw me over and over again well the other priest would snap another picture and this went on till one guy said we have enough picture and they left me in the blood, mud, and bedding, then my aunt came in with some save that was for ring worm.

She spread the save and kidded me about dying when the rings got to my heart. After getting well I went back to the wood shop and the guys had made me a special shield and gave me my sword which were both made of wood and I had to fight one of the guys in my shorts because I did not want to remove them and the other guy was naked (he know who he is). I was still not up too speed and lost the battle. They then called me the bad guy and this group was supposed to be my gate keeper or something like that appointed by the priests. My Dad did not like them much also but that did not matter much because someone at the church was going to be my new dad till he said no, my mom cried allot, my dad was gone, I healed up, but I still have a case.

Please know that there is nothing any of you can do to make what you and the rest of the ones involved can do to make this my fault. See at the time I was about seven years old. Since then the church has made an effort to kill me, to the extent of trying to pass laws to kill sex offenders.

Come on, keep it up, keep pushing laws that you as a group of very said individuals know have no value. Take me too court so I can own a network. I have met with your staff members in private since along with military personal and others.

Now lets note when this happened I was only a small child being thrown around a room like a rag doll by people that started all this clear back in the late fifty’s and the steering by very bad people that think abusing kids to make laws to stop abuse, Ha! these laws are bogus and the fact that they can not kill gays anymore does not justify the use of laws too kill someone set up by them to create some worthless set of laws by a fusion of church and state is wrong and realty designed by them to harm us all.

My case was pragmatic but more than that I know what was done and who was involved making vendetta laws that really have no bases in truth, and are based in lies.

Keith Richard Radford Jr

PSS don’t be cowards, let me know you received this e-mail through a response.

It’s time to communicate




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