Malaysia To Introduce RFID Tracking For Every Vehicle

from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong? dept

Here on Techdirt, nationwide tracking schemes tend to raise a red flag. In Malaysia, by contrast, there seem to be no such worries, as ambitious plans to introduce RFID tagging for all vehicles, reported by The Sun Daily, indicate:

A new vehicle security tracking system suitable for all types of vehicles — the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) — will be implemented nationwide by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) by 2018.

According to the article, there are plenty of advantages of doing so:

This new system will enable the police and other authorities to effectively track down criminals


the RFID technology will herald a new era for vehicle security in Malaysia and it could be the answer to combat vehicle theft and cloned vehicle syndicates.


the RFID can also be used to provide real-time monitoring on road traffic situation.

And if you’re worried that ne’er-do-wells might seek to avoid being tracked simply by ripping off said RFID tags, fear not, Malaysia has that covered:

theSun understands that the RFID tag is designed to shatter should any one attempt to tamper with it and can transmit a warning to the JPJ and police, should any one try to remove the sticker.

Sounds pretty foolproof. So why aren’t other countries rushing to adopt this approach?

Interestingly, RFID technology has been criticised in many countries for its effectiveness to track vehicles movement and citizens. It has been widely accused for invasion of privacy in Belgium, Italy, UK and US.

I just can’t imagine why.

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Comments on “Malaysia To Introduce RFID Tracking For Every Vehicle”

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tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Oh Really?

Not when it is on a lorry, or latter on a ship, on its way to a foreign country, so that it can be sold to realise the profit from its theft.

But that’s a different thing entirely from how to defeat the tags so that ordinary citizens …

Two different problems: profiting from stolen cars, and preserving individual freedoms.

Once the non-destructive removal of tags is sorted, the first becomes easy. For the second, just add in consumers swapping loyalty cards. “I am Spartacus.” “No, I am Spartacus!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Oh Really?

Not when it is on the back of a truck 😛 I don’t think anyone was suggesting driving the car inside a faraday cage. If you wanted to block the signal while you stripped a car or swapped the RFID chip with a counterfeit or even destroy the chip there is no need to build anything exotic was my point. I will concede that you could drive a car wrapped in aluminum foil but you would probably raise suspicions 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh Really?

Easier way is to pull or the radio fuse. Since it would have to be wired were it would shut off when the key is turned off (so it does not run down the battery), it would be wired through the radio, or “accessory” fuse, as it is sometimes called. Pulling that fuse would prevent the tracking device from working, and the authorities would never know what was going on.

The only caveat is that you cannot use the radio, but it would be worth it to avoid government tracking.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Oh Really?

Read the linked story, and stop guessing where it will be. (it’s in a sticker on the windscreen) and then do a search on RFID tags, specifically how they are powered (hint, it’s by the signal from the antenna that reads their information) and then read all the nonsense you’ve written.

Klaus says:

“It has been widely accused for invasion of privacy in Belgium, Italy, UK and US” – from the Sun Daily link above.

I dispute this. I Googled “vehicle tracking in the UK” and got page after page of ads. Not a damn thing about widespread accusations of invasions of privacy. Thinking this was Google at it’s finest, I checked out DuckDuckGo and got the same.

Whilst vehicle tracking sucks whether by state actors, businesses or by jilted (ex)partners, it seems to be a thriving industry.

Anonymous Coward says:

One problem with any kind of tracking system is that it would need to be turned off when the key is turned off. This means it would be wired through the “accessory” fuse. One could simply pull that fuse out, and the GPS/RFID tracking would no longer work.

You would not be able to use the radio, but they would not loniger be able to track you.

Virtually all GPS/RFID tracking devices will be wired this way. This beats GPS or 2G/3G/4G jamming, as pulling out the radio fuse to shut down a tracking device does not break any laws anywhere around the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

As a side not it will appear that the vehicle is not being driven, since the GPS or RFID unit would have no power and would not be able to report back its whereabouts.

This is why mileage tax will never work. Someone who wants to avoid it can pull out the “accessory” fuse, aka the radio fuse, and the GPS tracking device will not get any power.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

This is why mileage tax will never work. Someone who wants to avoid it can pull out the “accessory” fuse, aka the radio fuse, and the GPS tracking device will not get any power.

You’re naive. If you don’t show up on the system like a good little trackable object, you’ll be assumed to be guilty and charged the max.

The only way to win is not to play.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

RFID chips get their power from the antenna signal that receives their information. You can’t unplug them. And they won’t be connected to the radio. And these ones will be readable by satellite .

You could, though, just weld a faraday cage around it, if you knew where it was. Except that you can’t as it’s going to be in the registration sticker on your windscreen.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

RFID chips get their power from the antenna signal that receives their information. You can’t unplug them. And they won’t be connected to the radio. And these ones will be readable by satellite .

You could probably jam them with an active signal though.

Also, reading millions of passive RFIDS by satellite just doesn’t seem credible to me.

The UK has just junked the licence disc and now relies on ANPR to detect unlicensed vehicles so it seems the decision has been made to use ANPR and not RFiD

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well, once they turn on the satellite that will be transmitting an RFID signal capable of powering millions of RFID tags at the same time, we will no longer need cell phone chargers because we could just power everything by this massive signal.

I, however, am going to invest in sunblock or something because I don’t want to be cooked.

Vidiot (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Simpler than a cage: The US “EasyPass” system gives users a means to protect their device from scanning if so desired (wrong vehicle, etc.)… a plastic bag made of metallicized mylar, similar to the anti-static bags most circuit boards and raw hard drives are shipped in. Imagine a little square of that taped across the windshield sticker.

Anonymous Coward says:

Oh, man, this resembles a cyberpunk RPG more every day it passes.

2 Things about RFID:
– Criminals will learn to disable the RFID tags. Or worse, to spoof them and nail others with the crime.
– RFID tags can be used against normal people. Now you got a trail that you can use against anyone, like, you know, against someone you want to hijack. Or blackmail.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Anything that can be made can be copied…

And this is why this RFID scheme is a bit like putting government-sponsored backdoors in encryption. All it takes is one person bypassing/spoofing the system, and the whole scheme collapses. If you can’t trust one tag, you can’t trust any of them.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Only peons need apply

Of course it goes without saying that police and government vehicles(and any vehicle owned by anyone significantly wealthy or influential) will not be similarly ‘tagged’, as that would be a violation of privacy, and pose dangers which don’t exist for the average citizen.

No no, tracking citizens is fine, but tracking those that supposedly serve the citizens? That’s completely out of the question.

Old old idea says:

Re: Only peons need apply

While working for a specific government entity, there was a serious discussion for using RFID tags to track all the government vehicles. This had arisen because of the problems that had arisen in managing the government fleet and knowing where every vehicle was. There major concern was tracking the vehicles during business hours in relation to where they were parked.

One aspect that was being looked at was the ongoing maintenance of each vehicle. At the time, the logging of vehicle information was being performed manually and there were considerable problems in maintaining this information accurately. My part in all of this was providing some technical information for the storage of the information collected.

The RFID’s were to be unpowered and to be located in various random places on the vehicle to prevent removal by unauthorised individuals. The suggestion made at the time was that there be a number of RFID tags on each vehicle.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘This new system will enable the police and other authorities to effectively track down criminals’

absolute fucking bull shit! we all know, just as they know in Malaysia, this will be another ‘Big Brother’ tactic designed to keep track of all ordinary, innocent civilians! criminals will get over this the same as they get over any and every other type of government spying. keeping tabs on ordinary people is far easier and far more desirable than anyone else. knowing when people are getting together for protests, for example, and where the protests are going to occur, gives the security forces the ability to prepare in advance to crush, and that’s meant literally, any opposition to any and all government plans!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That would work as it’s really really really popular to kidnap politicians and rich people in Malaysia. The police are corrupt, the politicians are even more corrupt and then there are the religious police who are bad news all around.

On the other hand putting RFID tags on a car in Malaysia would be a good idea as the only people whose cars never get ripped off are the crooks’ who do the ripping off.

yankinwaoz (profile) says:

Dogs don't use RFID

Here is an idea. Rather than use RFID tags, why can’t they just put good audio microphones at road checkpoints. The same place where they planned to put the RFID readers.

Anyone who has owned a dog knows that your dog knows when you car approaches the house within a block or two. That must mean that each car has a unique audio print that doesn’t vary much. Perhaps it is a combination of the car and how the driver operates the car. In other words, not just the sound the car and motor make, but the pattern over a couple of minutes as you approach your own home.

Anyhow. Seems like using an audioprint as a second factor to identify a specific vehicle might be a good idea.

Marc says:

A new gadget for the police to abuse it's power!

“This new system will enable the police and other authorities to effectively track down criminals”

The true criminals are the police. They want to do anything to track people like beasts to rob them with rediculous low speed limit and expensive tickets. In Canada this has become a pest, with 100 km/h (62 mph) limit on highways that nobody respect, not even police officers themselves. When you drive, you never know when you will be hit by their lidar gun. It’s like a lottery to lose.

Number1Joe (profile) says:

Ability to Read GPS (RF signature) Remotely

I a GPS non-techi! Out with the guys & beers, a “heated” discussion arose on 2 qstns. 1) Can anyone clarify whether a vehicle’s automaker built-in GPS identity be read/recorded by any other aftermarket devices then tracked/located by this ID? 2) If yes to 1), is this “blackmarket gear” or on the up-&-up like from JohnsonControls, Honeywell, GE, etc. PLEASE HELP!

daver1981 (profile) says:

east mesa az found track device in car

2 days ago I found a weird device in my center consul of my car that was not there earlier then 4 days ago. I at the same time other strange things have happened that if I told anybody they would not believe me. Example this morning I woke up and the door key to my car was on the floor on the inside of my house at the front door. Went to find that the rest of my keys were not where I left them. They were on the floor next to my bed. Also now my car is not starting. I have had someone borrow my car this past wed/Thurs.I feel very violated and at the same time scared to say anything to authorities cause this group of aquants are dangerouse come to find out. . anybody have any advice on what to do? I have my issues but I’m not Involved in crime that would make me a cabaret for a tracking device. I no Longer am affiliated with these aquantences. But honestly fearful of my life right now. Thease are not people one should fuck with. What to do?……..

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