What Good Would Spy Coins Be... Even If They Did Exist?
from the do-you-have-some-spare-change? dept
There's been a lot of talk lately about the use of RFID chips in various things like tires or sneakers, and how these technologies could be misused to spy on your whereabouts. Of course, what's never clearly explained is how effective such a solution would be. RFIDs tend to have very limited range. Still, with so much talk about using RFIDs to spy on people, is it any wonder that press quickly jumped on the story about the US Defense Department is warning American contractor employees to be careful when they get foreign change. The story claims that a few contractors discovered that the Canadian coins they had, held RFID chips placed inside. However, no one seems to have a good answer to explain what this would be useful for. A reader would need to be quite close to the coins to get a read on the tags, at which point you wonder exactly what the benefit really is. Also, since change tends to be spent or passed around pretty rapidly (with no indication back to whoever put the chips in the coins), it might not be even remotely effective in following an individual. Perhaps the answer is that it didn't really happen. Another news report on the topic claims that there were some concerns, but an investigation of the coins found no transmitters. That source claims the report about the RFID coins was simply false, and never should have been reported. No matter which story is actually true, it seems like lots of people are eager to jump onto any claim of RFID-based spying, even if there's no technological reason to be concerned.