In a followup to the story about credit card company lawyers killing
an episode of Mythbusters concerning RFID vulnerabilities, Daniel Terdiman got a response from Texas Instruments, who had organized the call that Mythbusters host Adam Savage had described. TI's spokesperson tells a somewhat different story
"In June 2007, MythBusters was interested in pursuing some great myth-busting ideas for RFID. While in pursuit, they contacted Texas Instruments' RFID Systems, who is a pioneer of RFID and contactless technology, for technical help and understanding of RFID in the contactless payments space," TI spokesperson Cindy Huff said. "Some of the information that was needed to pursue the program required further support from the contactless payment companies as they construct their own proprietary systems for security to protect their customers. To move the process along, Texas Instruments coordinated a conversation with Smart Card Alliance (SCA) who invited MasterCard and Visa, on contactless payments to help MythBusters get the right information. Of the handful of people on the call, there were mostly product managers and only one contactless payment company's legal counsel member. Technical questions were asked and answered and we were to wait for MythBusters to let us know when they were planning on showing the segment. A few weeks later, Texas Instruments was told by MythBusters that the storyline had changed and they were pursuing a different angle which did not require our help."
This bit of he-said/she-said could actually be true from both ends, with each side having a rather different perception of the call in question. The folks on the call may have been a bit combative over certain issues, and that resulted in Discovery producers getting worried about the episode and "changing the storyline." Either way, if what Huff says is true, is Texas Instruments willing to get the credit card companies to publicly agree that Mythbusters and Discovery should move forward on a story about RFID vulnerabilities? Update
: Now Savage is backing down
and saying he got the facts of the story wrong...