Radio frequency identification (RFID) tech has been employed in some pretty noble causes, like tracking timber to curb illegal logging and tagging animals for study and to better manage their habitats. And now that RFID has criminal-types like poachers and illegal loggers looking over their shoulders, it's now being deployed against a far more prevalent kind of criminal: you.
By Jessica ChengPosted 05.02.2008 at 5:31 pm 3 Comments
Post-its are great to jot down quick notes and messages; and important phone numbers; and meeting locations; and the zillions of passwords. Great that is, until they lose their stick and end up buried in piles of work or behind the desk. Now, researchers at MIT have solved that pressing problem with the demoed Quickies, a new application to digitize handwritten sticky notes and allow you not only to browse through an archive of notes, but set up to-do lists, send reminders, and even find that sticky note you lost in the middle of a textbook.
By Gregory MonePosted 10.22.2007 at 1:29 pm 7 Comments
As if the ugly uniforms weren't enough, now a private school is considering using RFID chips to track its students, too. At a school in South Yorkshire, UK, officials are testing a new system that tracks whether students are in a given classroom or not, and can also cut off access to certain areas of the school.
The radio-frequency identification tags tell the students' teachers whether or not they're in the building, and call up other critical data, such as photos and behavioral records, in the event that the teacher forgets who he or she is dealing with. Ten kids have been wearing the chips for eight months. And you have to wonder if any of them have been asked to read 1984 yet.—Gregory Mone
As more and more credit cards and other documents come equipped with RFID tags—the tiny radio-frequency identification chips that beam your account or ID info to readers used by various services (public transportation, toll road fees, etc)—the more speculation has surfaced on how malicious ID thieves could potentially use similar readers to lift your personal data without your knowledge. Thankfully, it's pretty simple to keep your info protected right in your wallet. Web editor Megan Miller demonstrates above.
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An offshore screening system will put a 14-mile buffer zone between ports and deadly cargo
By Mark SchropePosted 06.26.2007 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
To security experts, the immense cargo ships that ferry more than 11 million containers into this country annually are potential Trojan horses-each one could easily harbor a WMD, such as a dirty bomb. Typically, only once the ships have been unloaded is their cargo subjected to random inspections and radiation scans. "There is an urgent need to effectively screen cargo before it reaches the ports," says Charles Meade, a senior scientist at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit think tank.
Radio tags smaller than pepper flakes could make diamond rings and other valuables more secure
By Graeme Stemp-MorlockPosted 06.06.2007 at 2:00 am 2 Comments
The diamond ring of the future will radiate its unique beauty-quite literally-thanks to a minuscule radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip embedded in it. Scientists at Hitachi Research Labs in Japan have devised the smallest RFID tag ever, just 0.05 millimeter by 0.05 millimeter, tinier than a grain of sand. The so-called powder chip is thin enough that it can be mixed with paper pulp to add a layer of counterfeit protection to gift certificates, passports and currency.
By Annalee NewitzPosted 12.28.2006 at 4:56 am 1 Comment
At the Chaos Communication Congress, a small group of hackers who love a strange computer langauge known as Dylan convinced several thousand people to voluntarily place themselves under surveillance with wearable radio frequency identification tags (RFIDs). They presented their project, called Sputnik, at the conference yesterday. The Sputnik crew placed RFID readers throughout the conference space, and anyone wearing the Sputnick RFID tags (on sale at the front desk for 10 Euros) would be tracked throughout the conference. Participants could register their RFID tag ID number online, and associate it with their name or other personal information. One of the project designers told a packed audience, "Anyone can click on your ID number via a web interface, and find out which lectures you have attended."
The RFID tags contain a transmitter, battery, and what appear to be two processors as well as two crystals (schematics will be posted on the Sputnik website soon). Best of all, the Sputnik crew set up a 3D visualization of the entire conference center, with avatars representing each person with an RFID tag. Using a large touchscreen (pictured at left), users could "look around" the 3D space, select avatars, and find out who they were and where they'd been. Essentially, the Sputnik visualization turned the entire conference into a virtual world containing real world data. As one person using the the display commented, "This is awesome!" Unfortunately, so many people hit the Sputnik website that the display was down for most of the day. But it appears to be back up today and there are more people than ever zooming around with the Sputnik RFID tags clipped to their jackets.
By the end of the conference, the Sputnik crew will know a great deal about what the typical person has done at CCC. They will also have sparked several debates about whether surveillance is ever a good thing -- even if it's done for amusement. --Annalee Newitz
A new "memory stamp" turns physical objects like postcards and photos into hyperlinks
By Gregory MonePosted 09.10.2006 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
Vacation snapshots are nice, but wouldn´t they be nicer if you could swipe your cellphone over them to retrieve video, sound files and captions? That´s the idea behind the Memory Spot, an adhesive chip in development at Hewlett-Packard´s Bristol, England, facility. The stamp-like memory device comes in two sizes, 1.4 or 2 millimeters square. Affixed to a photo or document, it can store and transfer up to four megabytes of data, enough for a short video or a couple songs.
A tiny add-on chip will turn your cellphone into a credit card, bus schedule, concert ticket and more
By Lauren AaronsonPosted 08.01.2006 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
Forgot your wallet? You´ll need a better excuse than that for passing on the check. By next year, you´ll be able to pay simply by swiping your cellphone a few inches from a cash register, with a new wireless standard called Near Field Communication. An NFC chip in your phone will send your credit-card number-stored on your phone or on the chip-by way of short-distance radio waves. An electronic reader at the checkout will decode the number and ring up your purchase.
New identity papers are harder to fakeâ€”and easier to spy on
By Mike HaneyPosted 05.04.2005 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
Renewing your passport soon? You may want to craft a tinfoil sleeve to store it in. That´s because the next generation of U.S. passports, set to hit travelers´ hands by September, will come with a radio transponder and a 64-kilobyte computer chip embedded in their back covers. The chip will store the same information that´s printed in your passport, and the transponder will broadcast it to a reader synced up to an inspector´s computer. IT´s part of a cover-to-cover passport overhaul to make the document harder to counterfeit.Why the tinfoil?