[LINK] Re: RFID in Govt, and in People

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Fri Oct 6 11:17:27 AEST 2006

On 2006 Oct 05, at 5:38 PM, Geoff Ramadan wrote:
> Kim Holburn wrote:
>> On 2006 Oct 05, at 12:07 PM, Eric Scheid wrote:
>>> On 5/10/06 11:21 AM, "Marghanita da Cruz"  
>>> <marghanita at ramin.com.au> wrote:
>>>>> What NEW privacy concerns are specifically raised because of RFID?
>>>> It is the ease of tracking that RFID offers over Barcodes that  
>>>> raises
>>>> issues....identifying people or their habbits by their rubbish  
>>>> bins and
>>>> their contents, where they live by tracking where the book/clothing
>>>> goes...are these applications are in the realms of science  
>>>> fiction or
>>>> now legitimate objectives.
>>> I heard that supermarkets might use RFID to keep an eye on the  
>>> level of
>>> various goods on the shelf ... to know when the item is removed  
>>> from the
>>> shelf. All to do with maintaining inventory levels or something.
>> Yeah and supermarkets could note what books you are reading, where  
>> you bought your clothes and what credit cards you are carrying as  
>> you pass by a "reading" station?.
> 1) they don't need RFID to do this, people already freely give this  
> information at the supermarket check out. The recored the barcode  
> of the product, your loyalty card and if they wanted to, they can  
> swipe your credit card.

Huh?  Sometimes you have to let the checkout people look in your bag  
but it's usually a quick peep, not a detailed itemisation of your  
"library books" or a barcode reader scan of the inside of your bag.

> 2) you will be most likely given the option to "kill" the RFID tag  
> when you make a retail purchase.

Is it possible to find an RFID tag with a portable device?  Is it  
possible to "kill" an RFID tag with a portable device? ;-)  (Naughty  
question I know but I had to ask it!)

>> On the other hand noting would stop you from creating say, an RFID  
>> jacket with thousands of RFID tags in it, if it were an active  
>> device those tags could change constantly!!!
>>> Combine that with library cards with RFID chips one might carry  
>>> in one's
>>> pocket, and They might now be able to track what books people  
>>> read *in* the
>>> library (ie. the books they *don't* checkout).
>>> The thing is, is this feasible?
> Possible - if this is a concern, don't issue RFID library cards.  
> There is actually no need for it. Only adds additional cost with no  
> value. Stick to using barcodes.

Even if you're not carrying an RFID library card or the library  
doesn't issue an RFID based card, banks will and the Government might  
so you may still be able to do link RFID books to some RFID-based ID.

>>> (this prompts another curious question: we've had great and long  
>>> debate
>>> about the range for reading RFID, and I've also noted comments  
>>> about RFID
>>> readers being overwhelmed with too many responses ... but could  
>>> one design
>>> an RFID reader with very limited range, ideal for scanning the  
>>> smaller set
>>> of RFIDs physically within 12" only?)
> Some readers (UHF) can read upto 200 tags per second.
> Short range RFID tags, are also called "proximity" cards and are  
> typically 5 to 10cm read range. Many of your wireless "access  
> entry" cards are in fact RFID Proximity cards.
> The read range is limited by design (antenna / power )

Yeah, so you can limit the readers by design, I would have always  
thought you could do this.  I expect you can do it in software.   
There is a WiFi AP that allowed you to set a distance beyond which it  
would not respond to clients.

>> I believe this is what the RFID industry wants us to believe all  
>> readers are like!
> Sorry I disagree on this point strongly.
> I go to great pains to tell people that "RFID is not one thing nor  
> one technology" and the problem USERS have is that they "mix" all  
> the technologies and capabilities together to get absurd outcomes.

Hmmm.... not really answering the point.  The fact is that it is  
possible to read these things at much greater distances than the  
industry designed readers.  I'm sure there are lots of different  
technologies and frequencies involved but none of that precludes  
reading cards at a much greater distance than we are being told.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
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