[extropy-chat] RFID smartcard passports and driver's licences

Mike Lorrey mlorrey at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 7 03:50:47 UTC 2005

--- Hal Finney <hal at finney.org> wrote:
> I did not think that RFID had progressed so far, so fast.  Do you
> have any citations to prove any of this?

You can thank Walmart. January of this year was the deadline for its
vendors to chip 80% of the products they sold through wallyworld. They
didn't meet that target, but they have confirmed they are now 100% RFID
compliant as of March 14th:

This means every shoe, bag of chips, bottle of Downy, and pair of
Victoria's Secret-esque knockoff lingere has a chip on it, somewhere.

Furthermore, they are moving ahead to deploying generation 2 chips that
have limited battery capacity to create chip networks to perform
functions like monitoring temperature in the warehouse (or transmitting
your body temperature when wearing the product, so the marketers know
when you ladies are ovulating.... to sell you on baby products or

RFIDs of the first generation have been found to be useful at measuring
how much product is left in a container. A bottle of Downy, for
example, not only ids your favorite fabric softener, but can indicate
by measuring the capacitance of its charge capacitor (as impacted by
the softener in the bottle) to determine how much fabric softener is
left. With these on milk bottles and orange juice bottles, and add in
smart appliances, and hackers will be able to tell when you need to go
to the store, as an aid to assaulting the individual, or breaking into
their home while they are away.

>  I only found references to one
> loyalty program card at a German store that was testing experimental
> RFID technology.  And I couldn't find anything about Nikes having
> RFIDs, or clothing.

>From my discussions with Katherine Albrecht at CASPIAN, many companies
are being EXTREMELY circumspect about admitting to chipping. I just
bought a pair of sneakers at Walmart two weeks ago. There was a chip in
an adhesive sticker in the sneaker packing, not in the sneaker itself
(I bought Starter, btw), but Walmart wants its vendors to build chips
into the interiors of their products so that customers are not able to
tell that their products are chipped, and to do double time as an
anti-theft device that is much harder to remove.

Shaws and Price Chopper's customer loyalty cards, which don't have a
full magnetic strip on them, are RFID cards. The 'strip' is paint to
misdirect the owner. Most other programs are RFID, particularly if the
card is not a full credit card sized.

> www.spychips.com is a product of the consumer group CASPIAN which
> opposes loyalty cards and other privacy-invasive programs.  They had
> a lot of information on the Metro Future store loyalty cards, which
> were discontinued after protest. But nothing about shoes or clothes.
> I'm sure
> they'd go ballistic if these practices were actually as widespread as
> you say.

You ever met Albrecht in person? She goes into it all in great detail.
We had her speak at our LPNH state convention last year.

Mike Lorrey
Vice-Chair, 2nd District, Libertarian Party of NH
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
                                      -William Pitt (1759-1806) 
Blog: http://intlib.blogspot.com

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