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Archive for August, 2010

RFID for Fun, Profit and Eavesdropping

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Imagine this world, sometime in the not-so-distant future:

All consumer goods will be embedded with RFID chips. You’ll be able to catalog all your worldly possessions, and find them whether they’re in your house or on loan to a friend. If your child goes missing, you’ll know their outfit(s) based on what’s missing from the house.

Of course, this begs the outcry of the paranoid, “but then my every move can be monitored and traced!!” True, but is that so crazy? People check in on foursquare and Facebook by the minute. Then again, they might be begging to be robbed.

I suppose you could also scan the RFID from a perfect stranger (or friend), and keep track of them whenever their tag is read by a reader of yours. I think if you’re broadcasting your Bluetooth ID, this could be somewhat possible already. But then, you’d have to have a whole bunch of ID readers that you can access. Who knows, maybe there would be some use for public scanners, for organizations to log into and grab data.

Seem possible? Likely?

By no means am I an RFID expert, but it does make one think about the practical uses, and potential dangers of the technology. I look forward to being able to walk out of the grocery store without having the cashier crush my loaf of bread under a gallon of milk. I’d love to just choose my payment account on the way in, and have all my selections tallied up as I pass by a pedestal. Until then, I’ll keep eating crushed bread.