August 17, 2007

I recently came back to school today and I was unhappy to see the RFID-disabled cards being issued to students. While this may seem like a smooth move on the part of the school, it disturbs me as I am unsure the level of vulnerability this system leaves me. There are several issues I have with this new “convenience” but I will only write about two.

  • The RFID chip is potentially damaging to other cards I have. This included my debit cards which could possibly get demagnetized (i.e. stop working) because of the RFID chip. I like my money, therefore I dislike something tampering with it.
  • There is a lack of transparency in the process. I can see why the administration could find RFID to be easier to use, but students do not know if their entering buildings is being logged, if their personal information is stored on the chip, how much information is being transmitted, if the data is encrypted etc.

You can read more about problems and concerns with RFID here. So in the interest of freedom and security, I went out and bought an RFID blocking wallet to protect myself and my personal security. Most people will probably think this is a bit extreme but seeing as I actually do care about privacy and freedom, I think that they are mistaken. Anyone with half a brain can get something like an RFID experiemental kit and find the frequency and read the data.

So I’ll keep my wallet and my freedom, how about you?


  1. What’s next, a tin foil hat? And there is one, someone posted a link on a blog post a few months back šŸ™‚ As a matter of fact, the tin foil hat is on Wikipedia somewhere now that I think about it.

    OK, you ditched the RFID stuff, but what about your cell phone? If you are going to do it right man, and be all about freedom and personal security, the cell phone has to go too! Just ask Kevin šŸ™‚

  2. What do you mean ask Kevin? Is his cell phone being tracked? As per the cell phone issue, I plan to get an OpenMoko phone as soon as I can afford it.

  3. Yeah the OpenMoko will affect the cellular networks greatly *lol*

  4. Do you wear a mask? I know at my university, there are cameras at most entrances to buildings, and they do use face recognition technologies to keep a log of who is going in and out. In the name of safety, building operators are going to want to know who is in each building, and your RFID blocking wallet won’t protect you for long.

  5. I got very confused by the term “RFID-disabled”. Why’s he complaining, I thought, the cards don’t have RFID! Then I worked it out. Consider saying something like “RFID-infected” instead.

  6. For what it’s worth, there are a range of pretty balanced (PDF Download) articles at RFID Protect. Just Google the name, then check out their ‘Resources’ webpage. Simple to read, (even a monkey like me can make sense of the science), and with some genuinely interesting issues being explored. Like for instance, why the US Department of Defence ordered 4.2 million RFID shielding sleeves for their CAC ID cards. Mmm? That’s odd…

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