Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Privacy Your Rights Online

Officials secretly RFID'd at Internet Summit 216

ewoudenberg writes "A Washington Times article reports that researchers managed to gain entrance to the Internet and technology conference in Switzerland last week only to discover that the summit's badges contained undisclosed RFID chips. The badges were handed out to more than 50 prime ministers, presidents and other high-level officials from 174 countries, including the United States."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Officials secretly RFID'd at Internet Summit

Comments Filter:
  • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:50AM (#7716738) Journal
    I hope the media catch hold of it and hype it to hell and beyond. Get some high-flying politico commentators saying how they should have been informed.

    Understanding about fire being hot often comes after one has been burnt. Perhaps they'll feel that they shouldn't be "spied on" without their knowledge. Perhaps it might influence decisions they make in future...

  • by segment ( 695309 ) <sil@po[ ] ['lit' in gap]> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @11:51AM (#7716741) Homepage Journal

    Washington Post has their own agendas politically when it comes to reporting. Sure it's pretty shitty to be monitored, but there is nothing stating that any information used was used for anything other than maybe for the sake of having some card manufacturers new card being tested.

    Remember intelligence agencies from all over the place keep tabs on each other via other means (ECHELON, HUMINT, OSINT, IMINT, SIGNIT), so I doubt this was anything to be concerned with. Strictly something `chick' to report on. It's far more easier to set up assets to bang (screw/lay/fsck) one of these guys for info, than it would to keep watch of what they do.

    User gets in car to go to summit, user's Eazypass or other form of cardpaymentsys tracks what exits he uses via tolls paid. User stops at gasoline station, credit card is used, card information is transmitted. User talks the beltway, cameras capture this. Get the picture? Everyone else sure did. Again other than this being all the rage (RFID's) I doubt it was something major, but surely someone with agendas sees it to be so. When they can produce something absolute that was used with this information, not just 'oh my look at this an RFID story' than I'll worry.

    PS... Proof doesn't mean `hey we're the Foobar Newspaper

  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JohnnyBigodes ( 609498 ) <morphine@PLANCKd ... minus physicist> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @12:02PM (#7716861)
    Good luck.. they (the politicians) will mostly complain about THEIR privacy, citing matters of national security. The people's privacy will always be watched in some way or another due to the need of "a general well-being".
  • Creapy? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 14, 2003 @12:20PM (#7717025)
    Creepy. It's just CREEPY. I am not sure Creapy is even a word. Jeez.
  • Re:Cool. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by torpor ( 458 ) <<ibisum> <at> <>> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @12:30PM (#7717113) Homepage Journal
    A politician has a job, just like you. Should you be bagged and tagged to make sure you arent talking to competitors.

    A politicians job is far more important than mine. It has its risks, it has its responsibilities.

    Politicians should be held accountable for every single thing they do while they are on the job. Its the only way to ensure we -the people- don't get screwed ...

  • by Dashing Leech ( 688077 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @12:34PM (#7717155)
    One doesn't attend conferences for the privacy.

    So, if you spent 2 hours in the bathroom with bad diarrhea, you'd have no problem telling them if they asked you why you were in there for so long and why you missed a few sessions? Is that it, every minute of your day there is open for anyone's scrutiny? (That is, anyone with access to an RFID tracker.)

  • Re:Cool. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Councilor Hart ( 673770 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @12:41PM (#7717212)
    They do have a private life, you know.
    It is not our concern who they sleep with, eat with, talk to in their personal time.
    It is not because they hold a public office, they don't have a right to privacy.
    Everything that doesn't influence the execution of their mandate is not our concern, and should remain private.
    Public life != Big Brother
  • WTF, Over... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sylver Dragon ( 445237 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:00PM (#7717412) Journal
    Maybe its just me, but this seems like a whole lot of noise over nothing. Those badges were probably security badges. You know, the kind many of us corporate workers wear every day to work. If you are one of those workers who have to swipe your ID badge in front of a little box that goes beep, and an LED turns green, and the door opens, the you are carrying an RFID tag (possibly even a smart card, but this is not as common). This is no big deal, its simply a way to control access. Technically, it provides some employee tracking, but its also very useful for security.
    Heck, even parking garages are using these for employees now. My girlfriend has a little card (HID Prox card), which she uses at work to get into and out of the parking complex for work. Myself, I work at a company that builds physical security systems, so I work with these things every day. And, I find, that most of the privacy concerns are way overblown. Though, I still don't like the idea of carrying one on me, I am a bit of a privacy nut afterall.
    If anything, this article sounds like a bunch of reporters got pissed, because they weren't allowed into a closed door conference, and broke the rules to get an access badge, and then reported on the evil RFID tag in the card, despite this being a very common thing, especially in places where security is an issue.

  • Re:Cool. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Politburo ( 640618 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:08PM (#7717474)
    Hi. Politicians are still citizens. They still have the rights we have. Sorry.
  • Self-Defense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quantum-Sci ( 732727 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:13PM (#7717510) Homepage
    For those who doubt the concerns about RFID, it's about who controls your own information: you... or others.

    We will get no regulation of the uses RFID is put to, while the Party is in power, and so it's up to us to sort this out.

    Be advised that cellphone mfgrs are now adding technology that PUSHes ads to you. Will you be able to turn it off? Doubtful; if all the carriers do it, there's no place else to go.

    And of course CDMA has always had geo-location... they promise it's only used to catch indicted criminals, but that claim is very doubtful, given some recent events.

    Delegates at a conference could be identified as they approach their car. Obscuring codes don't matter; a sample could be taken at any time prior, at great distance with a parabolic dish. Soldiers could be accurately geo-located by the enemy.

    Did you know that all GM cars since 1999 have black boxes in them, which are NOT being used to help you understand what happened 5 seconds before an accident, but to INDICT you for that accident, and expose you to civil litigation as well. Your inanimate *car* has become a prosecution witness against you, even though your own wife isn't supposed to be forced to testify against you.

    This is the difference between the old way, and the neo-way, of managing the citizens. The deeper question is, why is our society becoming more and more adversarial, so fast? How do Nordic countries and Canada, get away with cooperation, rather than ever strengthening offense and defense, every day? They don't worry about NOT being something, like we Americans do. Double-plus ungood.

    You say that when out in public, you have no expectation of privacy? True, but RFID expands that 'public' from your immediate surroundings (which you are aware of, and choose to inhabit), to the known universe, and for all time. If in 10 years it is considered treasonous to question RFID, some of us will be screwed, now, won't we? We all go places we'd like to keep private sometimes, now, don't we? Care to give that up, for no good reason other than FEAR?! Of our own government/corporate oligopoly? How much of your day do you spend in FEAR?! WTF are you afraid of NOW, FGS?!

    RFID is a great idea for inventory, but should be disabled/disablable when purchased. I doubt those chips now in tires, can be disabled, given the vulcanization process. And tags will soon be microscopic.

    RFID has no business on a person, as long as corporations and politicians behave adversarially toward their public at the highest levels.

  • Hipocrisy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by InfiniteWisdom ( 530090 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:14PM (#7717516) Homepage
    RFID concerns are overblown, except when the tags are on YOU.
  • Re:Cool. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ATMAvatar ( 648864 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:22PM (#7717583) Journal
    Many people are closely monitored in the workplace. Why should politicians be any different?
  • Re:Hipocrisy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sylver Dragon ( 445237 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:34PM (#7717699) Journal
    No, RFID concers are overblown. I just happen to be one of the people that believes in erring on the side of caution. Truth is, those little suckers take some good sized equipment to read from any worthwhile distance, so carrying my work ID badge on me at all times (I just keep it in my wallet) really isn't a cause for concern. What bothers me, is the idea of any government of corporation trying to hide these things on me, so that they can track me when the technology advances far enough for the readers to be small and have good range.
    Also, note that I did say privacy nut, which usually implies being irrational. Which many of my fears about privacy are, but I'll hang onto them, just in case one of them is right.

  • Re:Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ironica ( 124657 ) <{pixel} {at} {}> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @01:56PM (#7717881) Journal
    a group of reporters were pissed that they weren't invited to attend the conference.

    And from the article, there's no indication that they're the same as the group of researchers who snuck in.

    They disected a security card, and found (shock, horror) that it contained features designed to maintain security at said conference.

    If that's what it was for, how come the security people couldn't tell them that? I'm glad you were able to get more info out of them than the researchers were.

    Since this is the only dirt they managed to find, they spin it up into a sky-is-falling end-of-the-world privacy story.

    The fact that they faked their way in so easily was the first bit of dirt they dug up. The fact that there were undisclosed monitoring devices in the badges was the next. The final blow was that they couldn't get any info from security about the monitoring, and basically that the conference violated at least three privacy laws in the current jurisdiction.

    And that if this is how it goes in Switzerland, how will things go in Tunisia next year?

    If you figure it's no biggie, maybe you're right. But then again, if we send a bunch of prime ministers and other politicos to all congregate in a single place, and then we put tags on them so that we know their comings and goings, and who is talking with whom, and then we don't have any apparent plan to purge that info at any point... how easy will it be for every terrorist in the world to strike against their least favorite government at next year's conference? This seems vaguely important to me.
  • And watch ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lead Butthead ( 321013 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @02:39PM (#7718266) Journal
    how quickly they will forget and proceed to do on to their citizens what they complain loudly of.
  • I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Sunday December 14, 2003 @03:53PM (#7718863) Homepage
    And I will take gladly endorse that viewpoint just as soon as the same courtesy is extended to consumers and private citizens.
  • Re:Cool. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kommakazi ( 610098 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @04:17PM (#7719047)
    If Clinton "deserved" it like you say, why the hell is GWB still in office? He's outright lied and misled the public countless times about issues that actually matter and really do have a huge effect on the country and world at large. Yet there's not been any call for impeachment hearings...God the American public is fucking stupid.
  • by UltraSkuzzi ( 682384 ) on Sunday December 14, 2003 @05:20PM (#7719524) Homepage
    It didn't take long for that technology to be misused now did it? I can see the day when you go by RFID ready ad displays in the mall, and will be taylored to your 'interests' as they carefully read what stores you've been to and feed a 'revelevent ad'. Pretty soon RFID TVs will be made too, all sorts of fun and interesting uses for this technology will pop up! yay! Take me now Lord.............

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor