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Errant E-Mail Shames RFID Backer 60

An anonymous reader writes "An article appearing in Wired today describes how the The Grocery Manufacturers of America inadvertently sent an embarrassing internal email to anti-RFID consumer group CASPIAN"
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Errant E-Mail Shames RFID Backer

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  • Other coverage (Score:5, Informative)

    by Malfourmed ( 633699 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @02:10PM (#7954114) Homepage
    This story was covered in the Australian press [theage.com.au] a few days ago. Other sources [silicon.com] report that the GMA has apologised, describing the acction as a "youthful indescretion".
  • Re:It... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @03:44PM (#7955070)
    Yes, that's true...I know a good bit of RFID tags use radio waves to operate, but if I remember correctly some of these actually power themselves...
    That may be true, but practical cost and size considerations lead to the vast majority (I would guess well over 99.9%) of these things being passive. That is, they do nothing until they get lit up with an RF pulse, then use the small amount of energy received from such a pulse to transmit a reply back.

    Anyhow exactly does my boss know it's MY underware?
    It is trivial to enclude enough bits in the RFID tag of an object to uniquely identify that specific object, not just its product code. This is along the lines of the ideas discussed in the IPv6 article on Slashdot yesterday [slashdot.org]. Essentially, an RFID tag with enough bits amounts to a unique serial number for every individual item sold -- which means that your underwear (sorry, pet peeve) could be distinguished from the ones your co-workers are wearing, even if they happened to be the same brand and size.

    Of course, the obvious solution in that case is simply not to wear underwear... :)


  • by reinard ( 105934 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @02:28PM (#7964452)
    Granted the statement was an exaggeration, but so is yours. "The protocols used are generally not published"... there are several ISO standards (ISO 14443 A/B, ISO 15693, ISO 18000, EPC) that just about everybody uses, same with the frequencies. (125KHz (new), 148KHz (old), 13.56 MHz (probably most common for short range, the one I was referring to), 315 MHz (long range, expensive))

    Check these [skyetek.com] out. They read just about any standard on 13.56MHz (and really, almost everybody uses that frequency).

    If I had some more time I'd google around a bit, but I'd bet most of what you'll find (95%+) will be a variation of one of the above.

    I bet you, if they don't already exist, it will be a short time until someone makes a universal RFID tag reader. It's not hard to scan a few frequencies and try a few different protocols. Especially for ReadOnly tags (again, the large majority) because the protocol will be a simple ping-pong.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling