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Ten Best, Worst, and Craziest Uses of RFID 126

An anonymous reader writes "This top 10 rounds up what it calls 'the best, worst and craziest' uses of RFID out there — including chipped kids at Legoland, smart pub tables that let you order drinks, smartcards for sports fans, and chipped airline passengers. The craziest use of the tech surely has to be RFID chips for Marks & Spencer suits — you couldn't pay most people to wear one of them."
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Ten Best, Worst, and Craziest Uses of RFID

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  • chipped kids? Ok (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @10:34AM (#17080044)
    As a parent I have to say that having my child chipped at an amusement park is just fine.

    I get scared every time I take my child to a fair or any other public gathering. I constantly watch him to ensure he's no more then ten feet away from me. I know that there are people who prowl such places on the lookout for unnattended children. paranoid? Perhaps, but I'd far rather be paranoid then the father of a dead child. No amount of paranoia is too much in such situations, so far as I'm concerned.

    If a chip meant his location could be tracked constantly I'd feel a lot happier. It's not likely that I'd lose sight of him, but I can say with absolute certainty that if I did *any* means of locating him would be acceptable.
  • by travail_jgd ( 80602 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @10:42AM (#17080086)
    There are two things to keep in mind:

    1. If the security system can detect the chip, so can the bad guys.

    2. RFID tags can be duplicated

    I don't have a problem with the way you're parenting -- it's your job to keep an eye on your child! The problem I have is with the parents who assume the magical tracker will work just like in the movies, and ignore their kids. (But when something bad happens, it's never their fault.)
  • by DrSkwid ( 118965 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @10:51AM (#17080122) Homepage Journal
    How a 10m proximity device would track his location constantly is a mystery to me.

    If he's being kidnapped, the napper would be aware that there is a very small window of opportunity to remove the child from the park before he's noticed missing, this window is made wider by your "it's ok he's been tagged, he'll turn up" mentality.

    And that window doesn't need to be very wide at all

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200606/s16726 04.htm [abc.net.au]
  • by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @10:58AM (#17080158)
    your point is a valid one. However, paedophiles don't need rfid to locate a lone child, just reasonable observation skills.

    Where they to find a way to utilise rfid, they likely couldn't stop me simultaniously using the same system to find him. I hope not anyhow.

    The possibility exists that the very person who is after my child is the same person who is operating the system in the first place. I know of no way beyond complete paranoia to guard against this.

    Shit, I get scared that my boy wants to walk home from school on his own, I may not be the best person to comment on rfid...
  • wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @11:08AM (#17080188) Journal
    "The craziest use of the tech surely has to be RFID chips for Marks & Spencer suits -- you couldn't pay most people to wear one of them"

    This is just wrong, all they are doing is tracking things which they own in exactly the same way people currently do, you know those big-ass white things which are on your clothes and leave a hole in everything - it's essentially the same thing. It is just more efficient. No one would ever wear a suit with these in, and their article even accepts in when they state (the one they linked to from the article...) "[tags] are contained within throwaway paper labels called Intelligent Labels attached to, but not embedded in, a selection of men's suits". This sort of thing makes people who don't like the technology because it can track you look like tools who over-react. Don't keep doing this /.
  • M&S RFID (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kylegordon ( 159137 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @11:20AM (#17080266) Homepage
    The craziest use of the tech surely has to be RFID chips for Marks & Spencer suits you couldn't pay most people to wear one of them."

    From another article [silicon.com] linked from the main article...
    The RFID tags are contained in throwaway paper labels attached to, but not embedded in, a variety of men's and women's clothing items in stores. M&S uses mobile scanners to scan garment tags on the shop floor, and portals at distribution centres and the loading bays of stores allow rails of hanging garments to be pushed through and read at speed. and The retailer is aiming to use RFID tags to help achieve its goal of 100 per cent stock accuracy by ensuring the right goods and sizes are in the right stores to meet demand.

    It sure would be nice of submitters did a little bit of basic research about their comic headline statements before publishing them. It's quite obvious that M&S aren't aiming to get people to wear the tags. They're using them to improve their stock accuracy, and have provided a simple and easy way to get rid of the tag if you don't want it.
  • by JoeBackward ( 1034674 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @11:27AM (#17080304)
    If you enter a footrace you'll get a passive RFID tag to tangle in your shoelaces. This thing lets the race judging system give you a time. After you finish the race you throw the RFID tag in a bucket, and they reuse it on the next race. A great use of technology! Nice writeup here.

    http://www.marathonguide.com/features/Articles/Rac eTimingWithChip.cfm [marathonguide.com]

    Toll transponders are another very convenient use of technology. Sure, there are some privacy issues, but they're convenient.
  • Re:A good use (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dapsychous ( 1009353 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @11:55AM (#17080504) Homepage

    Before we could implement a system like this, the laws would need to be revised. Right now, if an 18 year old has sex with his 17 year old girlfriend, and her parents don't approve, he goes to jail and has to be branded a sex offender for the rest of his life. If a guy pulls over on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere to use the bathroom in the woods because he can't make it to town and a cop sees, it's indecent exposure, and he's branded a sex offender for the rest of his life.

    Granted, children need to be protected, but this country has gone WWWWWAAAAAYYYY overboard with paranoia. I'm not saying that these things don't happen, but when you talk about taking people's rights away and branding them with a moniker like 'Sex Offender', you'd better be DAMN sure.

  • by gwyrdd benyw ( 233417 ) on Saturday December 02, 2006 @06:33PM (#17083982) Journal
    ..Right up until a kidnapper takes the wrist band/dogtag off the kid and leaves it in a bathroom.

    I'd put the RFID tag in something the kid can swallow. It'll pass in a day or so, but until then you know that you can track the kid.
    I'd still also not let the kid out of my sight -- the chip is a backup only, not a replacement for good parenting.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant