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RFID tag
New legislation outlaws isolated criminal cases but fails to provide federal regulation

A new law passed yesterday in the State of Washington which outlaws the act of RFID “skimming” for identity theft and fraud.

The bill, championed by democratic representative Jeff Morris and signed into law yesterday, claims it will provide consumers “better protection from ‘spy technologies’” used to collect personal information without prior consent.

A press release issued demonstrates a number of scenarios where prior law on RFID skimming was murky and unclear: a thief gathering data on a neighborhood via houses’ RFID emissions, or law enforcers quickly gathering the identity of everyone in an unruly mob – “guilty parties and passersby alike” – by scanning for RFID emissions in the vicinity.

“The new law - the first of its kind in the U.S. - makes it a Class C felony to intentionally scan another person's identification remotely without his or her knowledge and consent, for the purpose of fraud, identity theft, or some other illegal purpose,” reads the release.

Wired’s Beyond the Beyond was quick to point out that the law’s flaws, noting that it “doesn't seem to have given much thought to the notion of [federal agents] quietly skimming American RFID passports and RFID drivers’ licenses.”

Dan Mullen, executive director of RFID- and “automatic identification” trade group AIM called the bill a good example of legislation that criminalizes illegal activity as opposed to the technology itself.  “The fact that the bill focuses on behavior, and punishing behavior that is not appropriate, is something anyone can support,” said Mullen, speaking to RFID Update.

“We wanted to get some rules in place before the technology really comes into play,” said Rep. Morris. “Legislators can be very good at being reactionary after there is some public outcry, then end up passing something that is really draconian.”

With RFID usage outpacing legislation – especially with its prevalence in government functions – a growing number of citizens and public interest groups are expressing concern at the technology’s privacy implications. Washington, in particular, is one of the four border states allowing RFID-enhanced drivers’ licenses to be used in place of passports at international border checkpoints.

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By rsmech on 3/26/2008 9:26:54 PM , Rating: 5
An RFID should have almost no range on it. If it does it's basically broadcasting your information needlessly. The harm out ways the benefits. If you can't scan your card you are LAZY. The law doesn't protect you, it just defines the punishment. The potential gains to criminals out ways the penalties. If it didn't why is ID theft on such a rise. 2 reasons: The gov't is making it easier for thief with things like this and the penalties aren't sever enough to not take the risk. It seems the gov't is best at passing laws just to create new victims for criminals. Job security.

RE: Stupidity!
By konacustom on 3/26/2008 11:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
I think its important to take a look at the hard statistics of who is commiting the identity theft and where its occuring most. If you were to do this you would notice that its where there is a high influx of our friends from the south and that there are many of them who are caught and even more who aren't caught. In southern CA identity theft is rampant. On any given day you can walk across the border to Tiajuana and buy an american ID for $20. Potilical correctness isn't going to solve this problem but a mine field on the border with Mexico may solve more problems that we ever imagined! Think about how many lives we would be saving if we actually enforced the border. I mean these people end up dehydrated and dead in the dessert or trafficking as a mule for some drug lord to get a ride here or inside semi trailer cooking to death because the driver bailed and left them there. We would be saving a lot of lives because it would only take a few of them to die before word got back that you should not try to cross anymore because you will either step on a mine or get shot. Think about it....its not a nice answer but do you want the truth or do you want to feel good.
Now come the down ratings because my answer is politically incorrect and all the bible chuckers don't like that.

RE: Stupidity!
By charliee on 3/27/08, Rating: 0
RE: Stupidity!
By freaqie on 3/27/2008 2:47:27 AM , Rating: 2
and what has an axe and a sword to do with stateof the art RFID chips???

RE: Stupidity!
By ShaolinSoccer on 3/27/2008 5:09:19 AM , Rating: 1
All he's doing is quoting the new testament in which it says do not harm other human beings. He's replying to the guy who said we should make a mine field to stop illegal immigrants. And I agree with the Bible thumper. We shouldn't kill people. We should stop them from coming into the country but not by killing them. Let's be civilised...

RE: Stupidity!
By ViroMan on 3/27/2008 6:13:55 AM , Rating: 3
Yes lets be civilized...
I recommend setting up those sound wall generators that make people violently ill when they get within range. You can't block it by plugging your ears, all you can do is stay out of range. IF perchance you get close enough it will knock you out.(probably would happen if driving a vehicle.) All you need is a sensor to detect when people get within range of the sound wall. Turn on the wall and signal troops to the location.

There ya go. Don't even need a real wall.

RE: Stupidity!
By Sundox on 3/27/08, Rating: 0
RE: Stupidity!
By Spivonious on 3/27/2008 9:48:38 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think very many people have $10 million in cash. It's all tied up in their corporation, investments, etc.

RE: Stupidity!
By Sundox on 3/27/2008 12:33:20 PM , Rating: 2
Just Bill Gates could save, Cuba, Argentina, Mexico and Brasil with his personal fortune and he's just in the third place, of the worlds richest people ranking.
I didn't make these numbers up.

RE: Stupidity!
By ZmaxDP on 3/27/2008 3:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
Listen, this is absurd. I don't know about Cali, but if we actually managed to stop illegal immigrates from getting into Texas our economy would crash. Maybe this is what some people want, but personally I don't want our economy to get worse. I prefer better. So, while a militarized border might seem like a great idea to you, I have to say it's pretty stupid for that reason alone.

Then there's the issue that, despite some people's perception, in most places the border is indistinguishable. In Texas we're lucky enough to have this river on the border, so we can kind of figure it out. In New Mexico, Arizona, and California, most of the border is completely unmarked either by natural or man made landmarks. So, in order to "mine" the border, we'd have to put up (here it comes) a wall!!! Yes, we'd have to put up a continuous fence for the ENTIRE distance of the border just to keep out stray cattle and people who aren't even trying to cross the border but happen to walk over your minefield. So now you're suggesting a fence and a wall. Of course, Mexico needs a fence on their side to, and since we pay for most of their border work indirectly, we'd have to pay for that fence too! So, if we followed your brilliant plan, we'd have to pay for not just one discontinuous and rather short 10' fence/wall, but two continuous fences/walls and however many millions of mines it would take to effectively mine such a long border.

And what about Texas? Do we mine the ground on our side of the river, or theirs? Maybe we should just mine the River so swimmers get blown to bits. Forget the tourist based economy of most of the border towns, much of which is based on sight-seeing the canyons from rafts on the river, we don't need that 100 million plus cash influx into the Texas economy at all.

Then again, there are plenty of bigots and racists that would pay way more to watch some starving mexican nationals get blown to bits while trying to cross the border as their last resort to support their families. Talk about entertainment. Maybe to pay for your little plan we should create a new network TV show for all the Xenophobes and Racists where you can TiVo your favorite class of immigrants trying to get to a better life. From 1:00 to 2:30 they'll have Cubans (that's old news so not prime time material). Mexicans and Canadians would have to fight for the time slot with American Idol. Given, not many Canadians are interested in crossing into the USA anymore, but we should go ahead and mine and double fence that border too so those few that do can be caught on film as their body parts vaporize in a good explosion. Maybe it will just take the prime time spot on VS. instead of UFC...

RE: Stupidity!
By mcmilljb on 3/27/2008 11:23:22 AM , Rating: 2
It's a felony. That's a big punishment. I believe what you want are 2 things. The first one is regulation. It sets standards for security and allows punishment for both criminals and companies with relaxed security. The second is to create better identification technology for business and citizens. I don't like the idea of RFID in passports and driver's licenses. Those are things I rather have the person have to inspect closely and manually interface with a scanner of some sort.

By Azsen on 3/26/2008 9:51:40 PM , Rating: 5
... for the purpose of fraud, identity theft, or some other illegal purpose...

So they can still scan your RFID to:
Target advertisements for you,
Monitor your whereabouts at any time, and
Find out any other information on the chip and store it without your consent in a large database that could be used for pretty much anything.

RE: So...
By Marvlarv on 3/27/2008 8:21:04 AM , Rating: 2
prety much ya.

Target advertisements for you,

I would hate that

RE: So...
By Spivonious on 3/27/2008 9:49:29 AM , Rating: 2
Although you could argue that a lot of those are illegal because they are invasions of privacy.

RE: So...
By Oregonian2 on 3/27/2008 1:53:06 PM , Rating: 4
the bill a good example of legislation that criminalizes illegal activity as opposed to the technology itself

If it only criminalizes activities that are allready illegal, then what's the impact (and what's the point)?

Trifold Wallet with Aluminum Foil...
By rupaniii on 3/26/2008 10:17:09 PM , Rating: 2
That's my plan, Wallet with aluminum foil.
I might actually open the liner inside and put shredded foil into cause multiple reflections.

RE: Trifold Wallet with Aluminum Foil...
By Lord 666 on 3/26/2008 11:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
It works best if you also wear a tin foil hat

By freaqie on 3/27/2008 2:48:17 AM , Rating: 2
i guess that is you'd do that that it would work ( or work as an antenna :P)

Neutered Tech?
By sdifox on 3/27/2008 10:43:19 AM , Rating: 2
The entire argument for RFID vs UPC is that proximity is good enough for recognition. If you neuter RFID to within inches, may as well stick to UPC since it is a lot cheaper. Just make a better UPC.

RE: Neutered Tech?
By Divadian on 3/27/2008 10:50:33 AM , Rating: 2
Don't neuter the Tech but the implementation should be considered carefully.

When I read the article, immediately I began to think of a cloaking container for said id. One poster implied a wallet with foil and while foil may not be the answer, their is or will be an answer.

Being an EE if I can't find a cloaking container, then I'll make it.

RE: Neutered Tech?
By Divadian on 3/27/2008 10:54:34 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe an physical on/off switch could be the answer....

By dever on 3/27/2008 2:09:55 PM , Rating: 3
Reading about this makes me think that trying to outlaw RFID scanning will simply give people the mistaken belief that it's OK to carry around a card with all of their personal details, and that is easily scannable... because, after all, it would be "illegal" for someone to scan them.

How about we let the market come up with solutions to potentially very real threats to invasion of privacy without having some stupid politician try to give a false sense of security.

Besides, the wording seems to say, "it's illegal to do something illegal." What a waste of the citizens' money.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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