Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Peace of Mind, Please Report to Bronze Dog's Office. Peace of Mind...

Bronze is an alloy usually made from copper and tin. Since I'd rather not waste my additive on foil hats or ratchet my threat level up to "Blackwatch Plaid," I'd like to know where I can get some reliable information on RFID tags. Most of the stuff I've bumped into seems to involve people wearing said hats, and I'm not too trusting of Wikipedia.

Some specific questions that come to mind:

Is it really illegal to remove them from tires?

Is it illegal to fry them?

From how far away can they really be read? (Of course, I doubt the whole "from orbit" stuff.)

Can you really interfere with RFIDs by wrapping them in aluminum foil? (Or should I just go ahead and wrap my head?)


Michael Bains said...

Well, since wrappin' yer head never hurt anything but the head-wrapper's love life, I'd say go for it.

Sorry, I got nothing on the RFID tags. Oh, except that they do indeed communicate via Geo-synch'd sattelites. It's how business does business now'a'days.

Bronze Dog said...

I'm fully aware of satelite communications, but it's my understanding that the satelite isn't doing the reading. It's a scanner on the ground that does it: If I took my car with RFID tires out into the country on my dad's private road, no one would be able to track me. I'd have to take a highway toll road and get scanned at the gate or something.

Of course, if the thought police wanted to track me, they could just put a lot of unseen scanners on the public roads.

Crystal said...

I've never heard of this technology, but it seems a lot like GPS tracking. If GPS is employed, then yes, your tires can be tracked anywhere at any time (unless weather conditions are bad b/c signals may be scrambled). A receiver/reader is set up someplace on earth, which receives data from a satellite that receives coordinates from the "tags." An example of this is the tracking feature that Onstar uses...

Bronze Dog said...

I believe the sort of RFIDs they'd put into tires would be passive ones: They're powered by radio waves from a scanner. The Snopes link I posted suggested that the range of those is about 3 feet, which would seem appropriate for credit card and barcode substitute roles. The commenter on Pharyngula who mentioned the tire RFIDs said they've been able to get the range up to 20 feet.

As for active RFID, well, I can certainly imagine one of those getting a much larger range.

Either way, I think they should be removable from products upon purchase.

Michael Bains said...

Then you'd need another excuse for the foil hat!

But really, the range is dependant upon the type of RFID tag. UPS (and other shippers) use station relays which their dispatchers pick up via sattelite. It's a size/energy use problem, as usual. The more they shrink the technology, the stronger the signal from a "tiny" device.

Scanners aren't going away soon though. That's for sure.