RFID: the REAL Story




So, you're wondering about RFID you say? You've read things about its goods and bads, and supposed "facts". Well, I'd like to tell you the REAL story on RFID, not just a bunch of misinformed mumbo-jumbo. If you are one of the people spreading misinformation about RFID, please read along, and share with your friends what you find. But please know, that I am only stating not only FACTS, but also my own opinion on RFID. Everyone has their own thoughts, and i respect yours, so please respect mine.

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Step 1: What Is RFID?

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification Device. Its a small coil/chip that can come in packages from tags, to small circles, even down to an 8x12mm chip. RFID chips are identified and read by a reciever, which then does whatever it's supposed to do when it reads that particular chip. It would be like me handing you a piece of paper with a 16-digit number on it, and noone has that same number. Very similar to a social security card.

Step 2: Myth 1: RFID Chips Can Be Tracked From Across the Room!!!!

Many RFID conspiracy theorists will tell you that an RFID chip can be read from across the room. This is true, however, they fail to mention that these are active RFID chips. Active RFID chips are similar to passive(the common kind), except that they require a battery, and are therefor much larger than passive chips.

Step 3: Myth 2: RFID Chips Will Contain All of Your Personal Information!!!

While it's true, RFID chips do store information, as I stated earlier, the only information they store is the particular identification number for that chip. So no, I'm sorry conspiracy theorists, RFID chips don't contain your financial and medical records for everyone to see.

Step 4: Myth 3: They Will Control Your Mind!!!

Hahahahaha!! This has to be one that makes me laugh the most. First of all, someone would have to figure out how to control someone's mind period. Then, for it to be practical, they would have to make it VERY small. And finally, it would have to be connected, at least, to your nervous system to have access to your brain. By the time that happens, there will be technology more advanced than RFID, at which point, I would probably start to get worried. But until then, I'm fine. "But you forgot to mention that your brain can be changed via waves of sound or energy!!!" says the conspiracy theorist living in a van down by the river(Chris Farley reference). Yes, your brain can be SLIGHTLY altered by changing your brainwaves with sound. And I will also admit that you could possibly get a clock, and another chip to fit on something small enough to fit ina needle to inject in someone in the next 10 years, but modifying brainwaves currently only works to a very dull effect; such as changing your mood(i.e. High, happy, mad, relaxed, etc.).

Well, thats really I've got for the moment. I do encourage anyone with any other facts(or myths) about RFID to say so in the comments. Ever notice how conspiracy theorists never show their sources? Please, show me your "proof" than any of these myths is true

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    33 Discussions

    sonic broom

    2 years ago

    Conspiracy theorists do not exist. There is sheep and non sheep.


    5 years ago on Step 4

    Great, well thought out "instructable" (RANT) from a 14 year old. It was already shown at defcon FIVE years ago (even BEFORE the lame rant was written) that RFID can and often DO pose a great security risk. Nobody EVER said they can "control your mind". I'm pretty sure you made that up in your own mind.

    When RFID chips are embedded in your car tires (like each one having it's very own SSI# rather you like it or not), it's a little scary. It's already been shown that the "fast pass" toll readers aren't the only places they're being read. They're also being used for "traffic control" (ie stalking purposes) all over the place.

    Imagine a world where Target is sending you spam for tons of baby shower stuff because they knew you were pregnant before your family did. Now, imagine TARGET gets HACKED and everyone else knows too. Guess what? ALREADY HAPPENED ;)

    Imagine schools where your forced to wear your RFID chip all day, every day so they they use them to monitor your every movement... even while you use the bathroom. ALREADY HAPPENING.

    Take a look around the place. RFID can and ARE being hacked like crazy. GO FIGURE! Anyone can pick up they're very own RFID reader for $30 bucks. People have been hacking them more than Rasberry Pi! And you don't HAVE to read them from across the room, just have one placed next to a doorway where everyone comes and goes. Eazy Peazy baby!

    Be sure to keep that PASSPORT of yours hidden, you crazy conspiracy theorists... everyone with their head in the sand is secure.

    Would kind of be common sense to see that having tracking devices attached to you all the time may be a slight invasion of privacy and serious security risk. Too bad there are so many people who lack common sense.

    So the REAL story is, this "inscrutable" was a complete and total FAIL on every level. The only thing it was trying to "instruct" readers to do was DUMMY UP and stick their heads in the sand when it came to their own privacy and security. It was all proven false before it was even written. It's even worse now.

    And I am being as "nice" as possible. I'm definitely being CONSTRUCTIVE. It's kind of like telling people to "not worry" about leaving their IDs on the dashboards of their cars with the doors unlocked. Only a "paranoid conspiracy theorist" would be worried about stuff like that! Like there's a "conspiracy" where people go around trying to steal your personal info and sell it for money or something!

    I mean, what reason would a company try to gather Intel on you? I can't figure it out and anyone who thinks they can must be paranoid or whatever...

    Read up on RFID. Educate yourself on the serious security risks of this developing tech and cover your own butt Just like putting a firewall or anitvirus on your PC, it's not "paranoia", it's just common sense.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    always the same story of conspiracy. haha mind control, very good joke.


    7 years ago on Step 2

    ok.....your wrong thats just an attiny with an rf transmitter so basically it has a receiveing pair ...and it cannot be worked out with rfid reader!!!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    so let me get this straight,you have a monopoly on 'THE TRUTH' and everyone else is a whacky 'conspiracy theorist' Hmmmm some how I'm not at all convinced.Sorry.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    RFID labels are really a fourth dimention gate. They call the aliens to come and conquer the planet and raping our mothers, sisters and daughters (maybe we men receive some too)

    2 replies

    8 years ago on Step 4

    Very well said! I could not agree with you more!These conspiracy theorists have their facts all mixed up and like to stirr up things that is non existing.Thanks for the info.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    sorry but which 'conspiracy theorist' say this?I've never heard anyone come out with the rather paranoid scenarios that the author listed and why all of a sudden does anything certain people believe in become a 'conspiracy theory' as if just uttering that vastly over used miss understood phrase somehow proves a point, it does not. I have however read about real concerns people have about rfid which are indeed fact. they are potentially incredibly open for miss use by a state against its people,why do you have a problem admitting that fact? Whats your agenda?


    8 years ago on Step 4

    At least a Conspiracy Theorist Thinks that there's a possibility that there could be a conspiracy going on.

    Those 'Anti-Conspiracy Theorists' meanwhile do n't bother to think at all.

    They just accept whatever bullshit the powers that be put in front of them.
    Talk about 'mind control'. You don't need it with people like this.

    They do n't have 'minds' to control.( That is unless they Are already being controlled.)

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    For a conspiracy theory to have any weight, it shouldn't be based on ignorance.  But then, what exactly is the RFID conspiracy?

    Unless you are some ultraparanoid cash-only baseball-cap-in-public type person, you are already pretty easy to track, with or without rfid.

    On the off chance that you run into someone who is siphoning rfid's, they have no way of knowing what the particular id is used for.  They have a number, but won't be able to tell if it's for a lock, a credit card, or just a pair of shoes.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 4

    You can RFID all day long. It is only a problem when you live with it as a cash system. You will be tagged to whatever "value" system the rulers of you choose. You might as well have chains on your ankles. Although a digital slave chain would be more convenient than actual shackles. Depends on how you look at it.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Anyone who doubts the sincerity of world business & government (esp. defense) in using RFID technology should just go to this site:

    http://www.rfidglobalsolution.com/ (They're so SMUG! )
    And read the piece entitled: "Prison RFID Study Finds Planning Is Critical" By Claire Swedberg.

    Here's a delightful excerpt: "Sept. 13, 2010—A study conducted by nonprofit research organization RAND Corp [emphasis mine-sound familiar?]. has found that RFID deployments in correctional facilities require considerable customization to each prison's unique needs and infrastructure.

    According to the report, failure to properly anticipate infrastructure installation challenges, as well as the need for proper funding and training for staff members, can delay installations or render the system ineffective. The study, titled "Tracking Inmates and Locating Staff with Active Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID): Early Lessons Learned in One U.S. Correctional Facility," was conducted by the RAND Corp., with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) division.

    Researchers took a two-pronged approach: determining how many RFID installations were actually in use in U.S. prisons, and studying the installation process in one correctional institution. "

    There was mention in the subtitle of "controlling inmate violence"...wonder HOW? (they track tasers with RFID's in the UK).

    For the rest: here's the totally innocuous link by those whacko conspiracy the--uh, er...by the people who MAKE the damned things!



    8 years ago on Introduction

    Whilst what you say is true, you've left a lot of detail out.

    "Standard" passive RFID is very short range, but various people have demonstrated that with a powerful RF field and a high quality receiver/antenna combination they can be read over considerably greater distances. The last time I looked the record was 3 or 4 metres, although this was in laboratory conditions. It's worth remembering that the reason most, if not all, commercial RFID readers only work over short ranges is because they're built down to a price, and a few centimeters is plenty for passive applications (EPOS, stock control, etc.). They can do better in the right circumstances.

    Yes, RFID chips only carry a unique number. Your social security number is similar, as is your credit card number, as is the electronic lock that you open by waving an RFID chip near it. What is far more important is what that number is keyed to. If it's on a sock, did you pay for that sock with a credit card? If so that could allow a black hat to find out all about you. It will allow the forces of law and order to find out all about you. Is it a pass card for a transit system? If it's read and a copy made, someone gets to ride around at your expense. This happened in London, UK (my home town), and they had to replace all the cards (google for: +TfL +"oyster card") at considerable expense, although you might reasonably argue that this isn't standard RFID - It just appears to be.

    In practice, you don't need to read these things from very far away. The Oyster card scam was apparently just took advantage of the fact that London's underground system is packed to the gunnels during the rush hour (think Tokyo), and it's normal to be in intimate contact with the 3 or 4 people standing around you. Close enough is good enough.

    None of these things may concern you, but they are provenly possible, and actually seem to be a favorite prank in American Universities. It seems to me that it's unwise to play down the potential dangers. The London Underground customer who's in intimate contact with dozens of strangers every day has a very different risk profile from someone living in a rural community. The devil is in the detail.

    You may find this interesting:


    It describes a formal technique for identifying people, stratified by the nature of the information available about them. Perhaps you should ask yourself where the random unique number in an RFID chip could lead? And could this be detrimental to the card holder?

    Before anyone asks, I do have a metallic credit card holder. Faraday cages aren't illegal (in the UK, at least) and it removes the potential problems at a stroke. I do not own an aluminum beanie hat, and never have :).

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I do see, and understand the potential for RFID to be a dangerous thing, once it's widely spread. But that's the thing. Currently, it's not widely spread. If you were to pick 100 random people out of the general population, I would guess about 20 of them would even have ever heard of, much less understand, RFID. However, when the time comes that RFID-implemented devices become as common as iPods, then I do think we will have to worry about security. But as the potential danger of them becomes a more popular idea, people will start to develop more measures to counteract this danger. It's already happening with credit/debit cards. A person could potentially read a credit card through a normal wallet. People aware of, and sincerely concerned with this danger take precautions against it(Like I assume you do, with your metallic card holder-I have one too). Theoretically, wouldn't it be possible to shield a RFID tag with some sort of signal-scrambling device? I.e., it broadcasts a number of "dummy" serials with the same format as an RFID card to confuse a reader.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    A faraday cage is ideal - They cannot be detected through one. Another way is, reputedly, to carry a few dozen around with you to confuse readers, although better readers might get around that problem.

    The latter approach comes out of a paranoid concern that "The Man" will want to track us by the large number of RFID chips we will all be carrying around, attached to our clothes and similar. The idea is that everyone exchanges chips randomly with strangers - Imagine a bowl in every bar into which every customer empties their chips, stirs it around, then grabs a random handful. This would have the theoretical advantage of polluting any database used for tracking people, rendering it useless. Well, maybe. I'm not that paranoid yet...

    A lot of UK refuse bins have RFID chips in them to allow people to be charged according to the weight of rubbish they generate. This is hugely unpopular, but is easily defeated with one of those mini-EMP generators that you can build with a disposable camera. Given that these bins (we call them "wheelie bins" because they, err, have wheels?) cost around 100 UKP, and the chips aren't replaceable, judging by the one in my drive. A recipe for trouble, if ever I saw one. :)

    The time to worry, of course, is when they start to forcibly inject them into people. Fortunately this would probably be a massive vote loser, so is unlikely to happen in real life. In my opinion, of course.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I agree completely. If it ever does come to a point where we probably should all get some form of RFID identification, but it's not required, I'd still be ok with that. However, the second they are being mandated, I think A LOT of people will flat out revolt. In the disarray, other countries will see that country as weak, and will either step in to help, or attack. Generally not a good idea to force very much onto people.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    some do carry your med info my wife is a nurse and had to take a class for the hospital she works in but thei is a different kind of chip . ther the size of a grain of sand and they are injected under the skin their is the same kind that are used for dogs and cats for knowing who the owner is like when you adopt a anamul now ther all given this chip for incase ther lossed some major cities are testing a system that can track them through cell towers. i am not stating this as a theroyiest this is a fact some areas in NY as well as LA. san francisco as well.it is a good thing if not abused but the facts remain all things are abused in some way or another all i know is i will never get one even if it is for med records we pay anough for the medical treatment ther record keepers can earn ther pay as far as i'm concerned sorry to rant.

    1 reply