FoeBuD e.V.  ·  Marktstraße 18  ·  D-33602 Bielefeld
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One of the people I was lucky enough to meet at OSCON was legendary PHP hacker Zak Greant, who had lunch with Arjen and myself after the conference close on Friday. I'd just done my "Making Things Move" talk which included a demo of reading the RFID tag in my arm using common scripting languages, and Zak had a prototype of a groovy little RFID detector badge produced by German group FoeBuD so we quickly got to talking about RFID and privacy.

FoeBuD are strongly opposed to the proliferation of RFID due to the privacy issues, so they've created an impressively simple RFID detector that consists of a sum total of 3 surface-mount parts (plus the coil itself on the PCB makes 4) and which lights up to warn you when you're being scanned by an RFID reader. The idea is to wear it around and see how often you're being subjected to scans in everyday situations such as shopping centers, petrol stations, etc, and since the badge happens to be bright red and say "STOP RFID" in huge letters it's a bit of an attention-grabber too.

So while we were sitting at lunch Zak and I tried to use one of my home-made RFID readers to trigger the detector, but without success. I assume the detector is designed to operate with the high-frequency (HF) tags typically used in supply-chain systems, while my reader is a 134.2KHz low-frequency device for reading implantable tags. Damn. Zak was kind enough to give me the prototype though, so I'll have to take it shopping and see if I can find a store that uses readers that trigger it.

Jonathan Oxer

oxer Jonathan Oxer, Australia, 14. August 2006

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