Tuesday, January 23, 2007

RFID Tattos

Caught this linked at Schneier. I agree with his statement that this is just stupid.
Somark Innovations announced this week that it successfully tested biocompatible RFID ink, which can be read through animal hairs. The passive RFID technology could be used to identify and track cows to reduce financial losses from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (mad cow disease) scares. Somark, which formed in 2005, is located at the Center for Emerging Technologies in St. Louis. The company is raising Series A equity financing and plans to license the technology to secondary markets, which could include laboratory animals, dogs, cats, prime cuts of meat, and military personnel.
Yep, military personnel. Tell me that this company isn't completely idiotic.
The ink also could be used to track and rescue soldiers, Pydynowski said.

"It could help identify friends or foes, prevent friendly fire, and help save soldiers' lives," he said. "It's a very scary proposition when you're dealing with humans, but with military personnel, we're talking about saving soldiers' lives and it may be something worthwhile."
Not thinking about how militaries work. Soldiers don't want a means to be tracked. If their own side can track them, so can the enemy. Might as well wear a big loud speaker broadcasting that you're there.

The best comes with comments at Schneier, that point out that it can only be read from 4 feet away.
If it's used to identify friend or foe, you're f**cked.

The range is 4 feet, as mentioned in the article.

Even if that range gets doubled or tripled with sensitive receivers or other technological improvements, you're still f**cked if your foe gets within 12 feet of you.

Even increased by an order of magnitude, 40 feet, how useful is it really going to be as an IFF system? Put 2 foes in a car, traveling at a mere 25 MPH, and 40 feet is still in the "You are dead" zone.

Maybe the person who proposed this should consider getting another job. One that requires less intelligence.

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