Zapper Detects, Destroys
Unwanted RFID Chips
Why Not.net | April 4, 2005
US-based West End Laboratories, the research arm of LDC Security, has developed a special RFID tag zapper designed to kill the RFID chip preventing readers from performing unwanted scanning and tracking of people or goods.
According to the company, because information stored on RFID tags can be read by anyone, they may pose privacy threats to customers when deployed in retail environments, and have already triggered a wave of consumer outcry.
"In a naive, RFID-enabled world without technical forethought, there is risk that sensitive information could be visible in secret to anyone with an RFID reader," said Le Derec Caden, director and chief scientist with West End Laboratories in the US.
"Moreover, the unique serial numbers emitted by RFID tags could be used to track people and objects surreptitiously. For businesses too, RFID introduces new privacy and security risks - and a whole new dimension to corporate espionage. These concerns have motivated our scientists to work on a new generation of technical solutions that match these challenges." Phil Devenport
Rfid disable: tagzapper! The TagZapper is being developed to be a light weight, handheld, device for deactivating RFID transmitting devices. This is intended to fulfill consumer demand for a means to protect their... http:// www.tagzapper.com
RFID TAg Zapper (Privacy Jammer)
RFID tags are tiny radio responders that can be attached to anything for inventory, theft prevention and other purposes. They work in the same manner as devices like "EZPass" and "SpeedPass" that allow you pay tolls and buy gasoline without any interaction. A radio signal transmitted nearby provides the energy, and the transponder responds by echoing out a serial number in a radio response. The miniature tag versions are just now starting to work their way into the economy. Recently Michelin announced that soon every tire they make will have an RFID tag, and Gillette signed a contract to buy millions of the tags.
Many people fear that with little automated inventory tags on everything, our privacy could be invaded in new and insidious ways. The theory is that you could be surreptitiously scanned in many public places, and the RFID codes from your clothing and personal belongings could be used to track you. Some stores have promised to erase the tags somehow at the checkout so they cannot be used that way, but how can we be sure?
Regardless of whether this fear is valid, its very existence creates a market for mitigation products. The Tagzapper is a handheld device that can attack the RFID and render it usless.
The Taggzapper may switch the transmitter into a high power mode, to zap any tags you can not remove from the products in a way that makes them non-functional. This is like the tag erasers that the vendors claim they will install at the checkout, but controlled by you of course.