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March 29, 2007

VeriChip Haiku

CASPIAN member Joan Churton was inspired to write the following haiku about the VeriChip.

    VeriChip - a word
a lost moment in a life
    control achieved

      - Joan Marie Churton

- Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 6:50 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2007

The New RFID Passport

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Get a load of the new RFID-tagged passports -- and read the weird Lyndon B. Johnson quote the State Department chose to print on pages 20-21. (Click here for a larger version.) It's bad enough that the new passports contain spychips and a warning to be careful with the "sensitive electronics" they contain, but the inclusion of a presidential New World Order quote is beyond the pale. (Thanks to CASPIAN member Mike W. for sending these.)

-Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 3:42 PM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2007

JOLT poster.jpg

Folks in Richmond, Virginia, should consider stopping by for the Richmond Journal of Law and Technology symposium on RFID this Friday. The event is free and offers 4 Virginia CLE credits. For details and registration information see: http://law.richmond.edu/jolt/rfid/index.asp

- Liz McIntyre

Posted by liz at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2007

Tommy Thompson Leaves Board of VeriChip Corporation


Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson has left the board of VeriChip Corporation, marketer of glass encapsulated RFID tags for humans. The company quietly made the disclosure in its mandatory Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission a few days ago:

"Effective March 8, 2007, Tommy G. Thompson, an independent member of the Board of Directors of VeriChip Corporation (the “Company”), submitted a letter to the Company expressing his interest in taking a leave of absence from the Board of Directors in order to devote his full time and efforts to running for President of the United States. As a leave of absence would have left the Company without a full board to address matters of corporate governance, Mr. Thompson resigned as a Director effective as of that date."

See: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1347022/000136231007000256/c70266e8vk.htm

Did Thompson really just want a leave of absence? Did VeriChip cut Thompson loose because he has wisely avoided getting chipped despite a promise to do so nearly two years ago? The carefully crafted statement for public consumption begs many questions.

What do you think?

- Liz McIntyre

Posted by liz at 3:51 PM | Comments (5)

March 18, 2007

AIM Global comes clean on RFID


AIM Global, the international standards body whose membership roster reads like a who's who of RFID tagging, "smart" chipping, bar coding, electronic article surveillance, etc. usually has only good things to say about RFID, no matter how much of a stretch it takes.

However, this week they did something different, and let RFID have it with both barrels. (Well, at least compared to their usual cheerleading.) Bert Moore, the editor of their "RFID Connections" newsletter, writes:

RFID: "Et tu, Brute?" -- Killing Some RFID "Truths"

...it seems appropriate to try to "kill" some widely held "truths" about RFID. Since "RFID Connections" tends to explain the benefits of RFID, this may be seen as "traitorous" -- but it needs to be done "for the good of the industry." Because telling the truth about RFID is the true purpose of this e-newsletter.

Myth 1: RFID has "matured." Untrue
Myth 2: Data on RFID tags/cards is secure. Untrue.
Myth 3: RFID poses no threat to privacy. Untrue.
Myth 4: RFID prevents counterfeiting. Untrue.
Myth 5: RFID is non-line-of-sight readable. Misleading.
Myth 6: RFID tags cannot be counterfeited. Half truth.

It's refreshing to see a member of the industry come clean and finally start acknowledging what we've been saying all along. RFID is insecure, ineffective, and bad for privacy.

-Katherine Albrecht


Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 5:11 AM | Comments (0)

EU to let RFID industry regulate itself


This is European Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding. She just announced that the EU will not protect consumers from hidden RFID tags by requiring business to say when and where they're using RFID. Instead, the EU will allow businesses to regulate themselves.

Sounds like they're taking a page straight from the U.S. playbook. (And we all know how well industry self-regulation works here.)

Here are a few news excerpts to give you indigestion:

From the International Herald Tribune:

"I know that most of you are wondering what new regulation I am going to propose today," said Viviane Reding, the European commissioner responsible for Internet and communications, at a news conference at the Cebit technology convention in Hannover. "Well, today I am here to tell you that on RFIDs, there is not going to be a regulation," she said, referring to radio frequency identification tags.
From New Europe:

Speaking on the opening day of the Cebit trade fair in Germany, [EU Commissioner Viviane Reding] said Brussels believed there should be as little regulation as possible, and had no plans for laws to limit RFID (radio frequency identification) tags...Reding said the EU could wait till next year to review whether regulation was needed and would consider consumer concerns. “My view is that we should under-regulate rather than over-regulate so that this sector can take off,” she said.
At least one American official is "relieved," according to theInternational Herald Tribune (also cited above):

Robert Cresanti, a U.S. under secretary of commerce for technology who met with Reding at Cebit, said he was relieved that the European Commission was not going to regulate RFIDs, which he said would have slowed their diffusion and added costs.

"No regulation, in my point of view, is a victory," he said.

In the United States, RFID use is largely unencumbered by national and state law, and the chips must only respect restrictions on dissemination of health and financial data, Cresanti said. "In the EU, there is a broader privacy protection, and our concern was that existing laws could have been used to the detriment of RFID technology," he said.

But they won't be.
I don't think the public won this round, Europe.

- Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 2:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2007

SupplyChainDigest: "CASPIAN can't be ignored"

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SupplyChainDigest warns "CASPIAN can't be ignored" in an editorial about our meeting with top executives at American Express.

Dr. Katherine Albrecht and I met with American Express recently to discuss one of its more troublesome patent applications titled "Method and System for Facilitating a Shopping Experience." The company's filing lays out a Minority Report style blueprint for monitoring consumers through RFID-enabled objects, like the American Express Blue Card.

One outcome of the meeting was a promise by American Express to review its entire patent portfolio and ensure that any people-tracking plans be accompanied by language requiring consumer notice and consent. The company also promised to make a chip-free version of its card available to consumers who request it.


SupplyChainDigest, a publication geared to supply chain and logistics personnel, sums up the impact of our patent revelation and meeting: "CASPIAN can’t be ignored. The Amex patent filing that was the catalyst for CASPIAN’s concerns does show just how far RFID and related wireless sensor technology can go in terms of real-time tracking at an individual level."

Read the entire SupplyChainDigest editorial analysis here: http://www.scdigest.com/assets/newsViews/07-03-15-1.cfm

- Liz McIntyre

Posted by liz at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)