Another failure of media skepticism in the news–the mysterious Canadian spy coins.
“On at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006, cleared defense contractors’ employees traveling through Canada have discovered radio frequency transmitters embedded in Canadian coins placed on their persons,” reads the brief explanation in the U.S. Defense Security Report.”
This story was covered widely in both print and online media. However, an official statement from the military now says the story was a fake. But…almost immediately after the story’s initial release, a variety of electronics experts said the spy coins–which were supposedly tagged with a RFID chip–would not be able to work.
Would a better understanding of how the chips work have led to more skepticism by the media? Do you know what a RFID chip is?
If you don’t, you might want to spend some time learning more. They’re here, and you should know how they work. Especially if you are a US Citizen, or someone with one of those “SmartCard” credit or gas cards.
RFID has a lot of legitimate and useful purposes. Who wouldn’t be in favor of a chip for firefighters that would help locate them if they are lost in a burning building? Or chips to prevent library book theft?
But, as a person who is mildly obsessed with privacy (Okay, other than posting pictures of my boobs online), I like to know who has my info, and what they are doing with it.
Your best bet, just like with pseudo-scientific topics, is to inform yourself. We are surrounded by electronic devices and technology. We also are surrounded by a small number of people with bad intentions. They’d like your money–either by scamming you as a phone psychic, or downloading all the info on your old phone.
Do you know how your electronics work? Do you know how to protect your identity?
Oh, and the tin foil? Here’s how to use it to block transmission from your passport or smart credit card.