Friday, December 15, 2006

RFID Chips and Privacy

Security guru Bruce Schneier, whom I've often cited in the past, has a very interesting piece in his latest Crypto-Gram, about the new Nike - IPod Sport Kit, which allows a transmitter in your sneaker to upload information to your IPod. The trouble is, of course, a complete lack of security: the transmitter can be read up to 60 feet away, using about $250 worth of off-the-shelf components.

Schneier's conclusion? [Emphasis added]

To me, the real significance of this work is how easy it was. The people who designed the Nike+iPod system put zero thought into security and privacy issues. Unless we enact some sort of broad law requiring companies to add security into these sorts of systems, companies will continue to produce devices that erode our privacy through new technologies. Not on purpose, not because they're evil -- just because it's easier to ignore the externality than to worry about it.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if you're concerned about safety, privacy, and security, you should read his newsletter regularly (it's free, too).

He also links to one of Rich Tennant's The Fifth Wave cartoons (if the name's not familiar, his work graced most of the "... For Dummies" books). The panel zings the TSA... go take a peek.

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