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Old 12-14-05, 03:04 PM   #1
BRC
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Curbing Bike Theft while Protecting Your Privacy

I am interested in gauging the cycling community's response to RFID technology. BikeRegistryCanada.com is looking to integrate this technology into its products and services. There are some privacy concerns with this technology.

Already many manufacturers of products, including bike makers like Pacific Cycle, are at the very least contemplating the idea of putting an RFID chip in all their bikes to track inventory, from the point manufacture to the point of sale. Does the cycling community want this in their bikes? Do we even have a choice? If abused this technology could allow large corporations and your government to track your every move. Where you shop, What you buy, Who and Where you visit, Where you spend your time and money. Already there is the EPIC code, which if enacted into law, would guarantee individual Privacy. From our point of view this technology is wonderful advancement in bicycle security and theft prevention--so long as privacy is ensured. We feel a balance can be struck, between security and protecting ones privacy and are endeavoring to achieve that.

WHAT ARE YOURE THOUGHTS???
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Old 12-14-05, 03:06 PM   #2
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Right now, RFID chips are fairly low power. They only broadcast a very short range.
I wouldn't worry about 'tracking' with this technology.

I see it as another way to 'engrave' your name on the inside of your frame.
It could be a good thing, or it could go bad. It all depends on the lawmakers.
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Old 12-23-05, 09:24 AM   #3
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Interestingly enough RFID tags could be a route taken by those who want to develop manadtory registration of bicycles and law enforcement mechanisms.

Any police force will tell you that the main inhibitor to enforcement of traffic laws on cyclists is the sheer scale of man power required and the lack of remote prosecution.

At present an officer wishing to pursue people jumping red lights would merely have to record the incident, submit the evidence to storage and send a penalty charge notice to the owner of the offending vehicle. The owner of the vehicle then has the choice to either accept the charges or transfer them to someone else. For a cyclist commiting the same offence the officer would have to physically apprehend them and issue a penalty to them.

RFID tags could change all of this. If mandatory registration of bicycles were to come into effect then the chances are that this would be practiced through use of RFID tags. Such tags could be treated in the same manner as license plate, in as much as it is up to the bicycle owner to ensure their accurate registration transferance in the event of a sale and that they are kept in operational order.

If such a practice were to take place it wouldn't be that much of a step to use the RFID technology to determine if a cyclists were riding in the wrong direction along a one-way street or running a red light. The owner of the bicycle would then be held liable.
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Old 12-23-05, 09:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Seldom Kill
Such tags could be treated in the same manner as license plate
The range of an RFID chip is extremely small. They are also have no internal power source, which makes them unable to transmit on their own. In order to activate and "read" and RFID chip, a scanner is used. The scanner can only activate the chip from a limited distance.

These are the same chips that have been used for years in pets. If a pet gets loose and animal control picks up the pet, they first scan the pet to see if they can identify the owener.

An RFID chip fulfills the same role as a bar code, except it can contain more information than a bar code can. In order for a cop to read an RFID tag in a bike, they would still have to stop the biker and scan the bike for the RFID tag.

For more information on how these work, see here:

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/smart-label.htm
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Old 12-23-05, 10:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaJohn
The range of an RFID chip is extremely small. They are also have no internal power source, which makes them unable to transmit on their own. In order to activate and "read" and RFID chip, a scanner is used. The scanner can only activate the chip from a limited distance.
From wikipedia (and subject to the relevant debates of veracity) emphasis mine.

Passive RFID tags have no internal power supply. The minute electrical current induced in the antenna by the incoming radio frequency signal provides just enough power for the CMOS integrated circuit (IC) in the tag to power up and transmit a response. Most passive tags signal by backscattering the carrier signal from the reader. This means that the aerial (antenna) has to be designed to both collect power from the incoming signal and also to transmit the outbound backscatter signal. The response of a passive RFID tag is not just an ID number (GUID): tag chip can contain nonvolatile EEPROM(Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) for storing data. Lack of an onboard power supply means that the device can be quite small: commercially available products exist that can be embedded under the skin. As of 2005, the smallest such devices commercially available measured 0.4 mm 0.4 mm, and is thinner than a sheet of paper; such devices are practically invisible. Passive tags have practical read distances ranging from about 2 mm (ISO 14443) up to about few metres (ISO 18000-6) depending on the chosen radio frequency.

If a couple of meters can be achieved then tracking across a set of lights would not be in any sense a difficult task. In fact the limited range works in the favour of the enforcement mechanism as it reduces the argument of misreading.
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Old 12-23-05, 11:31 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by The Seldom Kill
If a couple of meters can be achieved then tracking across a set of lights would not be in any sense a difficult task. In fact the limited range works in the favour of the enforcement mechanism as it reduces the argument of misreading.
I guess I am missing how you think the actual reading of the RFID would take place. If they are fixed sensors scattered throughout every intersection in a city, then you are correct, a couple of meters is adequate.

If, on the other hand, you are suggesting the cop has a reader in his hand (or car), then a couple of meters is not far enough. The scanner would have to be less than two bike-lengths away to read it. The hood of a police cruiser is a couple of meters long.

I know I can read a license plate from further away than a couple of meters. I just don't see how RFID could effectively replace a license-plate-type ID.
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Old 12-23-05, 01:08 PM   #7
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I don't think it's necessary. No level of technology will ever stop crime. The criminals just evolve with the technology. IMHO, this has more potential for abuse (considering the Orwellian direction the U.S. gov't is taking) than for doing any good. If I had an RFID chip in my bike, and it gets stolen, what good will that do? Is the buyer of a stolen bike going to go get it scanned? Seems like a feel-good measure to me. Don't get me wrong, I am a gadget/tech junkie to the core, but not when it involves potential future threats to privacy.

The only way I can see this being useful is if there are city-wide scanners checking for RFIDs flagged as "stolen", but if that's the case, then the non-stolen ones (and their owners) are potentially getting tracked as well. That creeps me out.
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Old 12-23-05, 06:34 PM   #8
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Would be useful for identifying stolen bikes when police recover them?
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Old 12-23-05, 07:14 PM   #9
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...when police recover them?
When they do what now?
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Old 12-23-05, 07:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by vegcrow
I don't think it's necessary. No level of technology will ever stop crime. The criminals just evolve with the technology. IMHO, this has more potential for abuse (considering the Orwellian direction the U.S. gov't is taking) than for doing any good. If I had an RFID chip in my bike, and it gets stolen, what good will that do? Is the buyer of a stolen bike going to go get it scanned? Seems like a feel-good measure to me. Don't get me wrong, I am a gadget/tech junkie to the core, but not when it involves potential future threats to privacy.

The only way I can see this being useful is if there are city-wide scanners checking for RFIDs flagged as "stolen", but if that's the case, then the non-stolen ones (and their owners) are potentially getting tracked as well. That creeps me out.

If that creeps you out you'll die when you read this:

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/tra...icle334686.ece
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Old 12-23-05, 08:04 PM   #11
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Wall-Mart requires their suppliers to use RFID, not on every item, but on every pallet. It's not a technology capable of sending data to big brother yet. If you all were really concerned with privacy you'd cut up your credit cards, start paying cash for all purchases, and live off the grid.
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Old 12-23-05, 08:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berg417448
If that creeps you out you'll die when you read this:

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/tra...icle334686.ece
Yet another reason to stop driving cars!
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