back to article State bill would turn RFID researchers into felons

The sponsor of a controversial bill before the Nevada legislature has promised to introduce amendments after security experts and civil libertarians warned it would make felons of people studying privacy threats involving RFID, or radio frequency identification. In its present form, Senate Bill 125 (PDF) would make it a felony …


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  1. raving angry loony

    lies, more lies.

    Of COURSE they want to make it a felony to show that the manufacturers are nothing more than lying scum. I wonder how much the RFID industry paid to have this measure included?

  2. Ira Victor

    RFID Hearing Information

    The hearing SB125, in the Nevada State Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled for the first part of the morning, 9AM Pacific Time, Monday, Feb 23rd, 2009. If anyone reading this from Nevada would like a contact about attending the hearing in person, or via video conference, or testifying on this bill in person or via video conference, please send a message here:

  3. nick

    I feel safe now...

    I feel much safer knowing there are laws out there that will protect my personal RFID. No one would dare skim RFID info now that it's a felony. Just like I feel safe leaving a box by the trash labeled "Old banking statements." I trust the law to protect me from others opening that box and using the information for illicit gains.

    WTF? So they want to implement a flawed technology and want to make it secure by passing ridiculous laws that only law abiding U.S. citizens follow? Can't any of them see the glaring holes in this?

    So what if I travel overseas. Someone there could skim my RFID passport, clone it and make it look like I flew back to the states 10 times all on the same flight. Now when I really come back, will they have it flagged to have me detained?

    If I ever get one of those passports it'll have to meet my friend, the ball peen hammer. Just like my bank card did. I wonder if you can fry them with a tazer?

  4. David Eddleman

    Re: loony

    Imagine how much shit the owners of hotels & casinos will give them if large events like Defcon and the Black Hat Conference move to another state due to this law.

  5. Remy Redert


    Why the physical violence? Just put them in the microwave with the microwave on high for a minute or two.

    Make sure to include a bowl of water or some such to soak up the excess radiation, don't want to risk damaging the microwave after all.

  6. P. Lee
    Paris Hilton

    Take THAT identity theives!

    Fraud is now illegal, you won't dare commit it now, will you!

    All those years you've been getting away with it, but NO LONGER!

    Oh wait...


    Paris: does she make more money out of showmanship than legislators?

  7. frymaster

    I honestly don't see what the fuss is about

    Researchers in other fields have to gain consent before proceeding. This law doesn't stop them looking at their own passports, it doesn't stop them buying an RFID underground card and researching it, it doesn't even stop them standing on a street corner and extracting personal-identity-free aggragate statistics (for testing the scale/scope of vulnerabilities)

  8. Anton Ivanov

    Re: I feel safe now...

    Both of my kids have RFID passports (they are the default in the UK now). All it takes to secure them is to put foil in protective backing. 2 min job. It annoys HMG border controls a bit because they now have to open it and skim it properly, but hey, they are there to do a job and they are supposed to look inside anyway.

    So just move the tinfoil hat off your head and onto your passport.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The correct method?

    Isn't the correct method to handle an rfid-card, to run it, with a glass of water on top, for 30 seconds in a microwave oven?

  10. kevin biswas
    Thumb Up

    Security through Obscurity

    Except the obscurity is enforced by law....

  11. Dave Bell

    What is personal data?

    Just the serial number of a passport could count as personal data, under certain laws,so I'm not sure that you could research "live" RFID tagging without collecting personal data.

    The chances of catching a crook seem pretty thin--much easier to turn up and grab the guy on stage with the electronics. And we don't know what new tech the law might encompass.

    Better not piss off your professor, though. How do you prove you're a reseracher?

  12. Secretgeek

    They won't get my ID!

    Cos I'm too scared to go out of the house what with all the 'malevolent entities' on the radio frequencies.

    Mines the beige overalls thanks.

  13. Peyton


    If someone shoots me dead then, no, it doesn't do me any good that such a thing is "illegal" - but I'm still glad that there will be grounds for my attacker to be prosecuted under. There are also people who view something not be illegal as being legitimized. sheesh

  14. Anonymous Coward

    let's just pass more laws

    solved now, inint?

  15. Andy Bright


    I would pretty much guarantee that even if this law had made it onto the books, it wouldn't have lasted a week if someone called a hotel owner or two and let them know a major conference is considering changing venues because of it.

    This is why I love Vegas. You can drink, smoke and fuck to your heart's content, but what you can't do is annoy another customer or upset the owner of a casino. All you have to do is keep spending your money and the casinos will be happy to provide you whatever you require.

    Anyone that objects to drinking, smoking, fucking and gambling is probably someone that doesn't spend money in casinos. Therefore they aren't welcome and neither is their opinion. The only thing that surprises me is there isn't a law that deports such people across state lines as soon as they're discovered.

    No skimming passports? My guess is this bill started as something to make sure tourists weren't afraid of coming and spending their money in Vegas. There was almost certainly no moralistic motive behind it. As soon as he found out it might affect the profit margin of his casino owners, the politician responsible fixed it. If only all politicians were kept on such a tight leash. Oh wait.. they are.

  16. BioTube

    Secure passport design

    1) All pasports should come with EM-blocking material built into the lining.

    2) The transmitter and data storage unit should be separate and the connection set up to where the passport must be opened more than 160 degrees or so before the data can be read.

    3) If at all possible, LEDs should be embedded in the inner part and power from the reader sent to them _before_ the transmitter(perhaps by routing power through the lights and then to the data chip). This means that a decent amount of power will be needed to read the passport and the carrier will be alerted, since the passport must be opened to be read, as per above; it might even make the passports require specialized tools to read if the lights add noise to the signal. Plus, it'd look cool.

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