Smartwatches: Coming Soon to a Cosmos Near You

This is a column I did for the BBC World Service, broadcast this week.  There’s been a lot of talk that the big boys — by which I mean Apple and Samsung — are about to launch so-called smart watches. But how smart does a watch have to be before we start strapping them to …

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Computers: Right Back Where We Started

A lot of my time is spent writing for and talking to people for whom the computer remains a scary beast that is best kept at arm’s length, or, better, in a closet. I feel for these people because I’m not naturally a techie myself. I failed science and math in school and almost certainly …

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An End to the Anonymity of Trash?

Britain is quietly introducing RFID (Radio Frequency Identity) tags to rubbish bins (trash cans) in a bid to measure the individual waste of each household and charge them accordingly. Some Britons are up in arms about this, saying that households have not been informed and calling it an abuse of privacy. Is it? The UK’s …

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RFID — Ready For Imminent Destruction?

RFID (radio frequency ID) tags are soon going to be in everything. But do we really know what we’re letting ourselves in for? Last month some Dutch researchers said they had created a virus capable of infecting RFID tags, an assertion that was poo-pooed by quite a few security folk. The researchers said the virus …

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Cracking RFID With Your Phone

RFID tags and their security implications are returning to centre stage again. Adi Shamir, professor of computer science at the Weizmann Institute, has shown that it’s possible to crack passwords on RFID tags using a cellphone. In theory this could mean anyone with a cellphone could monitor traffic between a tag and a reader and …

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RFIDs And Shoplifters

Could RFID tags be used by shoplifters? Robert Lemos of CNET’s News.com writes from Las Vegas that a German technology consultant believes the Radio Frequency Identification tags “could be abused by hackers and tech-savvy shoplifters”. He quotes Lukas Grunwald, a senior consultant with DN-Systems Enterprise Internet Solutions GmbH, as telling a discussion at the Black …

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A Dream Of Intelligent Luggage Tags

Something I’ve long dreamt of: An intelligent luggage tag. Here’s a concept for a Bluetooth luggage tag that lights up when it’s in range of your Bluetooth gadget, helping you to identify it on the carousel. The Bluebird tag would contain additional information, so should it go astray the luggage could be returned to you. …

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Are Privacy Fears About RFID Tags Just Hype?

Reports that delegates to the World Summit on the Information Society conference in Geneva were unwittingly wearing RFID tags which could have tracked their movements, attendance at meetings or seminars, visits to the john etc etc has raised some debate about RFID (Radio Frequency ID), privacy, security and the rights of the individual to know …

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RFID Secretly Tags The Internet Summit

The Washington Times has an interesting piece about the the Internet and technology summit in Switzerland last week. Delegates, it says, were unknowingly bugged with RFID tags, according to researchers who attended the forum. RFID is Radio Frequency ID, which means the tags could have contained and given off all sorts of information, including the …

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News: RFID Tags’ Dirty Secret

 A story from Reuters that says one of the biggest hurdles facing RFID tags — the widgets that store information about products — is that they still aren’t very good. “The tags fall far below the 99 percent reliability rate of UPC tags because of the difficulty of transmitting clean radio signals,” the piece says. …

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