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The Almighty Buck Technology

RFID Tags in Euro Banknotes 481

Posted by michael
from the mugger's-delight dept.
psychictv writes "CNET News.com is reporting that Euro notes could be embedded with RFID tags in the future. 'RFID (radio frequency identification) tags also have the ability of recording information such as details of the transactions the paper note has been involved in...'" The EU has been considering this for a while. You'll never even know they're there.
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RFID Tags in Euro Banknotes

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  • New mugging tool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maddogsparky (202296) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:41AM (#6024165)
    Great. Now muggers and pick pockets will be able to use technology to identify prime targets.

    • Re:New mugging tool (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KDan (90353) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:45AM (#6024207) Homepage
      Yeah but a rfid-reader wallet connected to the net could report that you've been mugged immediately and 'deactivate' all those notes, making the mugging pointless (the money stops working in all rfid-aware connected cash registers)...

      Daniel
      • Or a 'joke' RFID-reader that will report random rfid numbers as stolen...

      • Re:New mugging tool (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Surak (18578) * <surak@maCOFFEEil ... m minus caffeine> on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:16PM (#6024586) Homepage Journal
        I doubt it. The problem is that -- first off -- cash is a bearer instrument. That means it's legal tender for anybody that possesses it. You don't 'own' any of the cash in your pocket, the government does. So you have no legal right to deactivate the money. Burning cash or defacing it it anyway is a violation of federal law in most countries, including the U.S. (it's called 'destruction of government property').

        Anyway, if that worked, there would be nothing to stop anybody from giving someone 'deactivated' bills especially since not everyone walks around with an RFID reader, nor is it likely that everyone will have one anytime soon. Then you just bought something using money that's basically worthless, at least at places that have RFID readers.

        • Re:New mugging tool (Score:5, Informative)

          by Ozan (176854) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:39PM (#6024795) Homepage
          You don't 'own' any of the cash in your pocket, the government does. So you have no legal right to deactivate the money.

          In the EU you own the money which means it becomes your property.

          Burning cash or defacing it it anyway is a violation of federal law in most countries.

          Not in the EU. You can do whatever you want with it, if it makes you happy. Of course, if you destroy it you might have other problems than with the law.
      • by JonTurner (178845) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:25PM (#6024686) Journal
        "...the net could report that you've been mugged immediately and 'deactivate' all those notes..."
        and no doubt make an appropriate entry into your Total Information Awareness database file.
        Or, to look at it from the other angle, if you are engaged in any "suspicious" behavior, what's to stop the TIA/Dept of Homeland Security system from deactivating your money?

        I don't like this one bit. Nosir.
    • by BrookHarty (9119) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:47AM (#6024241) Homepage Journal
      Hey, same with salesmen! Goto the customers with large amounts of cash first. At casinos, they could tell who the high rollers are.

      Hey, while we are at it, lets put it on scanners at our stores, and we can detect if employees are leaving with more money than they came to work with.

      • by Feztaa (633745) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:59AM (#6024386) Homepage
        we can detect if employees are leaving with more money than they came to work with

        Isn't that the whole point of working? To go home with more money than you started with?
      • Yeah, first think I thought about was the casinos....

        From reading about the MIT people who counted cards against Vegas years ago, where they strapped large amounts of cash to themselves to stake them....I'm wondering if they'll put up recievers at the airports to check for large amounts of cash being transported....?? Great, then, you need to prove your NOT a drug dealer...etc.

        So much for paying in cash to remain anonymous.....

      • If anyone knows how much money you have when you're in their building, it's the casinos.
    • Now muggers and pick pockets will be able to use technology to identify prime targets.

      Assuming the victim reports the theft the next time the mugger buys something the police can pick him up on the way out of the store.
    • War-Mugging??? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Jonas (623192)
      Kinda like War-Driving but with a "Step 3: Profit!" Another good reason for me to stick to using my Debit Card for most transactions, but there's DARPA's Total Info Awareness project. I guess if we are made to be too paranoid to carry/use cash then all our non-cash transactions are more easily tied-in to us and trackable.
  • by jonbrewer (11894) * on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:42AM (#6024175) Homepage
    "RFID (radio frequency identification) tags also have the ability of recording information such as details of the transactions the paper note has been involved in."

    I think you'd be hard pressed to find an RFID tag that could record transaction information inside a bill. You'd need an external device to do the recording.
    • by BoomerSooner (308737) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:47AM (#6024246) Homepage Journal
      "RFID (radio frequency identification) tags also have the ability of enabling recording information such as details of the transactions the paper note has been involved in."

      They just missed a word.
      • Yah, that makes better sense. Although, I still wonder, if the bill's RFID is inactive, is it no good?


        If RFID tags were "required" in order to pass the bills as legal tender, then I imagine that anybody who had a defective one would have to exchange it at the bank, just as if it had been torn in half. You wouldn't lose the money, but you couldn't perform untraceable transactions, either.

    • According to the article, "Data can only be written on the chip's ROM during production, and not after it is out "in the wild". However, bank databases could, in theory at least, record bill serial numbers along with the transactions they were in.
    • Actually.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by CausticWindow (632215) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:51AM (#6024295)

      You can get rfid tags with storage capability. Think you can get tags with about 4kb of storage right now.

      Check the faq [aimglobal.org] at rfid.org

    • The currency is run through a machine that sends it data. Bluetooth?
      I like the "let's not think this through" approach of the article:

      "The main objective is to determine the authenticity of money and to stop counterfeits," Frost and Sullivan analyst Prianka Chopra said in a report published in March.

      While anonymity clearly opens doors to illegality, is it really a bug? What about the features of POD money?
      Yes, you're going to get tracking data on all manner of 'shadow' transactions...or are you?
      Ho

  • Nice. (Score:3, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:42AM (#6024179) Homepage Journal

    Now people in the EU will know who to sue when they get testicular cancer from all the Euros in their front pockets.
    • You could probably specify men there, not a lot of women with testicular cancer in the world.
    • Re:Nice. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RobinH (124750) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:13PM (#6024547) Homepage
      Now people in the EU will know who to sue when they get testicular cancer from all the Euros in their front pockets.

      RFID chips are passive devices that respond when a reader transmits a certain RF code. The RFID chip uses the energy from the "ether" to respond. If anything, an RFID will absorb a small amount of radiation and convert it to heat, not the other way around.

      You'll probably get cancer from having a cell phone strapped to your waist long before you get it from an RFID chip.
  • Robberies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KDan (90353) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:43AM (#6024180) Homepage
    That would make robberies pretty pointless. If your cash register knows what money is in it, you can press the button to say "it was all stolen" and then no other connected cash register will accept that money anymore unless you get it authenticated by the police or whatever... I can see many massive misuses, but there's also a lot of potential good uses...

    Daniel
  • by aug24 (38229) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:43AM (#6024181) Homepage
    According to this doo-hickey here, you've got money in your shoe too...
  • They'll never notice that you've taken them out.

    Micrrowave your cash today!
  • Must... make... RFID... writer...
  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Waab (620192) * on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:44AM (#6024199) Homepage

    "RFID tags also have the ability of recording information such as details of the transactions the paper note has been involved in.

    Wonderful. Now how am I supposed to buy porn? Can't use credit card, it gets tracked. Can't use cash, it gets tracked. And with the price of porn these days, who's strong enough to haul around that much change?

    • by sczimme (603413) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:12PM (#6024539)

      If you buy that much pr0n, I bet you have at least one arm strong enough to carry the change.

      :-)
    • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RobinH (124750) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:20PM (#6024640) Homepage
      Wonderful. Now how am I supposed to buy porn? Can't use credit card, it gets tracked. Can't use cash, it gets tracked. And with the price of porn these days, who's strong enough to haul around that much change?

      Why are you buying something that you're ashamed to admit you buy?

      I guess it's just me, but I have no problem going into an Adults Only Video and renting a porn in broad daylight, or buying a porno mag off the magazine rack at my local store. I also have no problem walking into a drug store to buy condoms, pregnancy tests, etc. If the clerk gives me a strange look, I just wink at her.

      Don't get me wrong, I don't parade it around the store for all the little kids to see, but I'm certainly not ashamed to buy it.

      Having travelled various parts of Europe, I also don't think most Europeans would be that worried about being "tracked" buying porn either. They're a lot more open with the idea of sexuality over there.
      • Re:Great... (Score:4, Funny)

        by Tackhead (54550) on Friday May 23, 2003 @02:21PM (#6025738)
        > I guess it's just me, but I have no problem going into an Adults Only Video and renting a porn in broad daylight, or buying a porno mag off the magazine rack at my local store.

        I'm missing something here. What's this "store" thing of which you speak, and while I'm at it, why does money have to change hands for something as ubiquitous as pr0n?

        It just sounds like a more time-consuming and expensive way to solve a problem Al Gore solved 20 years ago by taking the initiative in inventing the Internet.

  • by rnelsonee (98732) * on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:44AM (#6024200)
    Since we all know portable RFID readers will become available commerically, what's to stop a thief from carrying around his reader and then summing up how much people in the street have in their wallets? Just wait around late at night, wait for some woman to walk by with $300, and then just rob her? I'd bet there would be more muggings if the average pay went from $40 to a few hundred...
    • by aug24 (38229) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:51AM (#6024297) Homepage
      Since most muggers are only after fifty bucks for a rock, prolly the opposite! Less crime through better targetting ;-)

      J.

    • I thought RFID tags had to be read at very close distances... something like inches, or less.

      Then again, I'm sure a robber would love to carry around hardware capable of amplifying these signals (from >10 feet away to be feasible) to the point of actually being able to read this info. Yup, robbers also like to carry around sacks with dollar-signs on them.

  • uh, woah? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spectral (158121) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:44AM (#6024201)
    Damn, I didn't realize they could be that small.. I don't know how durable it would be though? If there was a way to make certain that they were in the notes, I could see it being a nice way to check to see if the notes added up to the value punched in by the cashier: a kind of redundancy. It would take a while til the new notes with these things were in decent enough circulation to make this viable, but would still be interesting. Too many people would start to rely on it though, which might not be a good idea.

    I'm just wondering how easy it would be for something that tiny to get scratched/cut off? I'm not so worried about privacy implications (maybe I'm not paranoid enough), but I'm sure there'll be some posts of that line soon enough.

    No, I haven't read the article. :)
  • One question... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HomerNet (146137) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `tenremoh'> on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:44AM (#6024204) Homepage
    Why bother? Why not push for full digital convergence and have everyone use EFT for ALL transactions? We're headed that way anyway, I haven't used paper cash in nearly a month now for anything.
  • by Red Rocket (473003) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:44AM (#6024206)
    "Well, I see you picked up this 5 Euro note as change for your purchase of Zovirax on May 12th at the BogoPharm pharmacy on the South Side. You know, you really should be more careful about who you sleep with, Mrs. Zambezi."
  • "... to track illegal transactions and even prevent kidnappers demanding unmarked bills ..." -Article


    I'm kidnapping all your unmarked bills! You'll never see them again! Unless you pay a ransom of more than it is worth.


    Traditionally I've called them bank robbers and such. Otherwise robbing a bank suddenly got more profitable if you can kidnap money.


    Imagine asking a ransom of $50 on a $1 bill? Recursive theft!

  • Gov't Survelliance (Score:2, Insightful)

    by quandrum (652868)
    Wouldn't this be a fairly decent way to track people? Most people carry money on them, and while the money wouldn't have a unique identifier, I'd imagine someone who's clever could sidestep such. But hey, it would probably be a great way to detect counterfeiting, you know, for about a month :-p Tinfoil hats encouraged while reading this post (Too late!)
  • The EU has been considering this for a while. You'll never even know they're there.

    Yeah until the police come to your house late at night asking questions. I guess this is the end of cold cash being the last refuge of private transaction.
    • The last refuge for private transactions is, has always been, and always will be barter. Either for service or another item, until they literally outlaw all transactions without a public record of property transferrance logged with "the authorities," including the transfer of a sandwich you just made to your friend, private transactions will always be possible, and completely impossible to stop.
  • Cool. (Score:4, Funny)

    by mikeophile (647318) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:47AM (#6024249)
    Now I can launder my money in the microwave oven.
  • by Bonker (243350) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:47AM (#6024251)
    European Drug Distributor: Hello, Mister Colombian Drug Lord. Here is the money, I promised you.

    Drug Lord: Hola, my French friend. I assume you've prepared the money as I specified?

    Distributor: Indeed! Not only are these new notes, freshly received through my cover business, but they have been washed in muddy water, microwaved, and then dried in my daughter's basement.

    Drug Lord: Ecellent! Here is the ten kilos of my finest cocaine. Good day to you!

    Yeah, a real drug transaction isn't going to go nearly like this, but having the money check what kind of transactions its going through isn't going to work if there is *any* kind of money laundering going on and if *any* kind of competant disabling of RFID tags takes place.
  • Privacy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mattygfunk1 (596840) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:48AM (#6024257)
    It would, therefore, also prevent money-laundering, make it possible to track illegal transactions and even prevent kidnappers demanding unmarked bills

    Um, excuse me. What about the privacy factor in all this?

    If the government / police are able to track illegal transactions then what is stopping them looking at my normal transactions? I don't want just anybody having access to the information about where I buy everything from my lunch to my porn.

    This is cash we are talking about and they wanna watch it. Pfft.

    Cheap web hosting [cheap-web-...ing.com.au]

    • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Neophytus (642863) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:07PM (#6024472)
      How can a chip identifying a piece of paper identify you? It would not be reprogrammed to track you personally, just the movement of the paper you hold. Unless you carried ID that reprogrammed it every time (defeating the point in paper money and coins) then there is no practical way that you could be tracked as the person buying porn. Heck, it would be astounding if they were able to track what the notes were actually used for, just where and when. The cops could always check security tapes because of the time ID, but porn isn't illegal so they would have no reason to waste the time.

      Data can only be written on the chip's ROM during production, and not after it is out "in the wild," according to Hitachi. - No personal tracking.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by heby (256691) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:45PM (#6024863) Homepage
      what's your point? these are nothing but unique ids on your cash; and they've been there for a long time - unique serial numbers. for all i know, us$ bills have them as well (can't check since my us cash is at home and i'm at work), canada certainly has them. the only difference is that rfid tags will be somewhat easier to read for a machine (note that it's not impossible with the serial numbers, though, banks routinely record them already).

      while i agree that tracking of cash might become more widespread, it's not really a new thing.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mdielmann (514750)
      I don't want just anybody having access to the information about where I buy everything from my lunch to my porn.

      Yeah, I reserve those rights for my credit card providers, my bank, my grocery store, my gas station, and my pharmacy! Keep the government out of my privacy! It's mine to sell!

      */joke*

      If you think I believe all that, you haven't read my .sig...
  • At the bank/machine you are id'd as you get the cash. Your id is tagged to the cash. It becomes possible to trace that cash back to you.

    This could destroy thieves and black markets.

    Example 1:
    Bob has cash. This is known by the system.
    Bob has cash stolen. This is reported. Cash is spent in store with electronic cash tracing. This is Bob's stolen cash, a camera catches a picture of the transaction. Theif is id'd.

    Example 2:
    Cops bust a drug lab and find cash. They know who took the cash out of the bank. They
  • Just curious. THeoretically, of course.

    This wont fly. If they dont have an anonomous way of spening the countries cash, they will use something else. Expect a huge groundswell of foregin cash and gold to get started. It is noones busisness what i spend my money on.
  • Is anybody else slightly concerned that so far, more than 50% of the comments have been from people pointing out how much easier this would make mugging? I have to admit, the thought didn't even cross my mind.

    I knew there were some shady characters here on the dot, but still. A tad extreme.

  • The real point of this whole thing is that a store would probably be required (or coherced) to have a "money reader".

    These stores would most likely not have access to information as the RFID would only be an ID, not any more information than that.

    A centrally managed database would serve (does anyone else here type "server" whenever typing serve?) to keep all the locations / purchase IDs.

    This is very much similiar to credit cards. A store takes your number, but doesn't know all the rest of the stores you

  • does this mean it would be possible to turn your 1 euro bills into 100 euro bills by re-writing or replacing the RFID?
  • Just out of curiosity, how easy/hard would it be to defeat the tags? For example, my driver's license has a nice mag stripe on the back, like a credit card. I don't know what info is/was stored in there, but I'm pretty sure that after sitting on top of the 5lb magnet I have there isn't anything "useful" left on it. Would the same technique screw up whatever electrical bits are in these tags enough to make them useless?
  • Am I the only one who thinks this is a good idea? As long as it's done correctly, it should really cut down on counterfeiting without too many privacy concerns. Also, it will take the concept of tracking money [wheresgeorge.com] to the extreme. Instead of having to write on the notes and hoping people enter the serial number on the website, you can just query the bill itself and it'll tell you where it's been! That seems pretty cool. It would also help cut down on money laundering, money theft, etc.
    • Am I the only one who thinks this is a good idea? As long as it's done correctly, it should really cut down on counterfeiting without too many privacy concerns.

      Yes, you're the only one who thinks that there isn't too many provacy concerns.

      You get money from the ATM, the ATM stores a picture of you taking out the money, all the money's ids, your personnnal bank information. Money gets passed around, money ends up in a bad place (drug lab, whatever). Police tracks money back to you, you're in trouble.

      Sur
  • Its called a 'Credit Card' or even a debit card for those who dont like / cant handle a credit card. Its all tracked, big brother can find your spendding habits, and it ccan be deactivated if its stolen! Just get credit everywhere (McDonalds, I'm talkin to you) and everyone will be all set.
  • by Catbeller (118204) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:54AM (#6024327) Homepage
    There is no valid reason for tagging the money, since anyone who wants a transaction trail could use an e-cash card.

    The Powers are going to eliminate the cash economy. Period. Nothing and no one escapes the net.

    We are entering a prison like no other in history, for it will be the entire world.
  • For one, anyone know what the usable range of these chips are? Must they be activated at point-blank distance, or can the stack of bills be IDd at once from a scanner a few feet away? The article says "With such tags, a stack of notes can be passed through a reader and the sum added in a split second, similar to how inventory is tracked in an RFID-based system." If said tags can then be activated at a distance, would they qualify as more of a surveillance device than a security feature?

    Also, is there (or

  • Just to check

    1) how long would you have to stick these in a microwave for to burn out the chips.

    2) If you built a transmitter that broadcast at the RFID response-request frequency, at what distance could you burn the chips out ?

    How much trouble could you cause walking down Oxford Street dsetroying everyone's money.....

  • Officially, the main reason for including these tags is to prevent counterfeiting. Now let's be generous and say that a whole 1% of all Euros are fake (the real number would be much closer to 0.0001%). I doubt that these tags would increase the cost of producing a banknote by less than 1%; more likely, the marginal cost increase will be significant. As such, I don't think that including the RFID tags will be a viable option for the EU.
  • Well, this would start to make it hard to not report cash income / spending on tax forms. With this tracking mechanism, it could, depending on the implementation, make it no different than using a debit card in a transaction (well, except that it's not from a bank account). They would have a record of the transaction, so that money must have come from somewheres. This would make it a real headache. What kind of technology would be needed to keep track of these bills? Would there be a central database?
  • by adzoox (615327) * on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:56AM (#6024345) Journal
    After reading this story about Philips making RFIDs "capable of being shut off" [zdnet.co.uk] I did some research on how this was done. Apparently the RFID is sent a magnetic signal. I found out, that it appears if RFIDS are subjected to very strong magnetic forces it disables them ANYWAY.

    So, my question is, if RFIDs are to be embedded in money, will it still be accepted if the RFID is off or not working. Will you have to take it to a bank (hassle) and get the whole note replaced or REactivated?

    I would think people that work in highly magnetic work conditions or that are subject to mild radiation (cell phone users, utility workers, possily computer users) might face this problem.

  • by jcknox (456591) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:58AM (#6024370)
    Remember back in 1999 when people were talking about how the Y2K bug would result in society reverting to bartering & precious metals currency?

    I wonder if eliminating cash as a nontraceable currency will prompt the emergence of additional non-fiat currency preferred by the privacy-conscious.

    I can hear it now: "That non-DRM PC will cost you $3000 credit, $2900 cash, $600 in gold, or 10 cartons of banned cigarettes."
  • I'd love to know just how sturdy these little RFID chips are. I mean, suppose you didn't want your euro's tracked? How hard would it be to disable these things?

    For example, what if you put your cash in a microwave for thirty seconds? Or built a HERF gun to "sterilize" your cash? These things are microchips, so they should be vulnerable to the same types of electromagnetic damage that most semiconductors are.
  • that the anti counterfeiting strip in US money is a chip that lets govt. vans cruse your neighborhood and scan your house for 'illicit' funds.

    Looks like it's not so whacko anymore....
  • Black Market (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Schezar (249629) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:01PM (#6024405) Homepage Journal
    This is a good thing... for the US!

    Before the Euro, the international black market dealt mostly in American currency. Part of the reason for that is the fact that it behooves the US economy's controllers to have large amounts of it's currency base outside of the country. (Think about it. Print more money, buy 'things' with it, make sure monies paid leave country. Monies are not local to the economy, so inflation does not increase. Oversimplified, yes, but I'm making a general point here.)

    The Euro was a threat to that black market monopoly. A strong Euro would be serious competition, and would likely drive at least some of the US's expatriated currency back within its own borders, wreaking havoc with the economy.

    With the advent of tracking capabilities in the currency itself, the Euro is keeping itself out of the black market, which is good for the United States.

    Europe had a chance to take a bite out of US hegemony. So much for that ^_^
    • Re:Black Market (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Izeickl (529058)
      As I mention above, the biggest threat to the US economy is the oil nations selling in Euros more than the dollar (as Saddam started too), if the UK joins the Euro and Brent crude starts being produced in a Euro nation, then this will only push them further into using Euro also, just now the US has a license to print money for the world, that could stop. The Euro is also on the border of many many eastern nations where the black markets are rampent and arab nations. But its what oil is paid for with that
    • euro less bulky (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AT (21754)
      ...and a key advantage of the Euro for blackmarket transactions is that the highest denomination is 500, instead of 100 for US bills. Which means approximately five times fewer bills for large transactions. I've heard the US is considering introducing the 1000 dollar bill into general circulation to compete.
      • Re:euro less bulky (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Guppy06 (410832)
        "and a key advantage of the Euro for blackmarket transactions is that the highest denomination is 500, instead of 100 for US bills."

        On the other hand, a payment in nothing but 500.00 EUR notes has fewer serial numbers for law enforcement to keep track of.

        The black market would rather deal in ubiquitous 10.00 USD and 20.00 USD notes and would generally use larger bills only if they have to.
    • Incorrect (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dipfan (192591)
      Wrong, I'm afraid - the US economy does benefit from holdings of dollars outside its borders, in theory, but no-one is sure exactly if it does, or by how much, in reality. In any case, the benefit to the US economy is on foregone interest payments, and has nothing at all do with inflation - the amount of narrow money supply (notes and coins) in an advanced economy such as the US is so small as to be insignificant to the money supply and therefore have virtually no effect on inflation. The vast majority of t
  • It sounds like it would make a damn good anti counterfeiting measure, at the very least.
  • Who wants Euros that track them? Nobody. Some transactions are better kept off the books. Porn, drugs, etc. People will turn away from euros for those kind of transactions and proboblly for everything to avoid carrying around 2 types of currency. This should help the value of the dollar a lot.
  • Why don't they just start up the Euro equivalent of wheresgeorge.com, the American currency tracker (and www.whereswilly.com, the tracker of inferior Canadian money run by the same folks)?

    I couldn't honestly believe there wasn't already one, though, so I did a little googling and found this: http://www.eurobilltracker.com/ [eurobilltracker.com] site which does exactly that.

    Who nees RFID tags when you have this?
  • Great, so now singles at the local meat market singles bar can do remote wallet sniffing.
  • Just smack'em with a huge EM (electro-magnetic) pulse. You'll fry them for good.
    I'm sure someone will eventually come up with a simple design for an EM pulse generator, so that everyone can clean up their stuff.
  • Not Cash Any More (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Euphonious Coward (189818) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:16PM (#6024578)
    Once the Euro gets tags that record transactions, the Euro will cease to have the attributes we associate with cash. After that, they're more akin to "negotiable paper".

    That would make US dollars a lot more popular in some important quarters, which the EU doesn't want. Therefore, I predict that the Euro will get these embedded tags only after the U.S. starts seeding them into its own currency. The desire to create a "cashless society" here, and eliminate untraceable commerce, has a long and sordid history.

    The problem with embedding these things is that they're easily fused, so banks would also need to start refusing fused notes, and people would have to start carrying detectors because they might otherwise end up with undepositable paper. The alternative is that fused notes are still negotiable, but then they would all get fused in short order.

  • Anti-forgery? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:19PM (#6024627) Journal
    Encrypt the bill's serial number with the treasury dept's private key?

    Seems like that'd be pretty effective...

    Of course, they can't possibly make this a *required* feature of all bills. You have to be able to microwave the money and still use it, otherwise y'all Europeans will start screaming bloody murder.

    The privacy invasion happens when you aren't paying attention: When you don't realize that your subway card placed you at the scene of the crime, or whatever. As they gain more and more surveillance techniques, eventually it'll be impossible to pay attention to all of them.
  • by RealAlaskan (576404) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:42PM (#6024828) Homepage Journal
    This isn't a privacy problem: just keep your money under your tin-foil beanie!
  • Microwave? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squarooticus (5092) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:51PM (#6024930) Homepage
    What happens if you put these bills in the microwave for 5 or 10 seconds? If that's enough to disable the RFID, I would probably just do that to every piece of currency I got.

    This is a major problem with schemes like these: if the RFID tags are authoritative, they make legal tender impossible to distinguish from counterfeit without a special device, which I can't see everyone carrying around with them every time they have to collect money from their dorm buddies for pizza.

    The problem here is that counterfeit money won't be detected until the recipient tries to use it in a store or a bank, and then he gets the double-anal: one, from losing the value of the currency he thought he had; two, from the police who arrest him for using counterfeit currency.

    Cheers,
    Kyle
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:57PM (#6024986) Journal
    I can see this as being a powerful tool used either for good or for evil. Imagine blind people being able to know how much they are carrying without having to read each bill individually (currently they have little portable scanners they can feed the bills through to identify the denomination). Or knowing when a cashier has been slipping cash into their pockets.

    Now, imagine tracking every purchase you make and arresting you because you bought a bottle of superglue on one day, and on the next day bought a bottle of something else that can be mixed with superglue to make toxic gas. If there is no oversight, this could quickly be abused to create a police state. Other posts include muggers knowing whether or not you're a good target, and the like. Deactivating them wouldn't be such a good plan since the transaction trail would point straight to you as the last recipient before the rfid died.
  • by sacrilicious (316896) on Friday May 23, 2003 @04:14PM (#6026796) Homepage
    When money becomes trackable, perhaps even beyond the ability of a microwaving to fix, I will make it a regular habit to ask friends and acquaintences if they'd like to enter into an ongoing money swap arrangement. People engaged in this practice will make it a habit to carry, say, $200 in cash, and will make it a point to swap bills every so often. As long as this is an ongoing practice, it's not even necessary to efficiently randomize who has what bills; all you need to do when questioned by Homeland Security about hookers/dope/etc is profess to be a money swapper, and offer to call numerous witnesses to that fact; ergo, anyone could have been the person who plunked down bills that the atm originally dispensed to you. And the social practice of swapping bills will serve to draw like-minded people together.
  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Friday May 23, 2003 @05:27PM (#6027376)
    Microwaves. Won't work. The "chips" are far too small for the wavelength to touch them.

    EMP. EMP *IS* microwaves. At least EMP that you can generate at home. NO go.

    Bulk erasers. Very strong magnetic field *MAY* affect these but I doubt it, I would think they took this in account for people that work near strong magnetic fields.

    HV. High voltage, like 200,000 volts and up, such as from a $20 stun gun should do the trick. Not many electronic devices can take that sort of jolt.

    So, to zap your money, just lay it on a board and ZAP the crap out of it with a ~$20 stun gun...

    For the money (pun intended) go with HV ZAPz!!

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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