RFID2VIN - RFID-tracking car accidents?

January 27, 2005

Bruce Schneier (whose blog is so good I've just ordered one of his books off Amazon) writes:

This company is proposing using RFID chips as "DNA" identifiers for cars; the chips would be left behind in hit-and-run accidents.
I'm not sure whether to categorize this as visionary - like nanomachine identifiers embedded in paint or something - or just way up on the hype scale currently surrounding RFID. Most certainly I don't think we'll see this product in widespread use... ever?

Forensic spectroscopy already usually identifies make, model and often year (in ranges) based on car paint alone!

Posted by andersja


Reading the information on the website, I've found this is actually a two-part process. The "vin" number is obtained with a "reader" using an encrypted code that is available ONLY to law enforcement. This vin is then researched on a website that shows the last state the vehicle was registered in. The (current) ownership information is then obtained from that particular DMV.
How is this "big brother" when you have to get into an accident to leave this evidence? Another thing to consider--the "read" distance of a (passive) RFID chip is only a few inches; which is not enough for another car (or a toll booth) to retrieve this information from--even if they had the proprietary code.
I agree with one of the above contributors--the benefits of catching one of these cowards far outweighs any non-existent privacy concerns.
Another thing to consider--while it's true that paint analysis can now determine make, model and year of a vehicle--it can't tell you who the owner is. This is the ONLY thing I've ever heard of that can.

Posted by: James at January 28, 2005 03:49 PM

Posted by: James at January 28, 2005 09:52 PM

I think you're referring to "other posters" as people posting comments here [1]. That said, I simply don't see the value of this: for sure the rfid tags would be readable before any crash (or would they be "crash activated?"); my second point is that the majority of the information can already be obtained from car paint already (make, model, year etc)

[1] http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/01/rfid_as_automob.html#comments

Posted by: Anders at January 29, 2005 03:29 PM
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