1995-08-21 - Re: A glance at the future of missing child identification

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From: tcmay@got.net (Timothy C. May)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: b264c6ea35d86696bfa95af8117c0fc81dcb3d4b82c6736b78be7956d61d4cdf
Message ID: <ac5d434c030210047d03@[]>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1995-08-21 03:03:00 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 20 Aug 95 20:03:00 PDT

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From: tcmay@got.net (Timothy C. May)
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 95 20:03:00 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: A glance at the future of missing child identification
Message-ID: <ac5d434c030210047d03@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 8:52 PM 8/20/95, Hadmut Danisch wrote:

>These transponders are already used for many year. They inject
>them in pigs and cows to identify them. And some car manufacturers
>put the into the ignition keys as theft protections.

The subcutaneous animal things are only detectable at very short ranges.
Typically, a vet (animal doctor) uses a handheld wand to pick up the
signal. Useful for tracking pets, farm animals, etc.

There has so far been no known uses of this on humans, at least as a matter
of routine. Possibly some developers have tried injecting themselves, for
the usual reasons.

The car system used here in the U.S. is called "Lo-Jack," as in the
opposite of "hijack." I don't see how putting the transponders in ignition
keys would do much to stop theft, but maybe I'm unaware of European
developments. (There are keys with chips in them, acting as electronic
keys, or to make the keys harder to duplicate, but not to track the cars.)

>Technology is not new. Perhaps it is already used for criminals?
>Somewhere I heard that in America criminals are sentenced to stay
>at home because the jails are overfilled. A sender is attached to
>their leg and the police is informed if he leaves his home.

Yes, these exist. Not using the same technology as the transponders used in
pets and livestock, though.

>Perhaps a drug dealer may be more usefull if he moves free and
>has a transponder inside which he doesn't know about, that having
>him in jail.

Not technologically feasible at this time, but maybe in several years. Even
so, it wouldn't be hard for his friends to scan him for bugs.

Sure, some will argue that pseudorandom, very intermittent, frequency-agile
signals could be emitted...I say it's a hard problem to escape detection by
antennas a few centimeters away when the signal has to be detectable by
surveillance antennas at least kilometers away, and more likely tens or
hundreds of kilometers away. The infrastructure of antennas is lacking.

>Here in Germany most department stores have big antennas at the
>doors which are normally used to detect thefts. Perhaps these antennas
>also recognize certain people. You can be sure even criminals go to
>department stores, undergrounds, or bus stations. Some hidden antennas
>and it's easy to be on their track.

Implausible. The theft detectors are not picking up specific transponders,
just the "on" or "off" state of the things attached to clothing, books,
CDs, etc. (I say "things" because some of them are strips inserted in
books, some are tag-like things clamped to clothing, etc.)

Again, the infrastructure is lacking. The simple detectors in stores would
have to be upgraded to track more sophisticated transponders. The stores
would have to cooperate, etc. Implausible.

--Tim May

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