The Wall Street Journal reports that customers lack enthusiasm for RFID credit cards due to privacy and fraud concerns. In fact, they are devising novel ways to disable RFID chips, including using hammers and microwave ovens to smash or fry them. FoeBud, a German digital rights group, sells a variety of devices to detect or disable the chips. Sensing a hot market, some companies have joined the bandwagon with new products (e.g., RFIDwasher) that do the job more safely than a microwave oven, which can be a fire hazard when used for RFID frying. For those who don’t want to tamper with their RFID cards, they can buy shielded wallets and passport cases from DIFRWEAR that block signals when closed.
As libraries begin to embrace RFID technology, these concerns from the credit card sector may be worth watching, and it may give them pause.
Source: Warren, Susan. "Why Some People Put These Credit Cards in the Microwave." The Wall Street Journal, 10 April, 2006, A1, A16.