By on August 14, 2012

Psst! Hey, buddy! Do you want to have a complete travel/movement database for your automobile-using populace but don’t have the scratch for a a bunch of high-tech, privacy-destroying surveillance copcars? Brazil has an idea for you!

An article published last week in ZeroHora notes the details of the implementation: a five-dollar chip to be installed on the windshield will contain details of the vehicle which are otherwise observable — registration, vehicle make, model, fuel used, and other identifying factors. No owner data may be stored on the chip and the chip can only be used for EZ-Pass-style toll collection “with consent of the owner”.

It’s difficult to conceive of any legitimate use of these tags other than to plant RFID receivers in public areas and obtain personal trip information. Note that I didn’t say “for the government to plant RFID receivers in public areas and obtain personal trip information.” The nature of RFID tagging is such that it can be read by anyone with the correct equipment. The whole project seems less appropriate to Brazil the country and more to Brazil the film.

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30 Comments on “Brazil Mandates RFID For Cars Starting in 2014...”

  • avatar

    Holy Krap, don’t give our resident Geheime Staatspolizei any ideas!

  • avatar

    I surprised that the police state of Great Britian wasn’t first.

    In 2008 GB had 1 surveillance camera for every 14 people.

  • avatar

    You humans are weak and hypocritical. You worry about the government tracking your auto, yet you carry phones with GPS / Cell Tower / WiFi network tracking turned on. You consent for the great Google / Apple / Micro$oft / RIM to know where you are, what you read/watch, and when. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Morgan Stanley (Discovercard) know everything about your conumption patterns and behaviors since you use plastic at the supermarket /Costco /Walmart /Amazon.

    But the gubmint better not know my car info.

    • 0 avatar

      Aren’t all humans vermin in the eyes of Morbo?

    • 0 avatar

      That’s because the government has police powers with laws giving them unlimited use of those powers and armed employees enforcing those powers. And many of those laws exempt them from lawsuits due to using those powers by mistake (see “no knock raids” and “friend of the court” for examples). Private companies, for all of their abuses, aren’t anywhere near as dangerous.

    • 0 avatar

      Read the heading. None of your boogeymen are in a position to “mandate” anything. If the gubmint weren’t either, I agree; none of this would matter. But they are. And unfortunately, 100+ years of publicly funded progressive indoctrination, seems to have succeeded in making many think that is an a-ok state of affairs.

      • 0 avatar

        Unless you live Unabomber style without utilities, a job, communication: trap/grow all your food in a wood powered cabin: never go to a store with security cameras.

        Everyone screams about the surveillance state. We’ve been living in it for 15 years and no one complains about except when someone 1984’s about it. Not to say that a Stallin wouldn’t wet himself at the power it grants, but the wonderful thing about our system is that it works both ways. It allows for easier snooping into official misdeeds. So long as it remains a 2 way system, it’s all gravy.

        Now return to your Costco, purchase your bread with your Amex, watch your Comcastic circuses, and enjoy your life citizen.

  • avatar

    I wonder how long it will take for people to figure out that it’s a great idea to chip these off of random cars if you need a quick identity change for whatever vehicular crimes you intend to commit that weekend.

    • 0 avatar

      You could smash the windshield of something of similar make/model/color, cut out a nice square of glass that has the sticker attached to it, and place that on your own car.

  • avatar

    Please, don’t give USDOT ideas.

    ‘Why don’t you just shove a leash up my ass?’ – Sylvester Stallone in Demolition Man (1993)

  • avatar

    So an RFID digital copy of your already readable (by anyone with eyes) version your VIN #? Oh… scary. Agree with Morbo, if you are carrying a cell phone you are already sharing so much data with “them” (whoever they are this week) its not even funny.

    • 0 avatar

      Seriously. How many automated toll systems are already in production collecting this same information with cameras? The moral indignation here is at least a decade late.

  • avatar

    Welcome to the future. You can already have your car tracked in order to save on insurance. Soon, the choice will between increasing gas taxes or letting every car in America be tracked for a pay-per-mile scheme… and let’s just say that nobody in Washington D.C. thinks gas taxes are going up any time soon.

    Enjoy your privacy while it’s still a choice…

    • 0 avatar

      Why on earth would the government install an elaborate (and easily defeated) RFID system to measure the mileage that they already record every year when the car is inspected?

      I mean, not all states have inspections, but a huge percentage of the population’s already covered.

      • 0 avatar

        Some people think it’s a conspiracy theory, while others believe it’s an attempt, along with the use of other technology, to essentially create a system of real time surveillance, 24/7, over the population.

        Being cynical of the manner by which government abuses available data that’s automatically accumulated, in terms of privacy trampling (see warrantless subpoena of major cell phone carrier records, in total, with AT&T, Verizon and all others just handing data over to government, no questions asked or objections interposed, as just one example), it’s probably best to assume the worst.

        See my reply below.

      • 0 avatar

        The proposals and tests for a VMT (vehicle miles traveled) tax have been based on GPS tracking, not RFID. Not 100% on the technology aspect (cellular?), but from what I understand the system is similar to that used to track prisoners under house arrest. In any case, I’m guessing they’ll make sure it’s not as easily defeated as RFID.

        The key is real-time tracking, which would be relatively cheaper than requiring regular (physical) readings of Odometer and OBD data. Plus I’m sure there are security and other benefits to tracking every car in America in real time.

        Meanwhile, everyone I’ve ever spoken to in D.C. sees VMT as simply a matter of time. They know someone will have to deal with the highway fund at some point (as improved efficiency is killing tax receipts), and nobody will ever propose a gas tax increase. And, based on the comments I received when I argued in favor of a gas tax increase, Americans are more than happy to be led into this brave new world…

      • 0 avatar

        Measuring annual mileage gives you a barometer of who and how much, but doesn’t give you any valuable information regarding where and when. If you read the linked ZeroHora article, you will see the primary uses of such RFID systems revolve around real-time measurement of traffic and detailed history of traffic patterns at various points throughout the city.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh yes, Pay Per Mile is coming.

        Not to mention that local municipalities are salivating at the chance to charge people for driving through their fiefdoms. Let’s call it a “congestion charge” if you drive into city limits and then drive out less than 15 minutes later. This is for real – I have been to the planning meetings and have heard discussions on this topic.

        The RFID is simply the means to accomplish it.

      • 0 avatar

        So the ‘London Model’ of a “congestion tax” (i.e. pay for the privilege of driving that which you already pay layers upon layers of taxes on to own and operate) is just getting started?

    • 0 avatar

      “You can already have your car tracked in order to save on insurance”

      I place the blame squarely on Flo…it’s all her fault!

  • avatar

    Welcome to Orwell’s prediction, growing closer to aggregate reality with each passing day.

    Privacy is sooo last decade.

    Let’s Google “Intelligent Vehicle Highway System RFID privacy”

  • avatar

    Brazil doesn’t have the same position regarding civil liberties that we have. Brazil has had in the last seven decades dictatorship and military juntas, neither of which was a New England town meeting. Second, in Brazil government, whether federal, state, or local, more or less works, but mostly less. Incompetence and corruption are the hallmarks.

  • avatar

    So how come I can’t get RFID tags in my key fob, my cell phone, my tv remote control etc along with a reader so I can find my stuff? I can think of a lot of ways that private individuals could benefit from access to this technology. Instead it seems to be more about gathering information.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    For every need there is a solution.
    Just like Radar detectors….I can see companies making RFID jammers or even better, devices which will transmit bogus data.

    As other posters have already mentioned, RFID is EASILY defeated.

  • avatar
    George B

    I already have an RFID chip on my car. It’s called a toll tag. I originally got a toll tag because I was tired of the left arm of my shirt getting wet when I used cash to pay tolls in the rain. Over time using a toll tag became the lower price option for paying tolls and now all toll collection on North Texas toll roads is automated using either RFID toll tags or optical scan of license plates.

    The equipment to read toll tags, the computer networks, and customer databases are not cheap to install and maintain. In addition, you have to build toll roads so drivers are funneled through the toll collection point. If the goal is collecting money for road use, this system doesn’t scale well for collecting smaller amounts of money from more drivers for shorter road segments. Fuel taxes are easier to implement.

    • 0 avatar

      RFID tags are so cheap to make that companies already are implementing them in relatively expensive consumer product containers, especially in the pharma application (but they are most certainly going to be incorporated into the packaging of all consumer products, at at a cost of as little as 3 1/2 cent).

      As far as the hardware and network to read said RFID devices, sure it’s more expensive, but economies of scale is going to bring that cost down dramatically, as well.

      We’re all going to be tagged and tracked to an even more full extent (I’m speaking of raw data collection, stored forever) than we are now.

      There’s no expectation of privacy in public places under any right of privacy that can be argued the constitution extends to the citizenry, according to the SCOTUS.

      I’d recommend doing some research on “Stellar Wind,” which is a pretty immense data collection facility being built by the NSA as we speak (the scale and technology involved will boggle most minds) – it’s not some ‘tin hat’ speak, but facts in action:

      The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center

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