August 18, 2014

RFID bracelets track festival goers

Filed under: Music,Technology by Branko Collin @ 8:11 pm

waldo-lowlands-2008-gabe-mcintyreHave you ever gone to a music festival but got too drunk to remember which acts you saw?

Yeah, me neither, but apparently now there’s a solution. For the price of whatever was left of their privacy, visitors of the Lowlands festival last weekend could get a ‘free’ wristband that allowed them to keep a diary of sorts.

Every time you held the Nedap-developed wristband against a scanning station, the station would register your ID, time and location in order to be able to present you with a slew of data on the spot or afterwards. The data contained the location of both you and bracelet-wearing friends, the bands that played nearby, photos of you and your friends, ‘spotified’ set lists, and so on.

According to the video below by Face Culture, some people ‘hacked’ the system by trying to get into the top ten of the people that scanned their bracelets the most. Other advantages mentioned were the ability to remember the names of obscure bands you saw and not having to trawl through 20,000 photos online before finding yours. One person complained that she still had a sliver of privacy left: she wanted more scanning stations so that she could also see when she had gone for a burger.

A Campign Flight to Lowlands Paradise (its full name) is an annual festival held near Biddinghuizen in the province of Flevoland.

(Photo of Waldo at Lowlands 2008 by Gabe McIntyre, some rights reserved; if only he had worn an RFID tag, you would have spotted him instantly; link: AD)

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January 30, 2011

RFID readers sold out after news of hackable transport card broke

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 1:51 pm

Trouw reports that the SRR220A RFID card reader is sold out in at least one webshop after word got out that hacking the Dutch transport card is both cheap and easy. The card reader will let you top up the card without paying.

Volkskrant adds that another online store, i-Pos, has sold hundreds. “It’s a mad house here, the orders are coming in day and night,” General Manager Dirk van der Heijden told the paper.

Meanwhile, Trans Link Systems (TLS), the besieged company behind the ill-fated Dutch transport card, refuses to warn users who forgot to swipe the card on check-out, Webwereld reports. The result is that many travellers are ‘fined’ 4, 10 or 20 euro every time they forget to check out—the amount depends on the deposit the transport company charges when you check in.

Dutch parliament told TLS that it has to send forgetful passengers an e-mail upon detecting the error. According to TLS, detecting the problem is a “technological impossibility”. Webwereld readers were quick to point out that just a few days ago TLS was boasting about how easy it is to detect use of a fraudulently topped-up public transport chip card.

Asking for a restitution seems to be an arduous task as well. Only in 1 in 18 passengers go through the trouble.

According to, the province of Zuid-Holland has delayed the abandonment of paper bus tickets (the so-called Strippenkaart) due to the current problems with the transport card.

See also: Right to public transport refunds finite.

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August 1, 2008

RFID tags used to monitor hikers’ health

Filed under: Health,Science by Branko Collin @ 8:26 am

Researchers from the Radboud University in Nijmegen used RFID tags during the recent Four Day Marches to experiment with health monitoring. Volunteers were asked to swallow an RFID pill which sent the hiker’s body temperature to a receiver in their back pack every 10 seconds. The receiver would then relay that information via Bluetooth to a GPS-enabled mobile phone which in turn would forward the data to the operations centre at the university’s teaching hospital.

Using the data, the researchers could track the walkers on Google Maps, and even alert nearby walkers should a volunteer be in trouble. Radboud University was in the news earlier this year when researchers cracked and cloned London’s Oyster travel card and the Dutch public transportation card, which both used NXP’s Mifare RFID chip.

Via Engadget. Photo by Maurits Vink, published using a Creative Commons license.

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