California legislature wants to mandate radio-readable driver's licenses (CALL NOW!)


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Identity theft is currently just too difficult.


Oops, it accidentally fell into the microwave oven…?


Holy fuck me running backwards!


Already emailed both state and assembly persons. Hope others do the same.


Can someone explain what advantage the government claims is gained by being able to read your license from 30 feet away? I show my license maybe 10 times a year max, and that is usually for identification purposes, and never once was the person asking me to identify myself more than two feet away.

I am not a citizen of California, but if I was I would not trust wallets that would claim to block them, but rather leave the license at home and make a photocopy, with your picture and numbersthat could be presented if asked.


What’s the big deal? The government is just trying to help.


The People’s Republic of California is acting up again.

The shields tend to work fairly well. I did some experiments with the 13.56MHz tags and they are easy to shield. If you aren’t asking for perfection, and are happy with cutting the successful read distance by 100 times, you’re in for an easy job.

If you want some durable and extra-cheap material, aluminium-lined drink box cardboard will do a good job. Tested that one with success. For heavier-duty use, drink can sheetmetal also works neatly.


Thirty feet ? I was skeptical, but apparently that’s ISO 18000-6C.

How exactly does that work? It must surely at least require a fairly powerful antenna.


The tags operate in the 902-928 ISM band. This is a different kind than what I am used to (125 kHz and 13.56 MHz are where my hands-on experiences are), so just the theory.

Here are more details, including detailed descriptions how to modify off-the-shelf equipment to operate with higher-gain antennas, and how to use antenna amplifiers to further increase range (I think assumed maximum is about 500 feet).

Edit: But it should be easy to detect such long-range readers. A simple antenna-filter-detector will do the job. With a good antenna you can directly light up a LED for a fully passive device. With active power (e.g. a battery) you can be way more sensitive.


If your government spies on every communication (mail, phone, financial, email) and there is barely any protection for private data in corporate hands a drivers licence with a rfid chip is your greatest concern regarding privacy? Right …


True. Maybe it’s because I’m old, but ref Nokia phone antenna lights.


Gonna be a big rush on pocket-size Faraday cages…


Michigan adopted the DHS requirement for enhanced licenses in 2011. I waited too long to renew my tags a couple years ago and went to do it in person. They wanted to use the RFID instead of swiping the magnetic strip at Secretary of State (DMV or DOT if you live in nearly any other state), and they couldn’t get a read unless I took it out of the sheath they send the card to you in.


Just keep your license (plus change for parking meters/tolls) in an Altoids tin…


This does make an excellent argument for microwaving your license.


I don’t think the intent is to read your license from 30 feet away. It just so happens that is the maximum distance from which it can be read when it is outside of its shield due to signal noise. I suspect the advantages are to make them harder to fake or modify and to make them faster to read.

Ooops. I was wrong. The 30 foot range is a DHS requirement.


Yes it is. It seems that the point is to be able to read it without stopping you or asking to see it. A reader set up by a stop sign may very well be able to record everyone who passed by, walking or driving.

Now for the downside. Every time you stop at a fuel station to fill up they can track your fuel purchases. Every time you step to a register, even if you pay cash, they can tie that purchase to you. It is unlikely that they can track you in a moving car with these, but purchases, especially when you take out and open your wallet would be simple.

Not trying to be a conspiracy guy here, and I truly doubt the government wants to track me, but I promise you big business wants to track me. I know of one study that watched people in convenience store candy aisle to watch how product placement affects purchases. Tall people, and older people will ignore lower shelves, while children ignore higher shelves for obvious reasons. Next time you walk down a candy aisle look at the placement. You may even notice that some product is placed twice in different locations.Stores, especially supermarkets, charge manufactures for prime shelf spaces, not just the end aisle caps.5th avenue bars do not sell well on the bottom shelves, and sour candies do not sell well on higher shelves. Even the information of how long you stood there choosing, is a marketing mans pot of gold.


There is a small good news hidden here. The readers are active. They emit quite a lot of signal to power the tags. You can detect and discover the readers easily. 900 MHz band does not use magnetic field for coupling (the higher freq the lower the mag vs electric field ratio) which makes shielding easier (though thin aluminium foil from a chocolate pack gives a decent attenuation even for the 125 kHz ones).

If such readers become common, we can detect and track them and use smartphones to build a crowdsourced map of their presence.


Would these readers have to be a specific frequency that can only be used for reading RFID chips, and would a detector be able to pick up only these.?. Wireless readers like these are common already. In my field we use them for wireless window sensors and wireless temperature sensors, so much that most manufactures supply them in two frequencies for interference, and over saturation. 418 MHZ and 900 MHZ are the most popular. When this started in my field, most sensors broadcast to the receiver. Now it appears that they are in a flux state with the receivers looking for the sensors. In the old days battery died rather quickly, but now, if they have batteries in the sensors, they last years, and some now only have solar/light cells. I can only assume they are not transmitting on that low power. It is quite possible that you may get a lot of false positives.

I also assume most access card/fob readers work on the same signals since the cards or fobs do not have batteries. I also assume they limit the range purposely since they do not want the doors to unlock if someone with a card walks by 20 feet away. A license with a chip that has a 6 inch range should be sufficient if they want to make them scannable at all.