They’re everywhere, and they couldn’t care less about your privacy. After a German man exploded the RFID chip of his ID card in the microwave oven, Makery researched the most efficient techniques. At your own risk and peril…
Germans don’t like to be tracked. On August 11, a 29-year-old man was reportedly arrested at Frankfurt airport for having microwaved his ID card. The reason ? The RFID chip, embedded in all German ID cards since 2010, made the young man fear for his privacy, according to the police.
$9 billion market
RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification), electronic chips paired with antenna that can send and receive information remotely, are everywhere: in the products we buy at the supermarket, our public transport cards, our biometric passports (with very relative security), our bank cards, in most of our pets, at Disneyland and in the human body. The market is estimated at almost 9 billion dollars for 2014 and could surpass 27 billion dollars by 2024.
It’s a promising market, but not without its consequences on our personal data and privacy. CNIL expressed its own concern in 2013: “If all the objects in our daily lives (transport card, clothing, telephone, car, bracelet, etc.) were ‘tagged’ in this way, individuals could be traced in all their acts.”
We should warn you : zapping your passport could lead you straight to criminal court. The German man faces either a fine or imprisonment, reports the Washington Post, for “illegally modifying official documents”. In France, destroying this part of your passport is considered voluntary alteration and deterioration—a crime that can be penalized up to three years in prison and 45,000 euros. If, however, you still have a chip on your shoulder, Makery researched the best methods to get rid of it. At your own risk and peril.
Microwave technique, or “German” technique
Simple and efficient, this technique is widely approved by Elliot Alderson, the tormented hacker in the Mr. Robot series. If it explodes, that means you’re safe.
The homemade fireworks technique may be tempting, but it also has its detractors (for example, it could ruin your microwave and intoxicate the whole house). For a more professional-looking result, locate your chip using a strong light before punching a hole right through it.
Bonus: RFID secure wallet
Not quite ready to go rogue ? Another maker on Instructables shows you how to make a wallet that blocks radio waves using aluminum foil, duct tape and double-sided Scotch tape. This model has not been approved by Karl Lagerfeld.