Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips are tiny bits of computer technology that you may recognize as annoying anti-theft tags on clothes, electronics, books and the like that occasionally trip the sensors at store exits. The chips contain universal price code (UPC) information and serve as unique identifiers for products. They are incredibly useful for companies tracking inventory and handling logistics.
Some pet owners, parents of small children or adult children of Alzheimer's sufferers have even had RFID chips embedded under the skin of their loved ones The same technology could be employed to hold our personal medical histories or streamline credit card purchases and other financial transactions.
If every food item in your kitchen was RFID tagged, a smart refrigerator could even read your inventory and automatically generate a shopping list for you and send it to your local grocery. Such usefulness has marketing drooling over the business promise of RFID technology.Privacy mavens, however, see a huge half-empty glass in RFID. Someone carrying such tech in his wallet could be tracked, and possibly hacked as he walks by. Identity theft, they fear, could be accomplished by simply passing by a crook with a laptop. And the new U.S. passport contains info about you encoded on an RFID chip.
That's why The Paranoid Poster is pleased to have discovered that Kena Kai, maker of carrying cases for computers, has introduced the Data Safe RFID Blocking Wallet. The electromagnetically opaque sleeve is made of leather as men's wallets, women's clutches and wallets, and passport-sized travel wallets. The tech isn't cheap, though; expect to pay $40-$100 or more for one of these wallets. Too much for your budget? You could RFID-proof your current wallet with your old friend, duct tape.
Me, I'm putting the Data Safe wallet right at the top of my birthday gift wish list, right above a custom-fitted aluminum foil ball cap.
Read more about identity theft in WalletPop
The Paranoid Poster - New product defends against drive-by ID theft