RFID Silliness: Is The Eagle on Your Coin Watching You?

I saw an article on Yahoo news yesterday, “U.S. warns about Canadian spy coins,” that pointed out a warning issued by the U.S. Defense Security Service about Canadian coins being used to track U.S. government contractors.
The CIA has information about similar types of coins: “This hollow container, fashioned to look like an Eisenhower silver dollar, is still used today to hide and send messages or film without being detected. Because it resembles ordinary pocket change, it is virtually undetectable as a concealment device.”

Interesting! The Associated Press article within Yahoo news and numerous other news sites talks about this Canadian tracking coin as being “high on the creepiness scale.” Indeed.
Yes, it could be that such “coins” were created to slip into people’s pockets without their knowledge to track their movement. However, to expect that these would actually be mistaken for real coins, or that such coins would be successfully circulated as real money throughout merchants to track random individuals is quite implausible…look at the CIA photo. If you got one of these, wouldn’t you notice it was different from your other coins? A hollow coin, even with an RFID tracking device inside, will feel different from a real coin.
The reported purpose of these tracking coins was to spy on U.S. contractors.

“The government said the mysterious coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada. Intelligence and technology experts said such transmitters, if they exist, could be used to surreptitiously track the movements of people carrying the spy coins.
The U.S. report doesn’t suggest who might be tracking American defense contractors or why. It also doesn’t describe how the Pentagon discovered the ruse, how the transmitters might function or even which Canadian currency contained them. Further details were secret, according to the U.S. Defense Security Service, which issued the warning to the Pentagon’s classified contractors. The government insists the incidents happened, and the risk was genuine.
“What’s in the report is true,” said Martha Deutscher, a spokeswoman for the security service. “This is indeed a sanitized version, which leaves a lot of questions.”
Top suspects, according to outside experts: China, Russia or even France ‚Äî all said to actively run espionage operations inside Canada with enough sophistication to produce such technology. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service said it knew nothing about the coins.”

I found nothing on the U.S. Defense Security Service (http://www.dss.mil/) site about this.
Sounds like something from a spy novel or movie script.
I’m sure there are many odd and weird spy things that really go on in the spy world; the famous case of the spy being poisoned with radioactive poison demonstrates that.
However, this person-tracking-coin doesn’t sound like something non-spies, like most of us, need to worry about. If you find one of these plug nickel types of coins, try attaching it to your cat’s or dog’s collar; if your pet comes back dressed as Frank the Dog, then maybe there’s something to worry about.

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