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Canadian Espionage?
January 11, 2007 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Canadian spy monies?! The Defense Department has issued a warning to its American contractor employees. Apparently, Canadian coins have been outfitted with embedded RFID transmitters. Not the first instance of RFIDs in monies either. Explosive consequences. Elsewhere, whats the point? RFID previously on Metafilter.
posted by beta male (32 comments total)

 
RFID in coins? Why? That seems ridiculous. What's the value of being able to count money without looking at it? Since when are coins hard for machines to distinguish and count?
posted by delmoi at 1:53 PM on January 11, 2007


Follow the money.
posted by hal9k at 1:56 PM on January 11, 2007


Mmmmm, trackable.

It's a shame this isn't a story about Euros, so we can find out just why all those Irish banknotes are saturated in cocaine.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:57 PM on January 11, 2007


No way. I thought Canadian spying meant using outdoor tracking skills to locate the other guy's canoe. Maybe listening in on a conversation at Tim Horton's.

Seriously though, really?
posted by arcticwoman at 2:00 PM on January 11, 2007


from boingboing:

Andrew says: Thought you might be interested in this followup article on the subject from The Globe & Mail:

It quotes an un-named US government official as saying that the report is overblown, and that all that happened was that the contractors were given certain special-issue that they were unfamiliar with. My guess is that it was either the Remembrance Day Poppy quarter or the Breast Cancer Ribbon quarter both of which have colours printed on them that result in the coin having a rather strange texture and appearance.
posted by imaswinger at 2:02 PM on January 11, 2007


Spy vs. Spy
posted by caddis at 2:02 PM on January 11, 2007


I suck at posting... forgot link/formatting
globe and mail link
posted by imaswinger at 2:05 PM on January 11, 2007


Damn you beta! I was just composing a post about this. Yours looks better though.

delmoi, they apparently aren't doing it to track the money but to track the movements of the American defense contractors that are carrying the money.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 2:05 PM on January 11, 2007


No way. I thought Canadian spying meant using outdoor tracking skills to locate the other guy's canoe. Maybe listening in on a conversation at Tim Horton's.



Fear the almighty CSIS.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 2:12 PM on January 11, 2007


First, just to clarify: "radio transmitter" ≠ RFID. RFID is about transmitting a fixed serial number when its asked for (or sometimes broadcasting it regularly). With the banknotes, the RFID tag contains a serial number which is used to verify the authenticity of the bill. This is *not* the same as plugging a microphone into a radio transmitter and hiding it in a potted plant.

Second: a radio the size of a coin is going to have a really short range. In order to track things with short ranges you need *lots* of antennas pretty close to the thing you want to track. "radio antenna" ≠ GPS.

Third: as common sense and imaswinger point out, the original report's overblown.
posted by hugo at 2:13 PM on January 11, 2007


So these contractors get a poppy quarter or a breast cancer quarter in their change, and proceed to suspect that it's some kind of tracking device? Aren't Defense contractors supposed to be smart or something?
posted by CKmtl at 2:16 PM on January 11, 2007


In another case, a film processing company called the FBI after it developed pictures for a contractor that contained classified images of U.S. satellites and their blueprints. The photo was taken from an adjoining office window.

Oh, please. Spies develop their film at Wal-Mart?!
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:16 PM on January 11, 2007


From the Glbe and Mail link -

"But a U.S. agency that investigated the complaint found no evidence of any secret transmitters, or of any other tampering."

In other words - This is all bullshit.
posted by Devidicus at 2:19 PM on January 11, 2007


*Globe
posted by Devidicus at 2:20 PM on January 11, 2007


We were on his tail right up to the first toll booth.
posted by furtive at 2:34 PM on January 11, 2007


Irish banknotes nothin', these Canadian coins are actually made out of hash.
posted by The Straightener at 2:40 PM on January 11, 2007


I knew the aluminum foil lining in my trousers would come in handy.
posted by Iron Rat at 3:05 PM on January 11, 2007


I'll take a nickel bag.
posted by oddman at 3:08 PM on January 11, 2007


And here I thought the Antichrist was supposed to be a Jew... could he be Canadian?
posted by wfrgms at 3:11 PM on January 11, 2007


Imagine the freakout if they had been forced to turn over their old Toronto transit tokens for the new ones.
posted by maudlin at 3:30 PM on January 11, 2007


That's it... time to invade Canada, hell why not, where trying to get the whole world pissed off at us lately so whats one more, more or less.

Alternatively, if I was a foreign government I sure as hell would want to track American Defense contractors in my country nowadays.
posted by edgeways at 3:46 PM on January 11, 2007


now apparently it's back to being true!
Link
posted by imaswinger at 4:20 PM on January 11, 2007


"Now"? That AOL story is timestamped 6:35 AM, isn't it? And this seems to be a variation on the original AP story.
posted by maudlin at 4:52 PM on January 11, 2007


This is an absolutely absurd story. As other versions of this story have already pointed out:

1) any transmitter able to fit inside a coin would have a very short range

2) if you were going to track people, why on earth would you hide the tracking device in something that's likely to end up inside a vending machine before the end of the day?

3) why would we care where American defense contractors go in Canada?

Honestly, I just watched Canadian Bacon the other day and it sounds like somethings straight out of that plot.
posted by Zinger at 5:33 PM on January 11, 2007


This particular incident seems to be bunk, but there is the potential for a powerful attack here. It is a relatively new area of research in the security community but it has already produced some very strong results.

For those who are interested, you can start here.
posted by event at 5:46 PM on January 11, 2007


The tracking device is so they know who knows the coins are made of hash and who is smoking them. When you get to the center of the coin and touch the sensor with an open flame it sets off a signal that the Canadian government can track with GPS to find your exactly location. Then they helicopter in pizzas and two fours.
posted by The Straightener at 6:01 PM on January 11, 2007


Wow, Where's Willy is way ahead of Where's George.
posted by bink at 6:16 PM on January 11, 2007


You all have no idea. Canadians are running the world. The day will come when we shall leave the planet, and when that day comes, we shall say "So long, and thanks for all the chicory."


I've said too much.
posted by stray at 12:12 AM on January 12, 2007


Tabernac Stray. Report to the reeducation camp in Chibougamou. Please.
posted by smcniven at 6:14 AM on January 12, 2007


This whole Iraq and Iran thing is just a ruse. We're really going to surprise the fuck out of Canada on the way home.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:36 AM on January 12, 2007


Heh, that's what you think. I happen to know Canada's been doing your wife. In fact, she's up there right now....
posted by lodurr at 10:35 AM on January 13, 2007


Oops -- U.S. Retracts Claim about Canadian 'Spy Coins.'
posted by ericb at 5:32 PM on January 21, 2007


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