Thursday, January 27, 2005

Rumours about spy chips in cash

The following link was sent by a regular correspondent ...

Bearing in mind that rumours are rumours, this one is rather interesting and perhaps chilling:

New rumours about spy chips in Euro notes | EDRI: "

There is a renewed rumour that the European Central Bank is going to add spy chips (RFIDs) to Euro banknotes. 'Czerwensky intern', a German newsletter providing bank and insurance background reports, says the ECB might have already signed contracts with Hitachi, and is ready to introduce the spy-notes this year. Allegedly, the contract requires such a high volume of RFIDs that Hitachi can't deliver all chips itself, but has to rely on subcontractors.

Earlier rumours (dating back to 2001) about plans to track and trace all Euro notes with the help of RFIDs were strongly denied by the ECB. On 4 June 2003 EDRI-gram reported about a press release from Hitachi announcing negotiations about the contract to Japanese investors. The RFIDs in euro banknotes could help against counterfeiting and make it possible to detect money hidden in suitcases at airports. But the technology would also enable a mugger to check if a victim has given all of his money. If RFIDs are embedded in banknotes, governments and law enforcement agencies can literally 'follow the money' in every transaction. The anonymity that cash affords in consumer transactions would be eliminated.

According to the biannual report from the ECB on the counterfeiting of the euro, released on 13 January 2005, the amount of counterfeited euro banknotes is still very low. It has risen 8% compared to 2003, "but the recent trend has been downwards."..."

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