Big Brother is RFIDing you

Posted by Sylvie Barak

One of the eerier, more big brotherish bits of tech on display at this year’s CES in Las Vegas was a "specimen" ID card from Samsung combining both RFID and OLED to produce biometric video of one’s floating, unsmiling head from all angles.

The unnerving prototype card looks just like a regular European ID card, except that it sports a small embedded OLED display, which summons up your ghostly, incorporeal head when waved in front of an ISO 14443 RFID card reader, doing a freaky Meryl Streep “Death Becomes Her” 360 spin.

So that lump protruding out of the back of your head? Dead giveaway, we’re afraid!

OLED, which is an acronym for Organic Light Emitting Diode is fashioned out of "organic" material bunged between two conductors and two glass plates to serve as a seal.

The technology is billed as having lightning quick response times, along with wide viewing angles, sharp color reproduction, good contrast levels and high brightness, although all that goodness means the displays can reach ridiculously high prices.

The main advantage of the displays - and probably the main reason world governments are expressing such an interest in them for identification and security documents - is that OLEDs are so incredibly thin and weigh next to nothing, making them highly flexible and ideal for incorporating into passports, IDs and perhaps even credit cards in the future.

It looks like the German government is already well on its way to adopting the cards, so no doubt it won’t be long until the rest of Europe follows suit. After all, it certainly is quite a head turning technology - literally.

Now, where are those civil liberty advocates when you need one?