Philippines, Honduras Are Embracing RFID Technology To Track Citizens' Movements

In the not-too-distant future, law enforcement will be able to easily track our movements thanks to microchips, which some workers - as we’ve previously reported.

Indeed, some people are happily lining up to be microchipped - even throwing parties to celebrate their coworkers embracing the microchipping phenomenon, without any regard to how this technology could be used to further totalitarian aims.

As technology that tracks our movements becomes more widespread, an unassuming article in a trade journal about RFID technology - which uses radio signals to track movements of people or products - highlights a portentous development: Honduras, the Philippines and the Cayman Islands are deploying license plates with RFID technology to help track their citizens’ movements on highways and other roads.

The specific technology being used by these three countries are called the IDePlate and IDeSTIX. The former is implanted in license plates while the latter is in innocuously attached to a car’s windshield. Together, they allow authorities to track their citizens, while also providing a fallback in case a license plate is stolen.


The RFID technology, developed by the Dutch firm Tonnjes E.A.S.T, uses cryptography to verify the owner of a car, which can then be ascertained by the operator of a scanner similar to the license plate scanners that are already in wide use by police in the US (which, as we pointed out several years ago, will soon be operated by drones).

Tonnjes offers governments the hardware needed to fabricate and install the tags, while also providing the software to program them.

The RFID-enabled plate is designed to be forgery-proof, says Jochen Betz, Tönnjes' managing director. The UCODE DNA IC uses cryptographic authentication based on the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Each time a tag is interrogated, it generates a new AES calculation based on its unique crypto key, which the reader receives and is programmed to verify. That ID number can then be linked to data about the vehicle and registration in a database.

By using both the IDePlate and IDeStix, the system enables users to identify any misuse of license plates. The problem with plate identification alone, the company explains, is that it cannot detect if the wrong plate is attached to a car. "Plate theft is very difficult to avoid," Betz states, so the IDeStix provides a level of redundancy. The IDeStix is a hologram-printed windshield sticker that is placed on the window's interior.

The RFID-enabled sticker can be interrogated simultaneously with the plate tag, and can then respond with its own encrypted code that is linked to the vehicle's information. Tönnjes sells the RFID-enabled blank or finished plates to government agencies and offers equipment to emboss a plate number. They can then use their own software to link each tag's encoded RFID number with the plate ID.

While governments are just beginning to roll out these systems, RFID Journal notes that one potential complication in rolling out the windshield-sticker tags (which, again, are necessary to compensate for license-plate theft) is the number of tags already attached to vehicles, mostly by their manufacturers, to track their movements.

When it comes to the capturing and filtering of data, Betz notes, one software-based challenge for a system like this is the large number of RFID tags already attached to parts of most modern vehicles. In fact, he estimates, there can be 15 or more RFID tags on a single car, most attached to parts that were being tracked by the manufacturer prior to the car's sale. "We don't want to talk to 17 tags [on a single car]," he states. Therefore, the system is designed to screen out all tag reads that are not recognized as part of the IDePlate system.

In the Cayman Islands, the RFID-tagging system was adopted last year, with the island’s government installing checkpoint readers (also created by Tonnjes) to capture vehicles’ information.

In the Cayman Islands, the system was taken live in 2017, with approximately 50,000 vehicles now equipped with the RFID-enabled plates and windshield stickers. Between five and 10 checkpoint readers provided by Tönnjes are scheduled to be installed around the county. The company supplies the middleware and software that captures the tag ID reader data and feeds that information, linked to the vehicle IDs, to the Cayman Island government's vehicle database. The reader installation is posing a unique challenge, Betz says, since the devices had to be mounted on hurricane-proof gantries. The Cayland Islands government needs to ensure that the gantries would be able to sustain high winds.

The Philippines has ordered millions of plates to begin rolling out its own system…

In addition, the Land Transportation Office (LTO), a department of the Philippine Ministry of Transport, has hired Tönnjes to deliver 3.25 million of its license plates for cars and motorcycles. The government is also purchasing IDeSTIX windscreen labels for 775,000 cars, and IDeSTIX Headlamp Tags for 1.7 million motorcycles.

And Turkey is also piloting the technology...

Turkey has also piloted the technology with vehicles on a testing course of the country's traffic police, while a trial in Russia tracked the movements of public buses throughout the city of Kazan. In addition, Tönnjes and Kirpestein are in discussions with the government of the Netherlands to conduct an open-road pilot, and is also in talks with vehicle authorities in that country regarding further pilots of the technology.

...Which means it’s only a matter of time before it arrives in the US...


Sudden Debt Sat, 03/10/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

That's just stupid. Better install smart camera's connected to a good network.


rfid only works when they pass a scanner and doesn't tell that much

thisandthat Sudden Debt Sat, 03/10/2018 - 18:29 Permalink

Electronic toll devices have been using rfid for decades now. The system in use in Portugal can scan at over 200km/h, and all they really need to transmit is the license plate nb.

Unlike cameras, they're cheap and work without visibility.

Electronic license plates like these that gov intended to mandate years ago, have been rejected precisely over privacy concerns, though l have no doubt at some time in the future they're going to be back on the agenda, this time as some Eu wide imposition over some bogus security/safety claim (and then it will be all kosher).

In reply to by Sudden Debt

RKae Sat, 03/10/2018 - 16:39 Permalink

It's high time that scientists got over the stupid dictum that they endlessly spout: "Science is neither good nor evil, it's all in how it's used."

So, yeah, just go ahead and keep inventing tracking tech and then put on your surprised face when governments get a hard-on from it.

Whore scientists have already ruined 99% of our food, so now they're working diligently to ruin the rest of our existence.

Bubba Rum Das Oldguy05 Sat, 03/10/2018 - 22:47 Permalink

Croesus is right...
It's all about the shape & composition of your wave guide, & also how many watts you are pushing through your
magnetron...You can use a similar hi-powered system to blow up cell phone batteries & also burn nasty holes at 200 yards; depending on how things are configured.
You can also fuck people up really badly w/ similar devices. The See Aye Eh does it on a regular basis.

In reply to by Oldguy05

floosy Sat, 03/10/2018 - 16:49 Permalink

"...Which means it’s only a matter of time before it arrives in the US..."


Never heard of SunPass etc etc?  What do you think they use? Magic Unicorns?

Rhal Sat, 03/10/2018 - 16:54 Permalink

Kind of an obsolete approach. Most people already pay for their tracking device, complete with camera and microphone.

If I were running a police state, I'd have computers tracking your time/distance driving down the highway and a speeding ticket mailed out to you if you reached your destination too soon. The only reason they don't tax you this way now is because they don't want to show you just how monitored you already are.

Jeffersonian Liberal Rhal Sun, 03/11/2018 - 13:45 Permalink

Close, but not really.

There are a couple of reasons they do not use your suggestion.

First, they would lose in court using your method. If you got to a destination a known distance away sooner than you should have had you followed the speed limits (and calculating any time not-in-motion due to stop signs and traffic lights and traffic itself), they could only conclude that you 'had sped.' They would not be able to determine by how much you sped. You could have driven at 5 MPH in a 45 zone for most of the distance and then sped at 130 MPH for the last mile. That is a different crime than averaging 10 MPH over the limit.

So, if they tried to assign a ticket to you in this regard, the burden of proof based time/distance would hand them a defeat.

But there is a more important reason they won't use that method.

What they want to do is get a 'smarter' 'black box' on board every vehicle and have it gather very specific data, time traveling, time at rest, distance traveled, points-of-destiny, speed, type of gas you are using. They will gather this information, transmit it from the black box to data-collection points and database that information.

You see, they do want to tax us for our travel (even though we already pay that tax when we buy the gas, when we pay taxes for infrastructure, etc.). But taxing is not enough. They want to track our movements, our habits, our lives. Their goal is not only to tax us for using our freedoms, they want to firmly implant in our minds that, no matter how free we think we are to go wherever we want to whenever we want to, 'they' are watching us, can descend upon us at any moment.

In reply to by Rhal

Yen Cross Sat, 03/10/2018 - 17:12 Permalink

     Excuse me if I'm wrong, but there's big difference between license plate readers, and chips inside of license plates doing the reading.

   One thing that's really perplexed me over the last 10-15 years is how all this information can be accurately correlated and disseminated?

  The fucking credit bureaus, DMV, IRS, Banks, can't even manage to properly handle or use our most sensitive personal information, and somehow this is a good idea?

  Why don't they just put ankle bracelets on everyone?

effendi Yen Cross Sat, 03/10/2018 - 18:42 Permalink

They don't need to put ankle bracelets on us. Most people already have smart phones (I had to get one to send in my time sheets to my employer otherwise I'd have stuck to my old phone). Also nothing stopping Big Brother reading those other 10-15 chips in the car and linking them to you owning that car. Might be easy to find and zap the government chip on the number plate and windscreen but can you find the chips inside your car components? even if you could find and zap the chips the fact that your car will not give a chip reading when you go past a scanner will be a red flag to the authorities that you are a rebel/terrorist/survivalist etc and cause you to be pulled over and searched.

In reply to by Yen Cross

wally_12 Sat, 03/10/2018 - 17:18 Permalink

My Smartphone already does the same thing. I went to Home Depot for plumbing supplies and when I returned, there was a plumbing ad and a robocall call for plumbing. The GPS feature tells where you are at all times.

Hillarys Server wally_12 Sat, 03/10/2018 - 19:49 Permalink

I went downstairs and put some oats in a bowl and added some other grains and added milk and then sliced a banana and put it top.

I had my iPhone next to the banana as I was slicing and was listening to Stefan Molypants talk to a suicidal Millenial about "reason, evidence, philosophy and Western civilization" on the iPhone YouTube ap as I sliced.

And I went upstairs and checked the Drudge Report as I was eating and it had an ad for bananas!

I would have been even more freaked out if Stefan said "reason, evidence and ... bananas".

In reply to by wally_12