Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Pants Of Paranoia! (UPDATED)

There is an RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) chip somewhere in my new pair of jeans, and everywhere I went yesterday the alarms went off whenever I entered or left a store. This is the doing of either an underpaid Old Navy employee or possibly The Government. Logic would dictate that it's the former, rather than the latter.

"Perfect paranoia is perfect awareness" -G. Gordon Liddy

I went out again to do my consumerly duty, and wore completely different clothes other than my jeans, and didn't take my cell phone. And once again I set off every alarm I walked through.

Here's the punchline: I realized while I was out today setting off alarms that I've had these jeans about a month and a half. I've warn them and washed them a few times. They didn't start setting off alarms until yesterday.

My reading on the Internet would seem to indicate that the only RFID-style identification Old Navy uses is a passive system... one that doesn't store data, but simply sits there in an on/off mode. You buy the thing, they deactivate it, end of story. Besides, that thing is a big square patch that you'd find soon enough. It wouldn't be there after repeated washings if you had somehow missed it.

And what the hell would turn a deactivated RFID device BACK ON? I don't recall being electrocuted recently...

I have a long history of electronics karma. And as the world advances, this sort of thing seems to come up more and more often.

I may have discovered The Disability Of The Future.

Day Three:

I found the RFID tag rolled up in a seam in the inside left leg of my jeans. Yes, it's a passive-type anti-shoplifting/inventory control type RFID... on/off only.

This still doesnt explain how the thing became charged again... or maybe is doesn't explain why it became discharged for a limited period of time, if you prefer.

I must call Old Navy about this. I'm sure they have a phone bank of intelligent customer service people who are dying to answer this and any other Old Navy questions. Like, for example, why do they have the lighting in there so damned bright that you'd think you were having a near-death experience?

UPDATE

August 27/07: I still have no idea why an RFID chip would re-start itself. It remains an interesting question. Mostly, these days, I save my paranoia for the government. And squirrels.

1 comment:

macadavy said...

Welcome to the future!
We're still working on the RFID that sets off alarms everywhere when you think wrong (left) rather right thoughts. When its ready we're going to stick it in your left ear...
;-)