German students develop RFID zapper

SSN Staff  - 
Wednesday, March 1, 2006

BERLIN--Two tech-savvy college students here have developed a way to turn a simple disposable camera into a device that emits an electromagnetic pulse to disable RFID tags, the RFID Journal reported recently. A German privacy organization called FoeBuD plans to use their plans to manufacture and distribute the RFID Zapper to the European market.
Calling themselves MiniMe and Mahajivana, the students say their motivation was the use of RFID tags to track consumer goods, which they worried could then be used to track consumer movements. Thus, they say they have designed a way to replace the camera's flash with a coil of coated copper wire, connect the capacitor to an on/off switch, and then reconnect the capacitor to the old flash connection. When the shutter is pressed an electromagnetic pulse is emitted and the tag's circuitry is fried.
Currently, the pair said they have only tested the device on 13.56 MHz tags. They don't recommend using the zapper on electrical devices containing RFID tags, as the zapper may zap the electrical devices' guts as well.