Q: Is it true there are plans to put RFID chips in Euro banknotes?
A: Hitachi has been working with the European Central Bank on the idea of putting RFID chips into Euro banknotes. This would eliminate the anonymity of cash by making it trackable. In essence, it would “register” your cash to you when you get it from the teller or take it out of the ATM. Euro banknotes could be RFID tagged as early as 2005. See: “Euro Notes May be Radio Tagged” at,,t295-s2135074,00.html for details.

Q: Does U.S. currency contain RFID chips?
A: To the best of our knowledge, US currency does NOT currently contain RFID chips.

Q: What’s the read range of these chips? Can they be tracked by satellite?
A: There are two types of tags: “passive” (no independent power source) and “active” (containing a battery or attached to one). Depending on a number of factors (antenna size, RF frequency, environmental conditions etc.) a passive tag can have a range of anywhere from 1 inch to 40 feet. Active tags can have a read range of miles or more. Most tags being considered for use in consumer products are passive.

Q: Is CASPIAN aware of any RFID tags in shoes?
A: We are aware of at least one company that uses embedded RFID technology in shoes for security purposes. According to the shoe company, the RFID labels they use do not contain unique product information. Rather, the RFID labels reportedly serve only to trigger an alarm if a consumer leaves the store without paying for the shoes. (Note that at a June 2003 RFID conference in Chicago, Alien Technology displayed a Wal-Mart Athletic Works® running shoe with an Alien RFID tag inserted under the insole. Alien said that the shoe was for display purposes only and that there were no planned/current trials or applications in those shoes. However, there was much excitement at the conference over the possibilities for RFID chips in shoes. Their stated reason for wanting to chip shoes was to keep shoe sizes together and match pairs. In our opinion, pervasive RFID chipping of shoes will become a frightening reality unless we tell companies that we will not buy products with chips!)