MaS is about computer security, malware and spam issues in general.

2008/07/18

DARPA wants to make soldier more easily targetable

A very long time ago - nearly another life ago - I helped a military contractor who had a security breach try to see what the scope of the breach was. In the process I learned quite a bit about battlefield communications. So, you can imagine my surprise to read this article in The Register about outfitting every soldier with a long distance readable RFID tag (not the type in the picture on the right, by the way). Readable from 150 km, no less! Considering all the pains the contractor I worked with went through to prevent any form of RF to be emitted, I find this technology rather bizarre. 
I could imagine the tag being useful for training and maneuvers. I could also imagine it being useful as a last resort for a soldier to be located when lost or wounded in theater and to be fair, in the referenced presentation it mentions (once) that the tag is 'inert', which may mean that it needs to be activated before it sends a beacon. That might be an acceptable application.
What worries me is that UAVs are now so cheap and accessible that I could easily imagine even small states being able to afford a small fleet of UAVs that swarm over enemy troops in theater and home in on these tags. Or other forms of identifiable RF radiation, such as from a FCW Land Terminals. 
I hope they know what they are doing, but I have my doubts.

1 comment:

JL said...

Check out the RFID readers that were on display at HOPE. I had walked by them several times before I realized what that beeping was...