Canadian RFID spy coin story retracted

January 19th, 2007

spy coinLast week’s news included reports that the DoD had discovered Canadian coins with hidden radio transmitters had been planted on DoD contractors with classified security clearances. The report in question was Technology Collection Trends in the U.S. Defense Industry issued by the Defense Security Service.

On at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006, cleared defense contractors’ employees traveling through Canada have discovered radio frequency transmitters embedded in Canadian coins placed on their persons.

It sure sounded like an implausible story. For example, the metal in the false coins would interfere with the radio transmissions and a planted coins could easily be separated from the target by being spent.

Today the news is that the DSS has acknowledged that the story is false.

A statement in the 2006 Defense Security Service Technology Collection Trends in the U.S. Defense Industry report which claimed radio frequency transmitters were discovered embedded in Canadian coins is not true, according to DSS officials. This statement was based on a report provided to DSS. The allegations, however, were found later to be unsubstantiated following an investigation into the matter.