Are these masks from China tracking you?


Watch this video ad and you will see mini geo-tracking devices embedded in surgical masks, like the ones we’re all wearing if we don’t want to suffocate, get “mascne” or mouth thrush. These guys are all stirred up. After all the makes were made in China and we all know they’re following us through the Internet of Things (IoT), right?

Well, the answer is not quite as dramatic – it might be slightly sinister but it’s probably not. Turns out these are RFID embeds.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. An RFID tag consists of a tiny radio transponder; a radio receiver and transmitter. When triggered by an electromagnetic interrogation pulse (as in the phone app above) from a nearby RFID reader device, the tag transmits digital data, usually an identifying inventory number, back to the reader. It’s used when a defective item from a batch is identified to find out where the rest of the batch ended up.

Could it follow you specifically? Only if there was something to identify you other than location.