RFID chip from library book
Diane was looking at a beautiful children’s book that she’d bought online. It was a discard form the San Diego County Library. We read recently that demand for “picture books” is declining as parents internalize the mistaken idea that “chapter books” without pictures are better for their young children – to the extent that libraries are getting rid of them. In the back cover of the book, she noticed a sticker without any writing on it. She picked at the edge of the sticker but it wouldn’t budge. “How can I remove this sticker?” she said.
It was an RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) sticker, consisting of a printed antenna with a little computer chip in the middle. The antenna collects power for the chip and re-transmits a code when passing through a sensor. The sticker was most assuredly not made to be removed without damaging the book. She didn’t want to set off any alarms carrying the book around. Not likely, I said, but let me see.
There was a little bump in the sticker – that would be the chip itself. I lifted it out with my pocketknife. It’s about two and a half fingerprint ridges wide. The sticker will remain where it is, antenna and all… but nobody’s home.