I feel RFID is greatly misunderstood, and deliberately misrepresented, by those with axes to grind regarding surveillance, as although the more usual passive type of RFID can technically be read from a few metres distance in ideal condition, it is very sensitive to interference from other metal items making random distance attacks infeasible. Just in case you are really paranoid, as pictured above, Kitty chan can protect you! To find out what the average Japanese does with their IC Chipped cards, JR Tokai Express Research Inc performed a survey on this very subject of IC Cards.
Over the 30th and 31st of January 2008 330 members of the JR Tokai Express Research monitor group employed in either the private or public sector completed an online survey. 78.8% were male, 9.1% in their twenties, 38.5% in their thirties, 36.1% in their forties, 11.8% in their fifties, and 4.2% in their sixties.
I have three chipped credit cards, with one of them doubling as an employee ID card, and an ICOCA train pass so I’m actually slightly below the average.
First of all, IC chips within mobile phones (Osaifu Keitai) were excluded from the survey. Of the 330 people, 91.8% carried one or more IC-enabled card. These 303 people were then asked the following questions.
Q1: Which of the following kinds of IC chip-enabled cards do you carry? (Sample size=303, multiple answer)
Votes Percentage Credit card 194 66.7% Suica (JR East train pass) 161 55.3% Edy 144 49.5% Cash card 136 44.9% ETC card 136 44.9% Work identity card, gate pass 95 31.4% PASMO (Tokyo-area train pass) 61 20.1% ICOCA (JR West train pass) 58 19.1% IC chipped passport 56 18.5% TOICA (JR Central train pass) 36 11.9% Point card 33 10.9% Driving licence 27 8.9% Resident ID card 26 8.6% IC telephone card 12 4.0% Personal identifaction card 11 3.6% Student ID card 0 0.0% Don’t know 1 0.3% Other 10 3.0%
Q2: How many IC chip-enabled cards do you carry? (Sample size=303)
One card 7.2% Two cards 14.4% Three cards 17.5% Four cards 11.7% Five cards 12.0% Six or more cards 34.4% Don’t know 2.7%
Q3: About how often do you use IC chip-enabled cards? (Sample size=303)
Twice a day or more 32.6% Once a day 20.3% Twice, thrice a week 16.2% Once a week 12.7% Once a month 10.0% Less than that 6.5% Don’t use them 1.0% Don’t know 0.7%