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Malaysia will use RFID stickers to track vehicles

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If you're planning to drive in Malaysia in the next few years, don't expect to maintain a lot of privacy. The country plans to implement RFID-equipped road tax stickers that will help authorities track all vehicles, whether they're local or foreign. It'll start with a pilot program at a border checkpoint this October, but it should expand to cover the whole of Malaysia by 2018. And don't think of trying to take the sticker off -- it'll shatter and transmit a warning if you try to tamper with it.

The RFID system is officially intended to deter thieves and other criminals, and it'll also help pinpoint congestion through real-time traffic monitoring. As you might have guessed, though, this raises the prospect of potential abuse. Authorities could theoretically use the tracking to follow the cars of peaceful political activists and others whose only real crime is challenging the status quo. And while officials promise that the associated identification codes are encrypted, there's no absolute guarantee that the tracking data will remain secure. As helpful as the smart stickers could be, there's a real risk that they could hurt a lot of innocent people.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin]

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