Banknote 'bugs' in your pocket
Dan Atkinson, Mail on Sunday
21 November 2004
ELECTRONIC 'smart' tags could be embedded in £50 notes within ten years,
allowing the state to invade people's financial privacy further, warns a
leading academic. Some Japanese notes are already fitted with the
devices and the European Central Bank is likely to follow suit next year.
America's Federal Reserve is also thought to be interested in tagging
high denomination dollar bills.
'Britain will not be far behind,' said Professor Ian Angell, head of the
information systems department at the London School of Economics.
'Within a decade, £50 notes, at least, are likely to be carrying these
The devices, which give off radio signals, are already being introduced
into clothing by major chains and are being used around the world to
keep track of pets and livestock.
But in a new paper for the LSE, Angell and PhD student Jan Kietzmann
warn that the tags will be 'embedded' in banknotes, helping Government
agencies to track private flows of money. 'The state will know exactly
how much cash is being carried, who is carrying it and who has carried
it previously,' according to Angell.