New rumours about spy chips in Euro notes

By EDRi · January 26, 2005

There is a renewed rumour that the European Central Bank is going to add
spy chips (RFIDs) to Euro banknotes. ‘Czerwensky intern’, a German
newsletter providing bank and insurance background reports, says the ECB
might have already signed contracts with Hitachi, and is ready to
introduce the spy-notes this year. Allegedly, the contract requires such a
high volume of RFIDs that Hitachi can’t deliver all chips itself, but has
to rely on subcontractors.

Earlier rumours (dating back to 2001) about plans to track and trace all
Euro notes with the help of RFIDs were strongly denied by the ECB. On 4
June 2003 EDRI-gram reported about a press release from Hitachi announcing
negotiations about the contract to Japanese investors. The RFIDs in euro
banknotes could help against counterfeiting and make it possible to detect
money hidden in suitcases at airports. But the technology would also
enable a mugger to check if a victim has given all of his money. If RFIDs
are embedded in banknotes, governments and law enforcement agencies can
literally ‘follow the money’ in every transaction. The anonymity that cash
affords in consumer transactions would be eliminated.

According to the biannual report from the ECB on the counterfeiting of the
euro, released on 13 January 2005, the amount of counterfeited euro
banknotes is still very low. It has risen 8% compared to 2003, “but the
recent trend has been downwards.”

EZB: Die intelligente Euro-Note kommt noch in diesem Jahr (German, 25.01.2005, access restricted)

EZB ‘Intelligente’ Euro-Note kommt noch 2005 (German, 25.01.2005)

Hitachi mu-chip

Biannual information on the counterfeiting of the euro (13.01.2005)