The world of espionage is rife with creative attempts to listen in on conversations, access devices, and keep tabs on people of interest. Russian President Vladimir Putin may or may not have attempted one of the most interesting when he gave a soccer ball to President Trump that contained a NFC chip.
Before anyone screams foul, it was likely inadvertent and not a bungled attempt to spy on Americans. The Near Field Communication chip was designed by Adidas to make it a “smart ball” that could transmit data relevant to soccer players. It’s relatively common and similar to the balls used during this year’s World Cup.
According to Adidas’ website, the digital technology is called “Near Field Communication” (NFC) which enables a phone or tablet to send “radio frequency signals” that interacts with the NFC chip. It allows players to access special information and games online after connecting. Adidas says the NFC tag cannot be modified and can only send information, not receive it.
“It is not possible to delete or rewrite the encoded parameters,” Adidas says.
As it turns out, the chip can allegedly be hacked, though reports of such things are scant. Who would hack a soccer ball chip?