Mythbusters Host Retracts RFID Censorship Comments

Mythbusters host Adam Savage is retracting comments he made at a hackers conference where he said an episode exposing security flaws in credit card RFID technology was squelched by credit card company lawyers. In a new statement Adam says, ” If I went into the detail of exactly why this story didn’t get filmed, it’s so bizarre and convoluted that no one would believe me, but suffice to say…the decision not to continue on with the RFID story was made by our production company, Beyond Productions, and had nothing to do with Discovery, or their ad sales department.”

‘MythBusters’ co-host backpedals on RFID kerfuffle [Cnet] (Thanks to Dariush!)
PREVIOUSLY: Mythbusters Gagged: Credit Card Companies Kill Episode Exposing RFID Security Flaws

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  1. cubsd says:

    Right…..we all believe you, Adam.

  2. AgentTuttle says:

    Big surprise. The lawyer spooks visited him in the night too. RFID can be used for evil and is easily hackable. End of story.

  3. WEGGLES90 says:

    Oh, that’s not so bad. The old comment just noted how discovery generated $$$ with ads. I thought the entire statement was retracted.

  4. m4ximusprim3 says:

    This should be recaptioned: “Mythbusters Star Values Kneecaps, Recants.”

  5. homerjay says:

    If they just stop talking about it the story would go away and the credit card companies can go on their merry way.
    Cue the Britany boy: “Leave Adam alone!”

  6. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    Mythbusters become myth themselves, must now prove myth is busted.

  7. stevejust says:

    Mythbusters should do an episode on the myth that the Credit Card industry put the smack down on Mythbusters one day. You know. Someday in the future. I wonder if they’ll be able to show it’s just an urban legend.

  8. hornrimsylvia says:

    I’ll volunteer for the masked anonymous pirate version of the mythbusters. Actually it sounds like someone should write it in to the middle of a book like Fight Club. That would be fun!

    • ohenry says:

      @hornrimsylvia: The Fight Club version of this story…sounds interesting. This is where we find out that Adam Savage and the Credit Card companies are indeed one and the same, one just hallucinating the other.

      Therefore, there is no credit card debt, just Adam Savage. Sounds like an easy enough fix.

  9. whew….i cam a ton.

  10. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    Even scarier is that RFID is now inserted into your passport. Will security use RFID as a crutch and we actually lose some security?

    • Chongo says:

      @vitonfluorcarbon: I’ve read that you can take the new passports and wrap them up in some towels and then bash it with a hammer to break the RFID. Then when you go to use it and it does not work, they will visually inspect it instead.

      No idea how legal it is so in the words of the mythbusters themselves “DONT TRY THIS AT HOME… EVER!”

      anyone know of this?

      • Scudder says:

        @Chongo: I heard a similar scenario using a microwave oven to destroy the RFID. Of course, you’d prolly get a free trip to Guantanimo for attempting something like this. Luckily, I renewed my passport just before they started this.

      • TheNerd says:

        Know how I know who’s the one most likely to tell a lie here? The one who has the most money to lose. Now, I don’t think Mythbusters will lose a lot of money no matter what their reason is for not airing one particular show, but Discovery stands to lose millions if RFID is shown to have problems. Businesses are slaves to their wallets, not to the truth – don’t ever forget that fact.

        @Chongo: The instructions with my passport say “do not bend”, so I would assume that’s for a reason. Bash away!

    • sicknick says:

      @vitonfluorcarbon: Not that scary. 30 seconds in any microwave destroys it, and you aren’t required to replace it.

  11. dorianh49 says:

    “I reject your reality and substitute my own!”

  12. dohtem says:

    Adam Not-So-Savage.

  13. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    Corporations own us all.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    The first rule about RFID Vulnerability Club is that you don’t talk about RFID Vulnerability Club.

    Although I would have to see a MythBusters episode showing how, y’know, secure they are before taking Adam’s retraction at face value.

  15. milesabove says:

    Did anybody else notice that Adam’s shirt during the conference actually says “Make stuff up”? Perhaps it was a ‘bizarre and convoluted’ conspiracy. Perhaps he was just following his t-shirt’s advice. Shame on you Adam.

    • milesabove says:

      @milesabove: PS – How’s that for 2 tons of irony?

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Lordy, no one’s going to buy that the credit card company wasn’t at least indirectly involved. It makes no sense not to air the episode otherwise.

      “Did anybody else notice that Adam’s shirt during the conference actually says “Make stuff up”?”
      @milesabove: That is awesome!

      I can’t hate on him for trying to keep his job. At least he made it public that they pulled the episode.

  16. DanKelley98 says:

    Sounds like Adam was either full of it to begin with or he was forced to recant. I vote for the latter.

  17. kyle4 says:

    “Do you want Discover to pull out advertising of our show Adam? Do you? Do you? Recant it now, NOW!”

    …..and so that’s how this happened.

  18. Shadowman615 says:

    Yeah, okay Adam. Right on.

  19. LesterGaze says:

    @scudder, @sicknick: microwaving them leaves telltale burn marks. have fun explaining that.

    suck it up and spend the $20 for an RFID-blocking passport wallet, such as http://www.difrwear.com

  20. Bakkster_Man says:

    Well, they also didn’t show the recipe for thermite on the show. Their production company would obviously rather err on the side of caution when it comes to easily replicated things.

  21. FLConsumer says:

    So, if we read between the lines, what he said at the conference still stands. The only difference is that it’s between the production company and the CC cos and not Discovery and the CC cos. I still think there was something between Discovery and the production company about this as well, since Discovery has frowned upon several of the myths that they’ve wanted to try.

  22. ILoveVermont says:

    You don’t need to spend 20 bucks on a fancy case to block RFID – just wrap it in aluminum foil.

  23. Smash the chip with a hammer. If you do it right you will leave no marks. Do not microwave it.

  24. revmatty says:

    I’ve heard several interviews with him on The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast, and he is usually pretty precise in what he says. He gets things wrong on occasion and freely admits it, I’d want to see his entire original comment in context before coming to any conclusions.

  25. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I would lose a little respect for them over this…but they blew up a cement truck!
    Best. Explosion. Ever.
    Especially the sound.
    And again, you can ‘disable’ the RFID in your passport. ‘Google is your friend.’

    • Con Seannery says:

      This comment section violates two major internet laws:
      1) We don’t talk about Fight Club.
      2) WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!

      @doctor_cos: I know, right, that PWEEW it made, and the front end rocketing off of the screen. Beyond words.

  26. nogas2speed says:

    Apparently…Adam has a mortgage.

  27. Urgo says:

    Here is another video from the same conference where Adam fields a question about why they haven’t done a show on the September 11 events yet. It looks like the government already stopped him here as well, but he won’t say that:

  28. JollyJumjuck says:

    Most other industries would be scrambling with their PR and trying to fix the problem.
    But because the RFID industry is in bed with Big Government and the Federal Reserve, they cannot be questioned. Hell, if it could be conclusively proven that RFID causes cancer, the RFID industry would just squelch any research which points to such an idea, prevent the public from being informed, and continue making the devices as if nothing had happened.

  29. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Mythbuster, after years of exposure to dangerous scenarios, being hurt by explosions, burned, hair singed off, brused, banged, cut, even having his face sucked into a vacuum’s blower vanes, says enough is enough when faced with the most dangerous scenario of all… a visit from the corporate lawyers…

  30. TMurphy says:

    Wouldn’t they have to be satisfied if he simply said he “takes his comments seriously” ?

  31. midwestkel says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! They got to him! Why must the man be putting people down?

  32. Oh come on Ben! This story is kinda mis-labelled in my opinion. He did not recant the fact that ‘credit card companies threatened to kill our families’, he just said the companies threatened to kill Beyond Productions employees families and not Discovery’s employees families, as he had said earlier.

  33. mackjaz says:

    I’d like to hear the “convoluted” explanation. I’m all ears…

  34. Imakeholesinu says:

    This really does sound like a myth or a lie. Seriously, what does the CC companies have to hide?

  35. DeeJayQueue says:

    ok, he didn’t retract the fact that he in so many words said that RFIDs are crazy hackable and that the people who’ve got a lot to lose by everyone knowing that fact know how easily hackable they are.

    He simply changed who was on the other end of the phone with Tori and the researcher. The fact that the conference call took place, and what went down on it hasn’t changed, and that’s really the important part.

    If anything, his redaction and redirection is even more proof of how vulnerable these RFIDs really are. If they had nothing to lose by filming and airing that episode we’d see it by now.

    I’ve already seen shows on TV about how easy it is to gain access to RFID data on credit cards and EZ-Passes and similar things, and it’s kinda scary. On the other hand, I dont’ have an identity worth stealing, so I don’t lose much sleep over it.

  36. fisherstudios says:

    Oh man. As a general rule of thumb in the PR industry…. if you have to start your statement with “I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but…”

    DON’T SAY IT.