That hotel towel you’re stealing might have an RFID chip in it

(Amar Toor)   For many travelers, stealing hotel towels or bathrobes is more pastime than petty crime. Hotels, on the other hand, apparently take it more seriously. So seriously, in fact, that some have begun embedding specially crafted RFID tags within their linens, just to help us avoid “accidentally” stuffing them in our suitcases before heading to the check-out desk. The chips, designed by Miami-based Linen Technology Tracking, can be sewn directly into towels, bathrobes or bed sheets, and can reportedly withstand up to 300 wash cycles. If a tagged item ever leaves a hotel’s premises, the RFID chip will trip an alarm that will instantly alert the staff, and comprehensively humiliate the guilty party. The system has already paid dividends for one Honolulu hotel, which claims to have saved about $15,000 worth of linens since adopting the system last summer. But small-time crooks needn’t get too paranoid. In addition to the hotel in Hawaii, only two other establishments have begun tagging their towels — one in Manhattan, and one in Miami. All three, however, have chosen to remain anonymous, so swipe at your own (minimal) risk.

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