Abstract: The invention provides a control system responsive to a data-bearing record that has two electrodes configured so that one of the two is either in physical contact with, or is at least more nearly proximate, a reader plate than is the other electrode. The reader portion of the system may use a pulsed capacitive apparatus both to sense the object or user's proximity and thereafter for data communication with the escort apparatus e.g., to receive data representative of a bearer's identity. A preferred data bearing escort apparatus is powered by electrical voltage pulses generated by the reader. This preferred escort apparatus comprises a microcomputer and a non-volatile escort memory, but does not contain a battery. Moreover, because the electrodes disposed on the data-bearing record can be very thin, as well as being proscribed in lateral extent, the data-bearing record may be conveniently small.