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e-Journal

 

The ABCs of RFID
(Released June 2007)

 
  by Marianne Stanczak  

Review

Key Citations

Resources

Glossary

Editor
 
Technological Wonder or
Orwellian Nightmare?

Contents

Inevitably, with new technology come new concerns. One advantageous use of RFID technology is for public transportation tickets. One fear is that by using the data amassed by ticketing, one could possibly acquire personal "information which may be of interest to the police, divorce lawyers and others."10

Another example of illegitimate use of RFID comes from the aptly named website "RFID Virus and Worms." The site claims that someone purchasing an item at a store could bring the item home and switch RFID tags with a "virus-infected tag." They would then return the item to the store, where it would be rescanned, thereby theoretically infecting the entire store's system(s).

Privacy is one of the major issues raised by people against RFID technology. Privacy groups are concerned about government usage of RFID to track individuals' lives without their knowledge. A group called CASPIAN - Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering11 - is one of several worried that RFID tags will not allow consumers to maintain a sense of anonymity.12 The claim has been made that "RFID readers have already been experimentally embedded into floor tiles, woven into carpet and floor mats, hidden in doorways, and seamlessly incorporated into retail shelving and counters, making it virtually impossible for a consumer to know when he or she was being 'scanned.'"13

     16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
     17 and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
     18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six

-Revelations 13:16-18

Perhaps the most alarming to RFID opponents is The Verichip, made by Applied Digital solutions, an RFID chip operating at 125 KHz that is embedded under the skin. Although claimed benefits of the Verichip include access to medical history and protection against identity theft, critics claim that the frequency range is "sufficient for door scanners,"14 which would be used to keep track of an implanted person's comings and goings.

fingers grasping tiny chip closeup of implant
Subcutaneous RFID implant Closeup of subcutaneous RFID implant

Whether you see RFID technology as the Mark of the Beast or a mark of faster, more efficient business practices, it is a rapidly growing field. Perhaps some day long lines at the local supermarket will be a thing of the past, and packaging and other industries will operate at lightning speed.

© 2007, ProQuest. All rights reserved.

List of Visuals

References

  1. The AIM Global Network [Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility]
    (AIM, Inc., 125 Warrendale-Bayne Road, Warrendale, PA 15086)

  2. Zebra - Printing Solutions for Business Improvement
    (Zebra Technologies Corporation, Corporate & International Headquarters, 333 Corporate Woods Parkway, Vernon Hills, Illinois, 60061-3109, USA)

  3. Clarke, R.H. et al. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Performance: The Effect of Tag Orientation and Package Contents, Packaging Technology & Science.Vol.19, pp. 45-54. Jan.-Feb. 2006

  4. Item level RFID market sizes and growth report: item level tagging is happening faster than many realize. USINGRFID, 17 July 2006, 2pp 2006

  5. Sullivan, L. Dhl Plans Rfid Tags for Every Package it Ships. Information Week, No. 1043, 13 June 2005, pp. 34

  6. Savastano, D. RFID and printed electronics: industry analysts forecast the continuing growth of RFID to be USD10bn in a decade. Ink World, Vol. 12, No. 5, May 2006

  7. RFID and printed electronics: industry analysts forecast the continuing growth of RFID to be USD10bn in a decade. Ink World, Vol. 12, No. 5, May 2006

  8. Anderson, S.A. U.S. to issue passports embedded with a chip: new US security passports to be introduced. Wall St.J., Vol. XXIV, No. 134, 10 Aug. 2006

  9. Prairie Trails deploys wireless RFID system. Advanced Technology Libraries, vol.35, no.5, pp.8-9, May 2006

  10. RFID Viruses and Worms
    (Main building VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, The Netherlands)

  11. Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Surveillance Regulation Campaign (including Public CCTV, etc.)
    (spy.org.uk)

  12. Privacy Right Clearinghouse (Nonprofit Consumer Information and Advocacy Organization)
    (3100 - 5th Ave., Suite B, San Diego, CA 92103)

  13. Privacy Right Clearinghouse(Nonprofit Consumer Information and Advocacy Organization)
    (3100 - 5th Ave., Suite B, San Diego, CA 92103)

  14. Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Surveillance Regulation Campaign (including Public CCTV, etc.)
    (spy.org.uk)