rfid technology full report
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21-01-2010, 12:30 PM

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Long checkout lines at the grocery store are one of the biggest complaints about the shopping experience. This is mainly due to the time consuming use of UPC barcodes. These codes act as product fingerprints made of machine-readable parallel bars that store binary data.
Created in 1970s to speed up the checkout process, barcodes have certain disadvantages:
It is a read-only technology, which means it cannot send information.
It can easily be forged.
Barcode scanning is time consuming.
To overcome these, the barcodes are being replaced by smart labels, also called radiofrequency identification tags.
RFID tags are intelligent barcodes that can literally talk to a networked system to track every product that is bought.
The automotive industry also makes use of RFID batteryless transponders that offer a high level of security at low cost. The theft of vehicles with electronic immobilizers decreased to about one-tenth compared to those without immobilizers. This is based on the RFID technology.
RFID is a technology that uses radio signals for automatic identification by transmitting data in a machine-readable form using radiofrequency as the carrier medium.
This paper gives an in-depth knowledge about RFID technology and its applications

Almost every product in the market has a barcode printed on it. Barcodes are machine-readable parallel bars that store binary information, revealing information about the product. Thus, it acts as the product fingerprint. As we go to the supermarket to buy things, the checkout person runs our selection over the scanner to scan the barcode, thereâ„¢s an audible beep, and we are told how much money we owe.
But the days of barcode are numbered. The reason is that a technology called radiofrequency identification (RFID) is catching on.RFID tags are being used by corporations to track people and products in just about every industry. They transform everyday objects like cargo containers, car keys, and even clothes on the rack at a shopping mall into mini nodes on a network. Databases then record the location and status of these network nodes to determine product movements. [4], [3]
This technology can completely replace barcodes.
The automotive industry makes use of small RFID tags that offer a high level of security at low cost.[7]
A lot of developments are taking place in RFID technology that will change the course of the industry, particularly in the supply chain area.

A tag is any device or label that identifies the host to which it is attached. It typically does not hinder the operation of the host or adversely affect its appearance.
The word transponder is derived from the words transmitter and responder. The tag responds to a transmitted or communicated request for the data it carries.

The transponder memory may comprise of read-only (ROM), random access (RAM), and non-volatile programmable memory for data storage depending on the type and sophistication of the device. The ROM-based memory is used to accommodate security data and the transponder operating system instructions which in conjunction with the processor or processing logic deals with the internal Ëœhouse-keepingâ„¢ functions like response delay timing, data flow control and supply switching. The RAM-based memory is used for temporary data storage during transponder interrogation and response. The non-volatile programmable memory may be of several types of which the electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) is the most common. It is used to store the transponder data and needs to be non-volatile to ensure that the data is retained when the device is in its quiescent or power-saving Ëœsleepâ„¢ state.
Data buffers are further components of memory used to temporarily hold the incoming data following demodulation and outgoing data for modulation and interface with the transponder antenna. The interface circuitry provides the facility to direct and accommodate the interrogation field energy for powering purposes in passive transponders and triggering of the transponder response. The transponder antenna senses the interrogating field and serves as the means for transmitting the transponder response for interrogation.
On the basis of the presence of battery, tags can be classified into active or passive tags.
Active tags are powered by an internal battery and are generally read/write devices. They contain a cell having a high power to weight ratio and are capable of operating over a temperature range of -50 to +70 degree Celsius. Active tags have a finite life time. A suitable cell coupled to suitable low power circuitry can ensure functionality of ten or more years depending on operating temperatures, read/write cycles and usage. They have greater size and increased cost compared to passive tags.
Passive tags operate without an internal battery source, deriving the power to operate from the field generated by the reader. They are hence lighter than active tags and have greater life time. They have shorter read ranges compared to active tags. They are also constrained in their ability to store data and perform well in electromagnetically noisy environments.
RFID tags can also be classified on the basis of coupling into inductively and capacitively coupled tags.
Inductively coupled RFID tags consist of the silicon microprocessor which vary in size depending on their purpose and metal coil which is made of copper or aluminum wire that is wound into a circular pattern on the transponder. This coil acts as the tagâ„¢s antenna. The tag transmits signal to the reader with the read distance determined by the size of the coil antenna. It also consists of an encapsulating material of glass or polymer that wraps around the chip and coil. Inductively coupled RFID tags are powered by the magnetic field generated by the reader .The tagâ„¢s antenna picks up the magnetic energy and the tag communicates with the reader. The tag then modulates the magnetic field in order to retrieve and transmit data back to the reader. Data which is transmitted back to the reader is directed to the host computer. These tags are expensive due to the silicon, the coil antenna and the process that is needed to wind the coil around the surface of the tag.
Capacitively coupled RFID tags consist of an RFID chip and an antenna made from two plate electrodes. The reading mechanism between the tag and the reader is through capacitive coupling. Placing the tag in an electric field powers the tag. The field gradient across the tag results in a charge buildup between the plates and hence a potential difference which is used to energize the small silicon IC at its center.[6],[8]
Data stored in data carriers require some organization and additions like data identifiers and error detection bits to satisfy recovery needs. This is known as source encoding. Standard numbering systems such as UCC/EAN can be applied to data stored in tags. Tags are basically used to carry
1.identifiers, in which a numeric or alphanumeric string is stored for identification purposes or as an access key to data stored in a computer or information management system.
2. Portable data files in which information is organized for communication. Tags can be obtained that can store single bits to kilobits. The single bit devices are used for surveillance purposes. Retail electronic article surveillance (EAS) is the typical application which activates an alarm in the interrogating field. They can also be used for counting applications.
Devices characterized by data storage capacities upto 128 bits are sufficient to hold a serial or identification number together with parity check bits. These devices may be manufacturer or user programmable. Tags with data storage capacities upto 512 bits are user programmable and suitable for accommodating identification and other specific data like serial numbers, package content, key process instructions and results of earlier interrogation/response transactions. Tags with storage capabilities of 64 kilobits are carriers of portable data files. By increasing the capacity, facility can be provided for organizing data into fields or pages that may be selectively interrogated during the reading purpose. Data transfer rates are linked to carrier frequency. The higher the frequency, the higher the transfer rates. Depending on the memory, the tag contains data that can be read-only; write once read many (WORM) or read /write. Read-only tags are low capacity devices programmed at source usually with an identification number. WORM devices are user programmable devices. Read/write devices are also user programmable but allow the user to change data stored in a tag. Portable programmers may also be present that allows in-field programming of the tag while attached to the item being identified or accompanied.
The reader/interrogators can differ considerably in complexity depending on the type of tags being supported and functions to be fulfilled. The overall function is to provide the means of communicating with the tag and facilitating data transfer. Functions performed by readers include signal conditioning, parity error checking and correction. Once the signal from a transponder has been correctly received and decoded, algorithms can be applied to decide whether the signal is a repeat transmission and may then instruct the transponder to stop transmitting. This is known as Command Response Protocol and is used to circumvent the problem of reading multiple tags in a short span of time. Using interrogators in this way is also referred to as Hands Down Polling. A more secure, but slower tag polling technique is called Hands Up Polling which involves the interrogator looking for tags with specific identities and interrogating them, in turn. A further approach uses multiple readers, multiplexed into one interrogator but results in cost increase.[6]
The range that can be achieved in an RFID is determined by:
1. The power available at the reader/interrogator to communicate with the tags.
2. The power available within the tag to respond.
3. The environmental conditions and structures, the former being more significant at higher frequencies including the signal to noise ratio.
Although the level of available power is the primary determinant of range, the manner and efficiency in which that power is deployed also influences the range. The field or wave generated from an antenna extends into space surrounding it and its strength diminishes with respect to distance. The antenna design determines the shape of the field or propagating wave delivered so that range is also influenced by the angle subtended between the tag and antenna.
In the space free of any obstruction or absorption mechanism, the strength of field reduces in inverse proportion to the square of the distance. For a wave propagating through a region in which reflections can arise from the ground and from obstacles, the reduction in strength can vary as an inverse fourth power of the distance. Where different paths arise in this way, the phenomenon is called multi-path attenuation. At higher frequencies, moisture presence can cause absorption which can further affect the range. Where a number of reflective obstacles are to be encountered within the applications under consideration, which may vary from time to time, it may also be necessary to establish the implications of such changes through an appropriate environmental evaluation.
The power within the tag is generally much less than that from the reader, requiring sensitive detection capability within the reader to handle the return signals. In some systems, the reader constitutes a receiver and is separate from the interrogation source or transmitter, particularly if the up-link (from transmitter to tag) carrier is different from the down-link (from tag to reader).
100-500mW power are values quoted for RFID systems, whereas the actual values should be confirmed with the appropriate regulatory authorities in the countries where the technology is being applied. The form in which the power is delivered, pulsed or continuous, and the associated values are also indicated by the authority.[6]

An RFID system consists of RFID tags ,a means of reading or interrogating the tags and a means of communicating the data to a host computer or information management system. The system will also include a facility for entering or programming data into tags, if it is not done at the source by the manufacturer. There may also be present antennas for communication between the ag and the reader.

The reader sends out a radio frequency wave to the tag and the tag broadcasts back its stored data to the reader. The system has two antennas, one for the tag and the other on the reader. The data collected from the tag can either be sent directly to a host computer through standard interfaces or it can be stored in a portable reader and later updated to the computer for data processing. The automatic reading and direct use of tag data is called Ëœautomatic data captureâ„¢.[8]
When the tag which is battery free,is to be read ,the reader sends out a power pulse to the antenna lasting for about 50ms.The magnetic field generated is collected by the antenna in the transponder that is tuned to the same frequency. This received energy is rectified and stored on a capacitor within the transponder. When the power pulse has finished, the transponder immediately transmits back its data, using the energy stored within its capacitor as its power source. The data is picked up by the receiving antenna and decoded by the reader unit. Once all the data has been transmitted, the storage capacitor is discharged resetting the transponder to make it ready for the next read cycle. The period between transmission pulses is called sync time and lasts between 20ms and 50ms depending on the system set up.
The transmission technique between the transponder and the reader is FSK.This approach has good resistance to noise and is cost effective to implement.
Reading distance: The actual reading distance depends on the transponder type, electromagnetic noise, transponder orientation, antenna type. In general, a 32mm glass transponder can be read with a stationary reader and gate antenna from a distance of about 1m.Larger transponders can achieve ranges upto 2m with handheld readers offering lower ranges upto 250mm.
Data accuracy: A 16-bit cyclic redundancy check algorithm is used to ensure that only valid data is sent from the reader to its associated controller.
Antenna selection: Of the antenna types, the one giving larger read ranges is selected. Electromagnetic noise affects the readout pattern.
Transponder orientation: For maximum range, the antenna orientation with respect to the transponder must be optimized for maximum coupling. The orientation in line with a ferrite antenna produces the largest read ranges from 2mm glass transponder.
Reading speed: Many applications require that that transponder must remain in the reading range. Since a standard stationary reader completes one cycle in abut 120ms, transponders must remain in the boundaries of a readout pattern for at least that amount of time.
Immobilizers are the security systems in automobiles. The latest generation of RFID transponders called crypto transponders can be used as the chief part of immobilizers.

Key-based immobilizer systems consist of four main components. The core of the system is the transponder, a batteryless device which is available in various form factors and with different functionalities. For operation, the transponder has to be supplied with energy from an external source. The transceiver generates a high frequency magnetic field which is radiated by an antenna coil. The energy activates the transponder and it sends a data stream in form of a modulated RF signal. This signal is demodulated by the transceiver and then passed to the controller for data processing. Different physical principles for RFID systems have been established on the market. Concerning the transmission of energy, two different systems can be distinguished.
Full Duplex Systems. The energy for the transponder and the data signal generated by the transponder are transmitted at the same time.
Half Duplex Systems. The transmission of the energy for the transponder and the data signal from the transponder are done consecutively. The transponder stores energy in a capacitor and as soon as the transmitter is switched off, the energy is used to transmit data. The different techniques have an impact on system design and reading range, but have no impact on the system.
Cryptographic Background
From the cryptographic point of view, the problem of immobilization consists of two different tasks, the identification of the driver and proving his identity, the authentication. Several cryptographic means are applicable for driver authentication.
The authentication is based on the knowledge of a secret, for example a password or PIN (Personal Identification Number) that has to be presented to proof the identity. For automotive applications any method using a keyboard is unacceptable for most of the users. In addition the level of security is unacceptable.
Biological attributes, such as fingerprints, voice, retinal or face patterns could theoretically be used for authentication of the driver. However, the technical effort for such systems is still high compared to key-based immobilizers and not acceptable for automotive applications. In addition, the problem of renting a car to someone else and emergency use of a vehicle becomes a critical issue.
Authentication by means of possession is the most common method and will also be widely spread in future. The simplest implementation is the possession of a mechanical key. A much higher security is offered if the key contains an electronic tag such as a transponder. To start the vehicle, the mechanical key and the code in the transponder must match.
All cryptographic systems described above are based on static authentication procedures, that means the security system of the car can verify the identity of the key but the electronics in the key cannot check the identity of the communication partner. A mutual authentication procedure which also allows the key to verify the identity of the communication partner is one feature that would improve the security level of the system.
A much higher level of security can be achieved with a simple symmetrical algorithm known as challenge / response protocol. The security system of the vehicle can check the identity of the key by sending a question (a challenge) and verifying the answer (response). The correct answer can only be given if a secret is known that is shared by both partners. This challenge/response
concept has several advantages. During normal use, the secret is not exchanged and both challenge and response vary from cycle to cycle.[7]
Standard Security Architectures using RFID
Various security systems using RFID transponders have been established on the market.
Fixed Code Systems are the most commonly used. During initialization, the controller learns different identification codes stored in the transponders that belong to a vehicle. When the driver places the ignition key in the lock cylinder, the fixed code in the transponder is read and compared to the codes stored in the memory of the controller.
The level of security depends to a great extend on the type of transponder used. There are write once transponders on the market which are delivered unprogrammed. Programming is done by the user. Commercially available readers/writers allow to pick up the code in the transponder while away from the vehicle and to program an unprogrammed unit. Thus a copy of the fixed code has been generated which cannot be distinguished from the original. True Read Only systems on the market are factory programmed with a unique identification number. These systems do not allow copies. However, it is possible to emulate the data signal on the radio frequency level. The effort to design an emulator is considerable and requires RF design knowledge.
Rolling Code Systems operate in the same way as fixed code systems except that the secret code in the key is only valid for a certain period of time, typically from one ignition cycle to the other. The System Security Controller reprograms the transponder (which is a Read/Write type) periodically. The secret is changed, but in terms of cryptographics the procedure is still a static authentication. To guarantee the reliability of the system, resynchronization procedures have to be implemented in case the transponder programming fails or the transponder is reprogrammed by mistake while away from the vehicle. Especially these procedures for resynchronization are the most critical issues in such systems.
A simple mutual authentication can be provided by password protected transponders. The transponder will deny access to the secret data information stored in its memory unless a password is presented and thus the identity of the reader proven. The length of the password can vary depending on the required security level. The password is usually transmitted in plain text and can be picked up or guessed if the transponder is available. Depending on the length of the password, the time to guess the password can vary from several minutes to several years. A limitation of the system is the total transaction time which can be unacceptable for practical use in the application.
Combined Rolling Code / Password Systems can also be implemented using password protected Secured Read Write Transponders. They provide a higher level of security.
Crypto Transponders
Crypto Transponders are the second generation of transponders for use in immobilizers. The new generation of crypto transponders developed by Texas Instruments are based upon the TIRIS TM half duplex RFID technology and are compatible to all standard RF interfaces of the TIRIS TM product range.
System Overview
The Digital Signature Transponder (DST) is a crypto device which offers the challenge/ response functionality. During initialization, the vehicle security system and the transponder exchange a secret encryption key. The key cannot be read out, only the transponder response to a challenge sent by the transceiver can be read. In a typical application, the vehicle security system generates a 40 bit random number (the challenge), and sends it to the transponder using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). In the transponder the challenge is shifted into the challenge register. For a short period of time, energy is provided by the transceiver and the encryption logic generates a 24 bit response (signature).

The response R is a function of the encryption key Ke , the challenge RAND and the cryptographic algorithm Fc. R=f(Fc, RAND, Ke ).
The response is returned to the transceiver using Frequency Shift Keying (FSK).
The security system calculates the expected response using the same algorithm and the same encryption key and compares the response received from the transponder to the calculated one. The calculation of the expected response can be done simultaneously to the communication between transponder and reader or after reception of the transponder response. If expected and calculated response are equal, the information is sent to the engine management computer. In time critical applications, the challenge and the response can be generated after immobilization and stored for the next cycle.
The advantages of this system are obvious:
Depending on the challenge the response is different every time. The authentication procedure is dynamic.
No portion of the encryption key is ever transmitted after initialization of the transponder
The encryption key cannot be read out
The transponder cannot be duplicated
The encryption key can be irreversibly locked or altered if desired.
The transponder is a complex logical and mechanical micro system designed to operate at very low power. During energy transfer less than 1A is consumed by the transponder IC. This allows a capacitor to be charged over a considerable distance within a reasonable amount of time, typically less than 50ms. Even during the encryption process, the current consumption is below 16A. Therefore, the typical maximum read range is comparable to standard Read Only systems.

Design Objectives
The Digital Signature Transponder was based on many established circuit blocks and assembly techniques to ensure compatibility to existing transceiver hardware and to keep existing qualified automated production lines.
Apart from the design challenges for the IC design:
Maintain low power consumption despite the large number of gates for encryption
Keep wiring of the encryption circuitry to a minimum
Keep chip size to a minimum,
A considerable effort has been spent to ensure
A high level of cryptographic security
Fast transaction times for the challenge/response cycle
Low data processing effort for the encryption algorithm in the car security system
Reliability in the application in terms of highly sophisticated supervision circuitry in the transponder.
All encryption algorithms are theoretically breakable. An algorithm is computationally secure if it cannot be broken within a reasonable amount of time respectively with reasonable resources. In this context Ëœreasonableâ„¢ is open to interpretations. Current assumptions for attacks against immobilizer systems are:
The attacker will not spend more than five minutes in the vehicle
The key is not longer than ten days available for analysis
The key is not longer than ten days available for analysis
The attacker is familiar with cryptoanalytical techniques.
Dictionary attacks can be used if the key was available to the attacker for a
certain period of time to build a dictionary of challenge response pairs. In the vehicle, the attacker hopes for a challenge that is already in his dictionary to reply with the correct response and start the engine.
Statistical calculations show that even if the key is available for 10 days and the dictionary is built at a rate of four responses per second, the probability for a successful attack within five minutes in the car is only 0.47%. Taking into consideration that this effort has to be repeated for each vehicle, it can be understood that this method is uneconomic for the thief.
Cryptoanalysis makes use of the knowledge of the algorithm. Those attackers try to find a mathematical solution to the problem of finding the encryption key with a limited amount of challenge response pairs. The algorithm in the Digital Signature Transponder has been developed to frustrate these cryptoanalytical methods.
Read/Write Crypto Transponder for Short Cycle Time
The TK5561A-PP is a complete transponder integrating all important functions for immobilizer and identification systems. It consists of a plastic cube which accommodates the crypto IC and the antenna realized as tuned LC-circuit. It is a R/W crypto transponder for applications which demand higher security levels than those which standard R/W transponders can fulfill. For this reason it has an additional encryption algorithm block which enables a base station to authenticate the transponder. Any attempt to fake the base station with a wrong transponder will be recognized immediately. For authentication, the base station transmits a challenge to the transponder. This challenge is encrypted by both IC and base station .Both should posses the same secret key. Only then the result can be expected to be equal. The on-chip 320 “bit EEPROM(10 blocks of 32 bits)can be read and written blockwise by a base station Two or four blocks contain the ID code and six memory blocks are used to store the crypto key as well as the read or write options.125 kHz is the typical operational frequency of a system using this transponder.
Transponder Antenna
The antenna consists of a coil and a capacitor for tuning the circuit to the nominal carrier frequency of 125kHz.The coil has a ferrite core for improving the distance of read, write and programming operations.

The AFE includes all circuits directly connected to the coil. It generates the ICâ„¢s power supply and handles the bidirectional data communication with the base station. It consists of the following blocks:
Rectifiers to generate a DC supply voltage from the AC coil voltage
Clock extractor.
Field gap detector for data transmission from the base station to the IC.
The controller has the following functions:
Control memory access.
Handle correct write data transmission.
Error detection and error handling.
Control encryption operation.
Control adaptation of resonance frequency.
Power on reset
It is a delay reset which is triggered when the supply voltage is applied.
The IC is able to minimize the tolerance of the resonance frequency between the base station and the transponder by on-chip capacitors in parallel to the LC circuit of the transponder.
Bitrate Generator
The bitrate generator can deliver bitrates of RF/32 and RF/64 for data transmission from the IC to the base station.
Bit Decoder
The bit decoder forms the signals needed for write operation and decodes the received data bits in the write data stream
The modulator consists of two data recorders. Manchester and biphase modulation are possible.
HV Generator
Voltage pump which generates about 18V for programming of the EEPROM.
The memory is a 320-bit EEPROM which is arranged in 10 blocks of 32 bits each. All 32 bits of a block are programmed simultaneously. The programming voltage is generated on-chip.
Crypto Circuit

The crypto circuit uses an algorithm to encrypt the challenge which is written to the chip. The computed result can be read by the base station. Comparing the encryption results of the base station and the IC, a high security authentication procedure is established.[7]
Writing Data into the IC
A write sequence of the IC is shown below.
Writing data into the transponder occurs by interrupting the RF field with short gaps. After the start gap the write op-code (10) is transmitted. The next 32 bits contain the actual data. The last 4 bits denote the destination block address. If the correct number of bits has been received, the actual data is programmed into the specified memory block. [7]

Write Data Decoding
The time elapsing between two detected gaps is used to encode the information. As soon as a gap is detected, a counter starts counting the number of field clock cycles until the next gap will be detected. Depending on how many field clocks elapse, the data is regarded as â„¢0â„¢ or â„¢1â„¢.The required number of field clocks is shown in figure .A valid â„¢0â„¢ is assumed if the number of counted clock periods is between 16 and 32, for a valid â„¢1â„¢ it is 48 or 64 respectively. Any other value being detected results in an error and the device exits write mode and returns to read mode.[7]

Principle areas of applications of RFID include:
1. Transportation
2. Manufacturing and processing.
3. Security.[4]
Texas Instruments Radio Frequency Identification (TI-RFid) Systems has introduced its new RFID tag for textile rental and dry cleaning applications. TI-RFid tags provide more accurate identification and greater accountability as well as improved handling through each stage of cleaning and processing to final customer delivery.
RFID system allows booksellers to gain such information as the range of books a shopper has browsed, the number of times a particular title was picked up, and even the length of time spent flipping through pages. Gillete ,Wal-Mart, and Tesco will install specially designed shelves that can read RF waves emitted by microchips embedded in millions of their products. The shelves can scan the contents of the shelves and, via computer, alert store employees when supplies are running low or when theft is detected.[4]
RFID tags loaded with biometric information will be embedded in passports to ensure travelers comply with security regulations.
RFID technology is also being used to improve luggage handling in airports.
Certain specific applications of RFID include:
1. Fleet management.
2. Inventory and asset management.
3. Warehouse automation.
4. Hazardous material management.
5. Packaging, security and access control.
6. Smart card payment systems.[4]

RFID technology permits no line of sight reading.
Robustness and reliability under difficult environmental conditions.
These tags can be read through water, snow, concrete, bricks, plastics, wood, and most non-metallic materials
Available in a wide variety of physical forms, shapes, sizes and protective housings.
RFID tags can be read at very high speeds.
In most cases the response time is less than 100ms.
Difficulty in duplicating, offers a high degree of security.
RFID solutions cost much higher than the conventional barcodes. A large fraction of its cost lies in the software infrastructure and the enterprise application and integration
Lack of standardization.
Standardization has not been provided across many fronts, ranging from the different data formats used to interoperatability between RFID readers and tags from different vendors to interference between RFID products from different manufacturers.
RFID will hurt privacy
RFID transponders are forever part of the product, and designed to respond when a signal is received.
RFID tags will soon be tracking millions of consumer products worldwide. Manufacturers will know the exact location of each product they make from the time it is made until it is used and tossed in the recycle bin or trash can. The crypto transponders will be well suited for future generation vehicle entry systems.
The RFID tagging will take off when the cost of the tags drops to one percent of the cost of the product it is applied to, and that date is somewhere near.
2005 is the date that researchers say when radio frequency tagging becomes viable and until then, we must wait and see.

[1] Jay Warrior, Eric McHenry, Kenneth McGee, They know where you are, IEEE Spectrum, July 2003, pp.21-25
[2] Ankit Khare, RFID challenges barcoding, PC Quest, April 2003, pp.46
[3] Andy Emmerson, Tiny tags talk volumes, Everyday Practical Electronics, May 2001, pp.322
[4] Uma Gupta, RFID and beyond, Electronics For You, October 2003,
[5] Ulrich Kaiser, Wolfgang Steinhagen, A low-power transponder IC for high- performance identification systems. IEEE Journal Of Solid-State Circuits.Vol.30, March 1995, pp306-310
[6] http://aimglobal.org
[7] http://ti.com
[8] http://howstuffworks.com


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Radio Frequency IDentification:
Rpplications and Implications for Consumers

Presented By:
Staff of the Federal Trade Commission

I. Introduction
Radio frequency identification technology, known as RFID, has been described as "tech's official Next Big Thing."1 RFID is not actually a new technology, but it is being applied in new ways, spurred by technological advances and decreased costs. Once used during World War II to identify friendly aircraft, RFID is now being used in a variety of public and private sector settings, from hospitals to the highway.
In RFID systems, an item is tagged with a tiny silicon chip and an antenna; the chip plus antenna (together called a "tag") can then be scanned by mobile or stationary readers, using radio waves (the "RF"). The chip can be encoded with a unique identifier, allowing tagged items to be individually identified by a reader (the "ID"). Thus, for example, in a clothing store, each particular suit jacket, including its style, color, and size, can be identified electronically. In a pharmacy, a druggist can fill a prescription from a bottle bearing an RFID-chipped label confirming the authenticity of its contents. On the highway, cars with RFID tags on their windshields can move swiftly through highway tollbooths, saving time and reducing traffic congestion. At home, pets can be implanted with chips so that lost animals can be identified and returned to their owners more readily. In each case, a reader must scan the tag for the data it contains and then send that information to a database, which interprets the data stored on the tag. The tag, reader, and database are the key components of an RFID system.
RFID proponents believe that the ability of these systems to deliver precise and accurate data about tagged items will improve efficiency and bring other benefits to businesses and consumers alike.2 One major retailer has already announced a mandate for its largest suppliers to begin tagging cases and pallets of merchandise.3 Other companies in the U.S. and abroad reportedly are exploring similar directives.4 Spending on RFID implementation in the retail supply chain alone has been estimated at $91.5 million last year - an amount expected by some to exceed $1 billion by 2007.5 Outside the retail sector, libraries across the country reportedly are already tagging books,6 and the FDA has announced that it is actively encouraging pharmaceutical manufacturers to use RFID to fight drug counterfeiting.7
While these developments may offer significant benefits for industry and consumers, some applications have raised privacy concerns. The capacity to encode unique identifiers at the individual item level may have revolutionized thinking about inventory management, but
it has also raised fears that this technology might be used to track individual products out of the store and into consumers' homes or otherwise monitor individual consumer behaviors. As with the Internet and other data-intensive technologies, these concerns must be addressed so that they do not hinder the development and deployment of RFID in the marketplace.
On June 21, 2004, the Federal Trade Commission explored these issues at a public workshop entitled "Radio Frequency Identification: Applications and Implications for Consumers." The Workshop brought together technologists, RFID proponents, privacy advocates, and policymakers to discuss the range of applications for RFID, the future of this technology, and its implications for consumers.8 This staff report will summarize the discussion at the Workshop and offer some preliminary recommendations for addressing the privacy concerns raised by some participants.9
Part I of the report provides an overview of the issues the report covers and a summary of the FTC staff's conclusions. Parts II through V summarize the Workshop panel discussions and highlight some of the key points made in the written comments submitted to the Commission in connection with the Workshop. Specifically, Part II discusses how RFID technology works. Part III describes current and emerging uses of RFID technology, both in the private and public sectors. Part IV discusses the consumer privacy implications of RFID applications and database security issues. Part V describes different proposals to address consumer privacy concerns, including technological approaches and self-regulatory efforts. Finally, Part VI offers Commission staff conclusions regarding steps that RFID users may take to alleviate RFID-related privacy concerns.
As explained in Part VI below, based on the information received in connection with the Workshop and other available information, the FTC staff concludes:
¢ Industry initiatives can play an important role in addressing privacy concerns raised by certain RFID applications. The goal of such programs should be transparency.
¢ Any industry self-regulatory program should include meaningful accountability provisions to help ensure compliance.
¢ Many of the potential privacy issues associated with RFID are inextricably linked to database security. As in other contexts in which personal information is collected from consumers, a company that uses RFID to collect such information must implement reasonable and appropriate measures to protect that data.
¢ Consumer education is a vital part of protecting consumer privacy. Industry members, privacy advocates, and government should develop education tools that inform consumers about RFID technology, how they can expect to encounter it, and what choices they have with respect to its usage in particular situations.
II. The ABCs of RFID
Understanding what RFID devices are and how they work is critical to an analysis of the policy issues surrounding this technology. Generic references to "RFID technology" may be applied incorrectly to a wide range of devices or capabilities. For example, RFID by itself is not a location-tracking technology. At sites where readers are installed, RFID may be used to track tagged objects, but this static readability differs from technology such as global positioning systems, or GPS, which uses a network of satellites to pinpoint the location of a receiver.10 And RFID technology itself can be used for a variety of applications, from contactless identification cards that can be scanned no farther than inches away from a reader, to highway systems utilizing "active" RFID tags that can initiate communication with a scanner 100 feet away.
A. Primary Components of RFID Devices
RFID devices have three primary elements: a chip, an antenna, and a reader. A fourth important part of any RFID system is the database where information about tagged objects is stored.
¢ The chip, usually made of silicon, contains information about the item to which it is attached. Chips used by retailers and manufacturers to identify consumer goods may contain an Electronic Product Code ("EPC").11 The EPC is the RFID equivalent of the familiar universal product code ("UPC"), or bar code, currently imprinted on many products. Bar codes must be optically scanned, and contain only generic product information. By contrast, EPC chips are encrypted with a unique product code that identifies the individual product to which it is attached, and can be read using radio frequency. These codes contain the type of data that product manufacturers and retailers will use to track the authenticity and location of goods throughout the supply chain.
An RFID chip may also contain information other than an EPC, such as biometric data (a digitized image of a fingerprint or photograph, for example).12 In addition, some chips may not be loaded with information uniquely identifying the tagged object at all; so-called "electronic article surveillance systems" ("EAS") may utilize
radio frequency communication to combat shoplifting, but not to uniquely identify individual items.
¢ The antenna attached to the chip is responsible for transmitting information from the chip to the reader, using radio waves. Generally, the bigger the antenna, the longer the read range. The chip and antenna combination is referred to as a transponder or, more commonly, as a tag. Participants at the workshop brought samples of tags currently in use. The pictures below show a common EPC tag that can be affixed to an object (Figure A) and a paper hang-tag that can be attached to individual articles of clothing (Figure B13).
¢ The reader, or scanning device, also has its own antenna, which it uses to communicate with the tag.14 Readers vary in size, weight, and power, and may be mobile or stationary. Although anyone with access to the proper reader can scan an RFID tag,15 RFID systems can employ authentication and encryption to prevent unauthorized reading of data.16 "Reading" tags refers to the communication between the tag and reader via radio waves operating at a certain frequency. In contrast to bar codes, one of RFID's principal distinctions is tags and readers can communicate with each other without being in each other's line-of-sight.17 Therefore, a reader can scan a tag without physically "seeing" it. Further, RFID readers can process multiple items at one time, resulting in a much-increased (again as compared to UPC codes) "speed of read."18
The pictures on the opposite page show various RFID readers: a stationary reader that could be used to track tagged cases of goods entering a warehouse (Figure C19); a mobile reader used to monitor inventory on a retail store floor (Figure D20); and a prototype of a glove embedded with a scanner used to track daily domestic living activities (Figure E21).
¢ The database, or other back-end logistics system, stores information about RFID-tagged objects. Access to both a reader and its corresponding database are necessary before information stored on an RFID tag can be obtained and understood. In order
to interpret such data, RFID readers must be able to communicate with a database or other computer program.
One protocol being developed for product manufacturers uses chips embedded with a 96-bit EPC code - a number - that includes several fields identifying the manufacturer ("ABC Company"), the product ("cola"), its size or its packaging ("24-pack of cola cans"), and a unique identifier.22 This system, the "EPCglobal Network," calls for a secure network of servers that will share information obtained from tagged objects moving through the supply chain. According to the network's architect, EPCglobal, the data will be stored on EPCglobal member company databases, access to which will be controlled by those individual companies.23 In order to interpret what these fields mean, a directory, or "object naming service" ("ONS"), will direct the reader to the appropriate server(s) where the data from the tag and associated information are stored. The ONS will function much like a reverse telephone directory or an Internet browser, which translates a URL into a Web site.24 In the RFID context, the ONS will identify what server has information about the tagged item, allowing an RFID user to interpret the meaning of the particular code on a particular tag.25 The database information will vary with the context. For example, with automatic highway toll payment systems, databases will link account numbers stored on a tag to the appropriate prepaid account for billing purposes.26
Although all RFID systems have these essential components, other variables affect the use or set of applications for which a particular tag is appropriate. As discussed further below, key factors include whether the tag used is "active" or "passive"; what radio frequency is used; the size of the antennas attached to the chip and to the reader; what and how much information can be stored on a tag; and whether the tag is "read/write" or "read-only." These factors affect the read ranges of the systems as well as the kind of object that can usefully be tagged. They also impact the cost, which is an especially important commercial consideration when tagging a large volume of items.
B. Passive v. Active Tags
There are three types of RFID tags, differentiated by how they communicate and how that communication is initiated:
¢ Passive tags have no onboard power source - meaning no battery - and do not initiate communication. A reader must first query a passive tag, sending electromagnetic waves that form a magnetic field when they "couple" with the antenna on the RFID tag."27 Consistent with any applicable authorization, authentication, and encryption, the tag will then respond to the reader, sending via radio waves the data stored on it. Currently, depending on the size of the antenna and the frequency, passive tags can be read, at least theoretically, from up to thirty feet away. However, real-world environmental factors, such as wind and interference from substances like water or metal, can reduce the actual read range for passive tags to ten feet or less.28 Passive tags are already used for a wide array of applications, including building-access cards, mass transit tickets, and, increasingly, tracking consumer products through the supply chain. Depending on the sophistication of the chip, such as how much memory it has or its encryption capability, a passive tag currently costs between 20 cents and several dollars.29
¢ Semi-passive tags, like passive tags, do not initiate communication with readers, but they do have batteries. This onboard power is used to operate the circuitry on the chip, storing information such as ambient temperature. Semi-passive tags can be combined, for example, with sensors to create "smart dust" - tiny wireless sensors that can monitor environmental factors. A grocery chain might use smart dust to track energy use, or a vineyard to measure incremental weather changes that could critically affect grapes.30 Devices using smart dust, also known as "motes," currently cost about $100 each, but, in a few years, reportedly could drop to less than $10 apiece.31
¢ Active tags can initiate communication and typically have onboard power. They can communicate the longest distances - 100 or more feet. Currently, active tags typically cost $20 or more.32 A familiar application of active tags is for automatic toll payment systems, like the Northeast's "E-ZPass," that allow cars bearing active tags to use express lanes that don't require drivers to stop and pay.33
C. Radio Frequency
Communication between RFID tags and readers is also affected by the radio frequency used, which determines the speed of communications as well as the distance from which tags can be read. Higher frequency typically means longer read range. Low-frequency ("LF") tags, which operate at less than 135 kilohertz (KHz), are thus appropriate for short-range uses, like animal identification and anti-theft systems, such as RFID-embedded automobile keys.34 Systems that operate at 13.56 megahertz (MHz) are characterized as high frequency ("HF"). Both low-frequency and high-frequency tags can be passive. Scanners can read multiple HF tags at once and at a faster rate than LF tags. A key use of HF tags is in contactless "smart cards," such as mass transit cards or building-access badges.35
The third frequency, Ultra-High Frequency ("UHF"), is contemplated for widespread use by some major retailers, who are working with their suppliers to apply UHF tags to cases and pallets of goods. These tags, which operate at around 900 MHz, can be read at longer distances, which outside the laboratory environment range between three and possibly fifteen feet.36 However, UHF tags are more sensitive to environmental factors like water, which absorb the tag's energy and thus block its ability to communicate with a reader.
D. Read/Write Capacity
Finally, another important feature of RFID tags is their "read/write" capacity, or "read¬only" status. These terms refer to a tag's ability to have data added to it during its lifetime. The information stored on a "read-only" tag cannot be altered, but a writeable tag (with read/write capacity) can receive and store additional information. Read/write applications are most prevalent when tags are re-used.37 They are usually more sophisticated and costly than read-only applications. In addition, read/write applications have shorter read ranges. Read¬only tags are well-suited to applications like item-level tagging of retail goods, since they are less expensive and, as part of a networked system, can provide a great deal of information by directing the reader to the associated database(s) where information about the tagged item is maintained.38
III. RFID Today and Tomorrow
The Workshop included a comprehensive discussion of RFID's various current and anticipated applications. Both private and public sector users of RFID explained how they are applying this technology to improve their delivery of goods and services. Privacy advocates also addressed the implications of these initiatives, sounding a cautionary note about some of the emerging uses of RFID and their consequences for consumer privacy.
A. Current Uses of RFID
Workshop participants described a number of RFID applications that consumers may already be using. For example, some consumers are familiar with employee identification cards that authenticate the pass-holder before permitting access.39 A related use of RFID is for event access - to amusement parks, ski areas, and concerts, where tagged bracelets or tickets are used.40 Panelists also explained how RFID is being used in a variety of transportation-related contexts. Many automobile models already use RFID tags in keys to authenticate the user, adding another layer of security to starting a car.41 Another example, the "Speedpass," allows drivers to purchase gas and convenience store goods from ExxonMobil stations.42 RFID is also transforming highway travel, with the advent of E-ZPass in Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and similar programs in other regions of the country that allow drivers to pass through tolls without stopping to pay. An active tag on the vehicle's windshield lets a reader installed at the tollbooth know that a tagged vehicle is passing through; information flows from the tag, to the reader, and then to a centralized database, where the prepaid or checking account associated with that vehicle is charged.43
B. RFID in the Supply Chain
To the extent that the much-touted "RFID revolution" is underway, it is occurring somewhat out of public sight - in warehouses, distribution centers, and other stages of the supply chain.44 Workshop participants discussed how RFID's impact on the flow of goods through distribution channels has implications not just for manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers, but also for consumers.45 Many panelists reported that as a result of more efficient distribution practices generated by RFID use, consumers may find what they want on the store shelves, when they want it, and perhaps at lower prices.46
Workshop participants representing manufacturers and retailers described the anticipated economic benefits of RFID. According to one panelist, the retail industry suffers losses between $180 and $300 billion annually because of poor supply chain visibility - the inability to track the location of products as they make their way from manufacturer to retailer.47 As a result, this panelist stated, retailers are not always able to keep high-demand goods in stock, or they may have inventory that they can't move.48
Participants discussed how RFID may help prevent these lapses by improving visibility at multiple stages of the supply chain. RFID readers can gather information about the location of tagged goods as they make their way from the manufacturer, to a warehouse or series of distribution centers, and to the final destination, their store.49 Also, as one workshop participant explained, RFID enhances the accuracy of information currently obtained through bar code scanning, which is more vulnerable to human error.50 According to this panelist, access to more - and more accurate - information about where products are in the distribution chain enables retailers to keep what they need in stock and what they do not need off the
Workshop participants also touted the discipline that RFID imposes on the supply chain by, for example, reducing "shrinkage," or theft.52 One panelist explained how RFID may lower costs by keeping shipping volumes leaner and more accurate.53 Other panelists described how RFID tags can be read much faster than bar codes, citing tests indicating that RFID's scanning capability can result in goods moving through the supply chain ten times faster than they do when bar codes are used.54 According to another participant, RFID will facilitate quicker, more accurate recalls by enabling the tracking of a product's origin and its location in the distribution chain.55 Further, this panelist asserted, RFID will enhance product freshness by monitoring expiration dates of consumer goods, so retailers know when not to offer items for sale.56
C. RFID Use in the Public Sector
Panelists also discussed how RFID is being used or contemplated for use by government entities to meet objectives similar to those their private-sector counterparts hope to achieve. Workshop participants discussed a variety of ongoing and proposed government RFID applications, from the U.S. Department of Defense's ("DoD") October 2003 mandate
requiring its suppliers to use RFID tags by January 2005 to local library systems deploying this technology to track and trace their books.57 DoD's initiative reportedly will affect 43,000 military suppliers.58 And, according to panelists, public libraries in California, Washington State, and elsewhere have implemented internal RFID systems to facilitate patron usage and manage stock.59
One Workshop panelist, representing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), highlighted that agency's RFID initiative.60 Although the FDA itself is not using this technology, it recently announced an initiative to promote the use of RFID in the pharmaceutical supply chain by 2007.61 For now, drug manufacturers will primarily tag "stock bottles" - those used by pharmacists to fill individual prescriptions - but eventually consumers may be purchasing packages labeled with RFID chips.62 The core objective of this initiative is to fight drug counterfeiting by establishing a reliable pedigree for each pharmaceutical.63 The FDA believes that this goal can most effectively be accomplished by its target date through the adoption of RFID, which offers distinct advantages over other identification systems that require line-of-sight scanning and are not as accurate or fast.64
Another government entity turning to RFID is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"). One program described by a DHS official at the Workshop uses RFID for tracking and tracing travelers' baggage.65 Both individual airports66 and airlines67 will use RFID technology to identify and track passenger luggage, from check-in to destination. Another DHS initiative addressed at the Workshop involves the agency's "US-VISIT" (U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) program. That initiative will test RFID at the country's fifty busiest border-crossing locations by using RFID to read biometric identifiers, such as digital photographs and fingerprint scans, embedded in U.S. work visas issued to foreign nationals.68 According to the DHS representative, this program is expected to facilitate some of the approximately 330 million border-crossings each year by getting "the appropriate level of information to the right people at the right time."69 As this panelist noted as well, U.S. passports will also soon carry an RFID chip embedded with identifying information, including biometric data.70
D. Emerging RFID Applications
The Workshop also addressed emerging RFID applications and when such uses are expected to be implemented. According to panelists, one sector that is the focus of extensive RFID research is health care, where RFID devices can be used to track equipment and people within a medical facility.71 Other proposed applications contemplate using RFID in different ways. For example, one ongoing study discussed at the Workshop is exploring how RFID can enhance the quality of elder care.72 By tagging key objects in a senior's home - such as prescription drug bottles, food items, and appliances - and embedding small RFID readers in gloves that can be worn by that individual, that person's daily habits can be monitored remotely by a caregiver.73 This system would develop more accurate record-keeping for medical treatment purposes and could facilitate independent living for senior citizens.74
The Workshop also addressed the anticipated timeline for the adoption of item-level RFID tagging in the retail sector. According to one participant, some retailers are currently experimenting with embedding RFID tags in individual consumer goods, and cited as an example German retailer Metro AG's controversial use of RFID in its "Future Store."75 However, many panelists concurred that widespread item-level tagging of retail products was not imminent.76 The most commonly cited reason for this delay was cost: according to one panelist, the current price per tag of between 20 and 40 cents makes item-level RFID too expensive to deploy widely in the near term.77 Workshop panelists also asserted that the target cost of five cents per tag will likely not be realized until 2008.78 Even then, other costs may slow the evolution of item-level tagging. According to one Workshop participant, hardware costs account for only 3% of the expense of deploying RFID. Expenditures for developing the software necessary to interpret and store information generated by RFID constitute nearly three-quarters of the cost of implementing this technology.79
According to Workshop participants, other factors that could inhibit the evolution of item-level tagging include the lack of standardization for RFID frequency and power; inadequate end-user knowledge about how the technology works; and technical challenges, such as reader accuracy and interference from external substances (like water and metal).80
IV. Consumer Perceptions and Privacy Concerns
A. Consumer Survey Results
In addition to addressing how RFID works and can be used, Workshop participants discussed the implications of this technology for consumers. The Workshop included a presentation about the results of a study concerning consumer perceptions of RFID. According to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers conducted in October 2003, the majority of those polled were unfamiliar with RFID.81 Over three-quarters of the sample - 77% - had not heard of RFID. Confirming the general lack of knowledge about this technology, nearly half of the group aware of RFID had "no opinion" about it.82
Consumers who did have an opinion about RFID expressed a variety of views about whether or how this technology would affect them. When asked to rank a set of potential benefits of RFID, 70% identified recovery of stolen goods and improved food and drug safety high on the list. The majority (66%) also placed cost savings toward the top of the list of benefits, although some consumers were also concerned that RFID use would instead raise prices. Consumers placed access to marketing-related benefits, like in-aisle companion product suggestions, at the bottom of the list.83
The most significant concerns expressed by consumers familiar with RFID related to privacy. In response to both open-ended and prompted questions (with pre-programmed answers to select or rank), privacy emerged as a leading concern. For example, approximately two-thirds of consumers identified as top concerns the likelihood that RFID would lead to their data being shared with third parties, more targeted marketing, or the tracking of consumers via their product purchases. These findings are consistent with the views of consumers who submitted comments to the Commission about RFID.84 Many of those consumers voiced strong opposition to having RFID devices track their purchases and movements, with some citing as reasons for their position the potential for increased marketing or government surveillance.
A more recent consumer survey, conducted by two market research companies, revealed similar results.85 Of more than 8,000 individuals surveyed, fewer than 30% of consumers were aware of RFID technology. Further, nearly two-thirds of all consumers surveyed expressed concerns about potential privacy abuses.86 Their primary concerns centered around
RFID's ability to facilitate the tracking of consumers' shopping habits and the sharing of that information among businesses and with the government. Like the study discussed at the Workshop, this survey also demonstrated that the great majority of consumers remain unfamiliar with RFID. Additionally, consumers who fell into the "RFID non-aware" category were more likely to be concerned about RFID's implications for their privacy than were consumers who were familiar with the technology.87
B. RFID and Consumer Privacy
Against the backdrop of survey data about consumer perceptions of RFID, Workshop participants discussed the nature of privacy concerns associated with some of the emerging uses of this technology. While there was some consensus among Workshop panelists that certain uses of RFID today - such as in the supply chain - may not jeopardize consumer privacy,88 a number of consumer advocates voiced concerns about the potential impact of other RFID applications on consumer privacy.89 According to these panelists, such concerns may arise when consumers interact more directly with tags and readers, particularly in the context of item-level tagging of retail goods.
The concerns articulated by these Workshop participants implicated issues specific to RFID technology as well as more general privacy issues. Some panelists discussed how RFID's unique or distinguishing characteristics may jeopardize consumer privacy. First, these participants cited as a key concern the "bit capacity" of Electronic Product Codes ("EPCs"), which enable the assignment of individual identifiers to tagged objects.90 They argued that RFID's potential to identify items uniquely facilitates the collection of more - and more accurate - data.91
Other features of RFID that troubled these Workshop participants related to the devices' physical attributes. According to these panelists, the small size of tags and readers enables them to be hidden from consumers.92 One Workshop participant explained that if a long read-range is not required, scanners can be smaller than a U.S. quarter.93 Another Workshop participant focused on the privacy implications of the small size of RFID chips and how their shrinking dimensions facilitate their unobtrusive integration into consumer goods.94 Some panelists highlighted the ability of RFID devices to communicate with one another through materials, without line-of-sight, and at some distance.95 These technical characteristics, they
argued, distinguish RFID from bar codes, which in order to be read must be visible on the outside of product packaging.96 Some commenters pointed to these characteristics as evidence that RFID would allow surreptitious scanning to gather information about the products consumers wear or carry.97 Participants also raised concerns about what they termed the "promiscuity" of RFID devices98 - when tags can be accessed by multiple readers, it raises the specter of unfettered third-party surveillance.99
The combination of these factors, some Workshop participants asserted, will weaken consumers' ability to protect themselves from in-store tracking and surreptitious monitoring in public places, at work, and even at home. Certain panelists were especially concerned about RFID's potential to facilitate consumer tracking, by linking personally identifiable information in databases to the unique numbers on RFID tags. One participant described how a retailer could associate purchaser data with the uniquely identified product an individual buys.100 According to the participant, this practice would be similar to what retailers can currently do with customer loyalty cards or credit cards.101 However, a number of Workshop panelists maintained that RFID poses greater threats to consumer privacy because of the enhanced level of information it provides about each tagged item. They suggested that a tagged item carried by a consumer out of a store could be read covertly, and what it communicates could be more than just the presence of a particular item. If linked to purchase data, the identification of a particular product could also identify the individual who bought that item.102
Privacy advocates at the Workshop cited this latter potential as the basis for another privacy concern: consumer profiling. By tracking the movement of tagged goods and the people associated with them, more information can be gathered about the activities of those individuals.103 That in turn could make it easier to predict the behavior of others who buy the same items, even without monitoring them.104 Another concern raised at the Workshop relates to RFID's facilitation of "customer relationship management," whereby retailers customize pricing and service based on a consumer's potential profitability.105 According to one Workshop participant, if RFID tags were embedded in customer loyalty cards, consumers could be identified as soon as they entered the store that issued the card. This could result in targeted marketing or customer service directed at the consumer, depending on his or her purchase history or other information linked to the loyalty card.106
Many of these fears are associated with item-level tagging. As noted in Section III.D., however, a number of Workshop participants representing retailers and other RFID users maintained that RFID was not being used in this manner on a widespread basis now and would not be in the near future.107 Some panelists also argued that no real business case exists for the adoption of a network accessible to multiple users that contains information about these users' RFID-tagged goods. As one participant stated, "Wal-Mart doesn't want its competitors to read tags that are from Wal-Mart stores. Wal-Mart probably also doesn't want its suppliers to read information about its other suppliers. They want to control that information for competitive reasons."108
Even if and when item-level tagging is adopted on a widespread basis, some Workshop participants disputed that consumer privacy would be jeopardized as a result. They asserted that RFID's technological limitations will prevent its surreptitious use. For example, reading an RFID tag from a significant distance currently requires use of a sizable antenna ("about the size of a plate," according to one panelist) and significant energy.109 Another argument advanced at the Workshop focused on how cost factors will continue to slow retailers' adoption of RFID, limiting the sophistication and proliferation of readers on the store floor.110 One participant representing a retail chain argued that no business case exists for linking data collected via RFID to personally identifiable information about consumers, so fears about this potential are misplaced.111 In addition, many panelists addressed the emergence of a variety of technological protocols and products, such as encryption and blocker tags, that may offer a means to address privacy concerns associated with these devices.112
C. Database Security Issues
Regardless of panelists' views regarding the existence or extent of many privacy concerns, many participants agreed that database security was an important issue, especially in the manufacturing and retail environment. Rather than concentrating on how information may be collected via RFID devices, these participants discussed security issues that focus on how such data is stored and whether it is adequately protected.113 According to one panelist, database security is a critical aspect of any analysis of privacy concerns associated with RFID use, because the tags themselves may contain only limited data, such as a number in the case of EPC chips.114 The panelist further explained that the information associated with that number
will be stored on a server of the product manufacturer or other authorized user, where it can be linked to additional data.115
Although Workshop panelists did not analyze the specific database security concerns linked to RFID use, one commenter provided a detailed discussion of these issues.116 According to this commenter, security concerns are likely to arise in connection with interoperable tags, which can be read by different enterprises sharing information associated with those tags.117 The commenter explained that the security of any database in which that information is stored depends on traditional information technology protections - not RFID-specific practices.118 Further, the commenter asserted that these concerns are exacerbated when databases are maintained by third parties, outside of the RFID user's direct control.119 Thus, the commenter argued, security measures will be that much more critical if databases contain information from RFID tags linked to personally identifiable information about the purchasers of tagged items.120
Workshop participants representing a range of interests generally acknowledged the need to address these issues. One speaker emphasized that the EPCglobal Network will maintain the security of data associated with EPC tags, which will be stored on servers "beyond the firewalls of corporations, logistics providers and retailers all around the globe."121 However, others felt that insufficient attention has been devoted to database security122 and maintained that RFID use will exacerbate existing concerns, since information collected via RFID will be that much more detailed and accurate.123 Another Workshop participant argued that the focus on privacy concerns presented by RFID devices (i.e., tags and readers) are obfuscating the more important concerns related to general database security.124
V. Addressing Consumer Privacy Challenges: Best Practices and Principles
The Workshop concluded with a panel examining various approaches to addressing the privacy issues raised by RFID technology. As participants noted, these challenges are not insubstantial, in light of RFID's evolving nature and the uncertainty as to how various existing and potential uses may affect consumers.125 Industry guidelines, legislative developments,
and technological solutions designed to address privacy and security concerns were among the options discussed and debated.126
A. Existing Industry Practices and Standards
Panelists voiced a range of opinions as to what approach or combination of measures would be most effective at meeting the challenges posed by RFID. Many participants agreed that, at a minimum, businesses deploying RFID should take steps to protect consumer privacy. One self-regulatory model already in place is EPCglobal's "Guidelines on EPC for Consumer Products" ("EPCglobal Guidelines").127 According to a Workshop panelist, the Guidelines were developed with input from privacy experts and apply to all EPCglobal members.128 The Guidelines call for consumer notice, choice, and education, and also instruct companies to implement certain security practices.129
The first element, consumer notice, requires that companies using EPC tags "on products or their packaging" include an EPC label or identifier indicating the tags' presence. According to a Workshop participant, EPCglobal has developed a template label that companies can use to inform consumers of the presence of EPC tags.130 Displaying a copy of the model identifier, the speaker explained that the template label discloses that a particular product's packaging contains an EPC tag, which may be discarded by a consumer after purchase.131
The Guidelines' second requirement, consumer choice, concerns the right of consumers to "discard or remove or in the future disable EPC tags from the products they acquire." The Guidelines explain, "for most products, the EPC tags [would] be part of disposable packaging or would be otherwise discardable."
Consumer education is the third prong of the Guidelines, which provides that consumers should have "the opportunity easily to obtain accurate information about EPC tags and their applications." The Guidelines task companies using RFID with "familiariz[ing] consumers with the EPC logo and . . . help[ing] consumers understand the technology and its benefits."
Finally, the Guidelines call for companies to ensure that any "data which is associated with EPC is collected, used, maintained, stored and protected" consistent with "any applicable laws."132 They further instruct companies to publish "information on their policies regarding the retention, use and protection of any personally identifiable information associated with EPC
use."133 To help ensure compliance with these Guidelines, EPCglobal will provide a forum to redress complaints about failures to comply with the Guidelines.134
According to Workshop participants, some companies have already endorsed or implemented these practices as they test RFID systems.135 Panelists discussed how Wal-Mart, which is currently operating a pilot program with EPC tags in a limited number of stores, has posted a "shelf-talker" disclosing the presence of EPC tags.136 According to this tear-off notice reportedly made available to Wal-Mart shoppers, only cases of certain products or specific large items, like computer printers, include EPC tags and bear the EPCglobal logo. The disclosure further explains that the technology "will not be used to collect additional data about [Wal-Mart's] customers or their purchases."137 Consistent with that commitment, Wal-Mart has stated that it has no readers on store floors, so consumers should not be exposed to any communications between tags and readers.138
Workshop panelists also discussed the privacy guidelines adopted by Procter & Gamble ("P&G"), another company involved in RFID trials both in the U.S. and abroad.139 In addition to its global privacy policy, P&G has developed an RFID-specific position statement calling for "clear and accurate" notice to consumers about the use of RFID tags and consumer choice with respect to disabling or discarding EPC tags "without cost or penalty" as well as disclosure of whether any personally identifiable information about them is "electronically linked to the EPC number on products they buy."140 Further, P&G stated at the Workshop that it will not participate in item-level tagging with any retailer or partner that would link personal information about consumers using RFID, "other than what they do for bar codes today."141
The Workshop also explored a case study of retail item-level RFID tagging in action. A representative of Marks & Spencer, one of the United Kingdom's largest retailers, described his company's in-store RFID pilot program, tagging menswear in select stores. Marks & Spencer's use of "Intelligent Labels," as it has designated its RFID program, is for stock control - a continuation of the supply chain management process.142 With this limited purpose in mind, the Marks & Spencer official explained how his company incorporated privacy-protective measures into its Intelligent Label program.143 According to the company, these considerations are reflected in the mechanics of its RFID deployment, which apply the notice, choice, and education principles advocated by EPCglobal and others. The hang-tags bearing the Intelligent Labels are large, visibly placed, and easily removable.144 No data is written to
the tags, and they are not scanned at the cash register, so there is no possibility of connecting the unique identifier on the tag to the purchaser. Indeed, the tags are not scanned at all during store hours, but rather are read for inventory control purposes when customers are not present. Finally, all of these practices are described in a leaflet that Marks & Spencer makes available to shoppers.145
Some Workshop participants stated that these industry initiatives represent effective ways to address consumer privacy concerns, but others maintained they are necessary, but insufficient, steps. Privacy advocates at the Workshop called for merchants to take additional precautions when using RFID tags on consumer items, including fully transparent use of RFID.146 With respect to company statements disclosing the presence of in-store RFID devices, privacy advocates argued that such disclosures should be clear and conspicuous.147 One participant stated that disclosures should contain specific information: that a product bears an RFID tag; that the tag can communicate, both pre- and post-purchase, the unique identification of the object to which it is attached; and the "basic technical characteristics of the RFID technology."148 Another Workshop panelist urged that any such disclosures be "simple and factual," avoiding "happy face technology" that is essentially "marketing hype."149 This panelist felt that by disclosing its RFID practices in a straightforward manner, a company will convey information in a way that consumers are more likely both to understand and trust.150
B. Regulatory Approaches
Privacy advocates at the Workshop also called for RFID to be subjected to a "formal technology assessment," conducted by a neutral body and involving all relevant stakeholders, including consumers.151 This process could examine issues such as whether RFID can be deployed in less privacy-intrusive ways.152 Until such an assessment takes place, these participants requested that RFID users voluntarily refrain from the item-level tagging of consumer goods.153
In addition, some Workshop panelists argued that government action to regulate RFID is necessary.154 One panelist urged the Commission to implement a set of guidelines for manufacturers and retailers using RFID on consumer products.155 According to this participant, other international standards that already apply to the use of RFID in this context support the need for comparable regulation in the U.S.156 Certain Workshop participants also
endorsed specific restrictions on RFID use, including prohibitions on tracking consumers without their "informed and written consent" and on any application that would "eliminate or reduce [individuals'] anonymity."157 In addition, these participants called for "security and integrity" in using RFID, including the use of third-party auditors that could publicly verify the security of a given system.158 Similarly, one panelist argued that consumers should be able to file with designated government and industry officials complaints regarding RFID users' non-compliance with stated privacy and security practices.159
Other Workshop panelists disputed the need for regulation at this point, contending that legislation could unreasonably limit the benefits of RFID160 and would be ill-suited to regulate such a rapidly evolving technology.161 According to one participant, the FTC's existing enforcement authority is adequate to address abuses of RFID technology, citing the Commission's ability to challenge misrepresentations by a company about its privacy and/or security practices.162 Therefore, this participant concluded that technology-specific privacy legislation is unnecessary at this juncture.163
C. Technological Approaches
Workshop participants also debated the merits of various technological approaches to addressing consumer privacy concerns. In addition to the database security measures discussed above, these proposals include protocols protecting communications between readers and tags, such as encryption or passwords.164 These methods would restrict access to the tag itself by requiring some measure of authentication on behalf of the scanning device. Even if a reader could get a tag to "talk," encryption would prevent the reader from understanding the message.165 One commenter strongly urged that "[authorization, authentication, and encryption for RFID . . . be developed and applied on a routine basis to ensure trustworthiness of RFID radio communications."166
A related technical approach discussed at the Workshop involves "blocker tags," which prevent RFID tags from communicating accurately with a reader.167 With blocker tags, which are tags literally placed over or in close proximity to the RFID tag, consumers would be able to control which items they want blocked and when. This would allow consumers to benefit from any post-purchase applications of RFID that may develop, such as "smart" refrigerators.168
Finally, Workshop participants discussed the "kill switch," a feature that permanently disables at the point-of-sale an RFID tag affixed to a consumer item.169 Such a function has been proposed as a way to provide "choice" to consumers in the context of item-level tagging.170 However, a number of Workshop participants disputed the effectiveness of this approach. Some privacy advocates found the options of killing or blocking tags both lacking because of the burden they could impose on consumers. For example, setting up a "kill kiosk," as one retailer abroad reportedly had done,171 contemplates that consumers first purchase an item and then deactivate an attached RFID tag. Some panelists argued that this process was cumbersome by requiring that consumers engage in two separate transactions when making a purchase. They argued that this process may dissuade consumers from exercising the option to disable tags on purchased items.172
Another critique of these technological "fixes" raised at the Workshop focused on their potential to reward - and thus foster - RFID use. Some participants argued that if the only method of protecting consumer privacy was to disable tags at purchase, any post-purchase benefits would accrue only to those who kept their RFID tags active.173 As a result, these panelists suggested, consumers would be more likely to keep tags enabled.174 Conversely, another participant argued that giving shoppers this option could drive up costs for all consumers, even those who do not object to the presence of active RFID tags on items they purchase.175 According to this speaker, merchants would likely be reluctant to charge higher prices for consumers who elect to deactivate RFID tags prior to purchase.176 Finally, as one commenter pointed out, the effectiveness of tag-killing technology depends on whether the presence of RFID is effectively disclosed: no consumer will seek to deactivate a tag of which she or he is unaware.177
VI. Conclusion
The Workshop provided Commission staff, panelists, and the public with a valuable opportunity to learn about RFID technology. In addition, the Workshop brought together RFID proponents, privacy experts, and other interested parties to discuss RFID's various current and potential applications and their implications for consumer privacy. It also highlighted proposals to address these implications and generated discussion about the merits of these different approaches.
Workshop participants generally agreed that certain RFID uses, like tagging cases and pallets of goods moving through the supply chain, may increase efficiency without jeopardizing consumer privacy. However, less consensus emerged about the implications of other potential RFID uses, such as item-level tagging of consumer products. Some panelists expressed concern about the physical characteristics of RFID devices, focusing on the small size of tags and readers and their ability to communicate even when concealed and at some distance from each other. These participants were also concerned that a third party could access information stored on RFID tags to monitor consumers surreptitiously.
Other panelists believed that privacy concerns about RFID technology were exaggerated. They doubted that RFID technology would ever have some of the capabilities that appear to raise privacy concerns, and they argued that costs will restrict the introduction of RFID into consumer environments. Finally, they asserted that RFID would not be deployed in privacy-intrusive ways, citing as evidence the range of industry self-regulatory efforts underway.
Panelists discussed a number of self-regulatory models, from RFID-specific practices to comprehensive privacy principles that implicitly incorporate RFID use. In general, these approaches incorporate disclosure of the presence of RFID technology ("notice"), providing the option to discard, remove, or disable the tags ("choice"), consumer education, and information security measures. Workshop participants agreed in particular that there is a need to protect information collected with RFID devices and stored in company databases.
Based on the Workshop discussions and comments submitted from technology experts, RFID users, privacy advocates, and consumers, Commission staff agrees that industry initiatives can play an important role in addressing privacy concerns raised by certain RFID applications. The staff believes that the goal of such programs should be transparency. For example, when a retailer provides notice to consumers about the presence of RFID tags, the notice should be clear, conspicuous, and accurate.178 The notice should advise consumers if an RFID tag or reader is present and if the technology is being used to collect personally identifiable information about consumers. This clarity is particularly important when a disclosure concerns an unfamiliar technology, as is the case with RFID.179 Similarly, if
a company's program provides consumers with the option of removing the RFID tag, the company's practices should make that option easy to exercise by consumers. However, given the variation in RFID applications, translating these goals into concrete steps may be challenging and should occur in a way that allows flexibility to develop the best methods to address consumer privacy concerns.
Commission staff also agrees with the Workshop participants who viewed many of the potential privacy issues associated with RFID as inextricably linked to database security. The Commission has worked vigorously, through a combination of law enforcement,180 public workshops,181 and business education materials,182 to ensure that companies secure consumers' personal information. As in other contexts in which personal information is collected from consumers, the staff believes that a company that uses RFID to collect such information must implement reasonable and appropriate measures to protect that data.183 As part of implementing an information security program, the staff encourages businesses to consider whether retention of information collected from consumers through RFID or other methods is necessary or even useful.184 The staff also recommends that any industry self-regulatory program include meaningful accountability provisions to help ensure compliance.
Another critical element of self-regulatory programs that many Workshop participants and commenters emphasized was effective consumer education.185 The staff agrees that consumer education is a vital part of protecting consumer privacy. Industry members, privacy advocates, and government should develop education tools that inform consumers about RFID technology, how they can expect to encounter it, and what choices they have with respect to its usage in particular situations. As new applications of RFID emerge, the staff will continue to monitor these developments and consider what additional guidance or other actions are appropriate, in light of the implications of those developments for consumers.
1. Jo Best, Cheat sheet: RFID, silicon.com, Apr. 16, 2004.
2. See, e.g., Allen, Texas Instruments, at 67-75. Unless otherwise noted, footnote citations are to the transcript of or comments submitted in connection with the Workshop. The Workshop transcript, specific panelist presentations, and comments are available online at http://ftc. gov/bcp/workshops/rfid/index.htm. Footnotes that cite to specific panelists cite to his or her last name, affiliation, and the page(s) where the referenced statement can be found in the transcript or appropriate comment. A complete list of Workshop participants can be found in Appendix A.
3. See Press Release, Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart Begins Roll-Out of Electronic Product Codes in Dallas/ Fort Worth Area (Apr. 30, 2004) (available at http://walmartstores.com).
4. See Jacqueline Emigh, More Retailers Mull RFID Mandates, eweek, Aug. 19, 2004.
5. See Boone, IDC, at 226.
6. Tien, Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF"), at 97.
7. Press Release, FDA, FDA Announces New Initiative to Protect the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Through the Use of Radiofrequency Identification Technology (Nov. 15, 2004) (available at http:// http://www.fda.gov).
8. Over the past decade, the FTC has frequently held workshops to explore emerging issues raised by new technologies. The Commission's earliest workshops on Internet-related issues were held in 1995. See http://ftc.gov/opp/global/trnscrpt.htm. More recently, the Commissions workshops have focused on such issues as wireless technologies, information security, spam, spyware, and peer-to-peer networks. For more information about each of these forums and the Commission's privacy agenda, see http://ftc.gov/privacy/privacyinitiatives/promises_ wkshp.html.
9. This report was prepared by Julie Brof and Tracy Thorleifson of the FTC staff. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission or any individual Commissioner.
10. For an explanation of how GPS operates, see http://gps.faa.gov/gpsbasics/.
11. The EPCglobal Network: Overview of Design, Benefits, and Security §3 (2004) (available at http://epcglobalinc.org).
12. See John Carey, Big Brother's Passport to Pry, Business Week, Nov. 5, 2004.
13. Image courtesy of Marks & Spencer.
14. See RSA Laboratories, Technical Characteristics of RFID (available at http://rsasecurity. com/rsalabs/).
15. See Frequently Asked Questions (available at http://rfidjournal.com).
16. For a discussion of these and other approaches to securing communications between RFID tags and readers, see Section V.C., infra.
17. Bar codes, however, are typically less expensive and have longer read ranges, provided there is line-of-sight scanning. See Olga Kharif, Like It or Not, RFID IS Coming, Business Week, Mar. 18, 2004 (noting that RFID tags now cost "at least 20 times as much" as bar codes); Parkinson,
Capgemini, at 214 (stating that "as long a bar code is visible, [it can be read] from almost a mile away with a laser scanner").
18. See Stafford, Marks & Spencer, at 264.
19. Image courtesy of Intel Research Seattle.
20. Image courtesy of Marks & Spencer.
21. Image courtesy of Intel Research Seattle.
22. See Privacy FAQs (available at http://rfidjournal.com); see also Parkinson at 213.
23. The EPCglobal Network §§ 5-6, supra note 11. As a participant at the Workshop explained, "EPCglobal is a joint venture of the Uniform Code Council and EAN International . . . . [whose] mission is simply to create global standards for the EPCglobal Network." Board, EPCglobal Public Policy Steering Committee, at 269.
24. See Hutchinson, EPCglobal US, at 37-38.
25. Id.
26. See http://ezpass.com/static/info/howit.shtml.
27. Frequently Asked Questions, supra note 15.
28. In fact, the proximity of some of those substances, particularly water or metal, may make it impossible to read an RFID tag. Engels, Auto-ID Labs, at 23-25, 27.
29. Costs are in U.S. dollars. See Glossary of RFID Terms (available at http://rfidjournal. com); see also Boone, IDC, at 219.
30. See Robert O'Harrow Jr., Tiny Sensors That Can Track Anything, Washington Post, Sept. 24,
31. See Aaron Ricadela, Sensors Everywhere, Information Week, Jan. 24, 2005.
32. See Glossary of RFID Terms, supra note 29.
33. See http://ezpass.com/index.html.
34. See Joshua Walker and Christine Spivey Overby, Forrester Research, What You Need to Know About RFID in 2004 (available at http://forrester.com/ER/Research/Brief/0,1317,33298,FF.
35. Id.
36. As noted above, the theoretical distance for reading passive tags is up to 30 feet, but that longer range does not account for real-world conditions, such as interference from metals, liquids, or even wind. See Engels, Auto-ID Labs, at 24-25; Albers, Philips Semiconductors ("Philips"), at
37. For example, Workshop attendees heard about how Marks & Spencer, a British retail chain, uses
writeable tags on trays used to ship products from the company's food supplier. Each time a tray
is used, the RFID tag on the outside of the tray is "written to," meaning that information about
the contents of the tray for that particular shipment is loaded onto the chip. Stafford, Marks &
Spencer, at 262-63.
38. The EPCglobal Network is an example of such a system. See supra note 11.
39. Id. ; Allen, Texas Instruments, at 73.
40. Allen, Texas Instruments, at 73; see also Laurie Sullivan, How RFID Will Help Mommy Find Johnny, InformationWeek, Sept. 15, 2004.
41. Allen, Texas Instruments, at 68; see also Albers, Philips, at 32-33.
42. According to a Workshop participant, seven million U.S. consumers currently use Speedpass. Allen, Texas Instruments, at 70. In addition to payment mechanisms like Speedpass, major credit card companies are developing "contactless smart cards" to facilitate purchases at a variety of venues. Albers, Philips, at 32 (noting that MasterCard, Visa, and American Express are developing such cards). One recent example is the acceptance of MasterCard's "PayPass" at McDonald's. McDonald's to Roll Out Contactless Payments in USA, UsingRFID.com, Aug. 30,
43. See, e.g., http://ezpass.com/index.html. A recently announced initiative by the Orlando/
Orange County Expressway Authority ("OOCEA") in Florida will take this concept even further.
OOCEA plans to install roadside RFID readers to gather data from about 1 million RFID tags
attached to cars. The program is designed to determine accurate travel times and improve traffic
flow. After the information is encrypted and stripped of any personal identifiers, drivers will
be able to access it from signs along the highway, by phone, and eventually through a Web site. Claire Swedberg, RFID Drives Highway Traffic Reports, RFID Journal, Nov. 17, 2004.
44. Sarah Lacy, Inching Toward the RFID Revolution, Business Week, Aug. 31, 2004.
45. Hughes, Procter & Gamble ("P&G"), at 167.
46. See Julie Hutto and Robert D. Atkinson, PPI, Radio Frequency Identification: Little Devices Making Big Waves, at 3-4 (Oct. 2004) (arguing that retailers' costs savings attributable to RFID would be quickly passed on to consumers because of "fierce competition"). However, a number of panelists at the Workshop suggested that the adoption of RFID by retailers would not necessarily result in lower prices for consumers, at least not in the near future. See Hughes, P&G, at 196; Duncan, National Retail Federation ("NRF"), at 196-97.
47. Wood, Retail Industry Leaders Association ("RILA"), at 52-53.
48. Id. According to the Grocery Manufacturers of America, an estimated 8 percent of the time consumers can't find what they want on retailers' shelves, and that number can climb to 15 percent during a product promotion. Barnaby J. Feder, RFID: Simple Concept Haunted by Daunting Complexity, N.Y. Times, Nov. 21, 2004.
49. Wood, RILA, at 54; Langford, Wal-Mart, at 62-64. According to Langford, Wal-Mart intends to monitor shipments as they leave suppliers, which will provide additional visibility early in the supply chain, not just when products arrive at a Wal-Mart distribution center.
50. Langford, Wal-Mart, at 62-63. As explained above, unlike bar codes, RFID tags do not require line-of-sight or individual scanning to be read.
51. This panelist explained how RFID could reduce the need for retailers to order "safety stock," which are the additional goods purchased in order to avoid having a shortage of necessary items. Safety stock sits unsold on the shelf, and is thus a source of inefficiency. Wood, RILA, at 53.
52. Wood, RILA, at 54; see also Langford, Wal-Mart, at 67; Grocery Manufacturers of America
("GMA"), Comment, at 3.
53. Woods, RILA, at 53.
54. Boone, IDC, at 218-19. See also Stafford, Marks & Spencer, at 264 (asserting that "[t]he business case for using RFID tags is entirely about the speed of read").
55. Wood, RILA, at 55.
56. Id. at 54-55 (explaining that RFID will help ensure that consumers don't "buy aspirin and then have it expire on [them] in three months"); see also GMA, Comment, at 3.
57. Tien, EFF, at 96-98; see generally Mulligan, Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Poli
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Radio-frequency identification
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses communication via radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to an object, for the purpose of identification and tracking.
It is possible that by 2030, RFID technology will have inserted itself into our daily lives the way that bar code technology wrought unobtrusive but remarkable changes when it was new.
RFID technology makes it possible to give each product in a grocery store its own unique identifying number. Compare that to the situation today, with bar codes, where it is only possible to identify the brand and type of package. Furthermore, RFID tags can be read if passed within close enough proximity to an RFID tag reader. It is not necessary to "show" them to it, as with a bar code.
Some tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader. The application of bulk reading enables an almost-parallel reading of tags.
Radio-frequency identification involves interrogators (also known as readers), and tags (also known as labels).
Most RFID tags contain at least two parts: one is an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a radio-frequency (RF) signal, and other specialized functions; the other is an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal.
Fixed RFID and Mobile RFID: Depending on mobility, RFIDs are classified into two different types: fixed RFID and mobile RFID. If the reader reads tags in a stationary position, it is called fixed RFID. On the other hand, if either the reader or the tag is mobile when the reader reads tags, it is called mobile RFID. Last, the RFID is classified into mobile RFID for the case that both the reader and the tag are mobile.
There are three types of RFID tags: passive RFID tags, which have no power source and require an external electromagnetic field to initiate a signal transmission, active RFID tags, which contain a battery and can transmit signals once an external source ('Interrogator') has been successfully identified, and battery assisted passive (BAP) RFID tags, which require an external source to wake up but have significant higher forward link capability providing greater range.
There are a variety of groups defining standards and regulating the use of RFID, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), ASTM International, the DASH7 Alliance and EPCglobal. (Refer to Regulation and standardization below.)
RFID has many applications; for example, it is used in enterprise supply chain management to improve the efficiency of inventory tracking and management.
Main article: History of radar
An RFID tag used for electronic toll collection.

In 1945 Léon Theremin invented an espionage tool for the Soviet Union which retransmitted incident radio waves with audio information. Sound waves vibrated a diaphragm which slightly altered the shape of the resonator, which modulated the reflected radio frequency. Even though this device was a covert listening device, not an identification tag, it is considered to be a predecessor of RFID technology, because it was likewise passive, being energized and activated by electromagnetic waves from an outside source.[1]
Similar technology, such as the IFF transponder developed in the United Kingdom, was routinely used by the allies in World War II to identify aircraft as friend or foe. Transponders are still used by most powered aircraft to this day. Another early work exploring RFID is the landmark 1948 paper by Harry Stockman, titled "Communication by Means of Reflected Power" (Proceedings of the IRE, pp 1196–1204, October 1948). Stockman predicted that "... considerable research and development work has to be done before the remaining basic problems in reflected-power communication are solved, and before the field of useful applications is explored."
Mario Cardullo's device in 1973 was the first true ancestor of modern RFID, as it was a passive radio transponder with memory.[2] The initial device was passive, powered by the interrogating signal, and was demonstrated in 1971 to the New York Port Authority and other potential users and consisted of a transponder with 16 bit memory for use as a toll device. The basic Cardullo patent covers the use of RF, sound and light as transmission media. The original business plan presented to investors in 1969 showed uses in transportation (automotive vehicle identification, automatic toll system, electronic license plate, electronic manifest, vehicle routing, vehicle performance monitoring), banking (electronic check book, electronic credit card), security (personnel identification, automatic gates, surveillance) and medical (identification, patient history).[3]
An early demonstration of reflected power (modulated backscatter) RFID tags, both passive and semi-passive, was performed by Steven Depp, Alfred Koelle, and Robert Freyman at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1973.[4] The portable system operated at 915 MHz and used 12-bit tags. This technique is used by the majority of today's UHFID and microwave RFID tags.[5]
The first patent to be associated with the abbreviation RFID was granted to Charles Walton in 1983.[6]
The largest deployment of active RFID is the US Department of Defense use of Savi[7] active tags on every one of its more than a million shipping containers that travel outside of the continental United States. The largest passive RFID deployment is the enterprise-wide deployment performed by Wal*Mart which instrumented over 2800 retail stores with over 25,000 reader systems, however the exact number is considered 'corporate confidential'.
RF ID Use for Libraries
Among the many uses of RFID technology is its deployment in libraries. This technology has slowly begun to replace the traditional barcodes on library items (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.). The RFID tag can contain identifying information, such as a book's title or material type, without having to be pointed to a separate database (but this is rare in North America). The information is read by an RFID reader, which replaces the standard barcode reader commonly found at a library's circulation desk. The RFID tag found on library materials typically measures 50×50 mm in North America and 50×75 mm in Europe. It may replace or be added to the barcode, offering a different means of inventory management by the staff and self service by the borrowers. It can also act as a security device, taking the place of the more traditional electromagnetic security strip.[45]
While there is some debate as to when and where RFID in libraries first began, it was first proposed in the late 1990s as a technology that would enhance workflow in the library setting. Singapore was certainly one of the first to introduce RFID in libraries and Rockefeller University in New York may have been the first academic library in the United States to utilize this technology, whereas Farmington Community Library in Michigan may have been the first public institution, both of which began using RFID in 1999. In Europe, the first public library to use RFID was the one in Hoogezand-Sappemeer, the Netherlands, in 2001, where borrowers were given an option. To their surprise, 70% used the RFID option and quickly adapted, including elderly people.
Worldwide, in absolute numbers, RFID is used most in the United States (with its 300 million inhabitants), followed by the United Kingdom and Japan. It is estimated that over 30 million library items worldwide now contain RFID tags, including some in the Vatican Library in Rome.[46] At the time of 2010, the largest RFID implementation in academic library is the University of Hong Kong Libraries which have over 1.20 million library items contain RFID tags;[47] whereas the largest implementation for public institution has been installed in Seattle Public Library in the United States.
RFID has many library applications that can be highly beneficial, particularly for circulation staff. Since RFID tags can be read through an item, there is no need to open a book cover or DVD case to scan an item. This could reduce repetitive-motion injuries. Where the books have a barcode on the outside, there is still the advantage that borrowers can scan an entire pile of books in one go, instead of one at a time. Since RFID tags can also be read while an item is in motion, using RFID readers to check-in returned items while on a conveyor belt reduces staff time. But, as with barcode, this can all be done by the borrowers themselves, meaning they might never again need the assistance of staff. Next to these readers with a fixed location there are also portable ones (for librarians, but in the future possibly also for borrowers, possibly even their own general-purpose readers). With these, inventories could be done on a whole shelf of materials within seconds, without a book ever having to be taken off the shelf.[48] In Umeå, Sweden, RFID is being used to assist visually impaired people in borrowing audiobooks.[49] In Malaysia, Smart Shelves are used to pinpoint the exact location of books in Multimedia University Library, Cyberjaya.[50] In the Netherlands, handheld readers are being introduced for this purpose.
The Dutch Union of Public Libraries ('Vereniging van Openbare Bibliotheken') is working on the concept of an interactive 'context library', where borrowers get a reader/headphones-set, which leads them to the desired section of the library (using triangulation methods, rather like GPS) and which they can use to read information from books on the shelves with the desired level of detail (e.g. a section read out loud), coming from the book's tag itself or a database elsewhere, and get tips on alternatives, based on the borrowers' preferences, thus creating a more personalised version of the library. This may also lead them to sections of the library they might not otherwise visit. Borrowers could also use the system to exchange experiences (such as grading books). This is already done by children in the virtual realm at mijnstempel.nl, but the same could be done in physical form. Borrowers can grade the book at the return desk.
However, as of 2008 this technology remains too costly for many smaller libraries, and the conversion period has been estimated at 11 months for an average-size library. A 2004 Dutch estimate was that a library which lends 100,000 books per year should plan on a cost of €50,000 (borrow- and return-stations: 12,500 each, detection porches 10,000 each; tags 0.36 each). RFID taking a large burden off staff could also mean that fewer staff will be needed, resulting in some of them getting fired,[46] but that has so far not happened in North America where recent surveys have not returned a single library that cut staff because of adding RFID. In fact, library budgets are being reduced for personnel and increased for infrastructure, making it necessary for libraries to add automation to compensate for the reduced staff size. Also, the tasks that RFID takes over are largely not the primary tasks of librarians. A finding in the Netherlands is that borrowers are pleased with the fact that staff are now more available for answering questions.
A concern surrounding RFID in libraries that has received considerable publicity is the issue of privacy. Because RFID tags can — depending on the RFID transmitter & reader — be scanned and read from up to 350 feet or 100 m (eg Smart Label RFID's), and because RFID utilizes an assortment of frequencies (both depending on the type of tag, though), there is some concern over whether sensitive information could be collected from an unwilling source. However, library RFID tags do not contain any patron information,[51] and the tags used in the majority of libraries use a frequency only readable from approximately ten feet.[45] Also, libraries have always had to keep records of who has borrowed what, so in that sense there is nothing new. However, many libraries destroy these records once an item has been returned. RFID would complicate or nullify this respect of readers' privacy. Further, another non-library agency could potentially record the RFID tags of every person leaving the library without the library administrator's knowledge or consent. One simple option is to let the book transmit a code that has meaning only in conjunction with the library's database. Another step further is to give the book a new code every time it is returned. And if in the future readers become ubiquitous (and possibly networked), then stolen books could be traced even outside the library. Tag removal could be made difficult if the tags are so small that they fit invisibly inside a (random) page, possibly put there by the publisher
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Abstract : Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), one of the key technologies of silent commerce has been gaining momentum over the past couple of years. The introduction of the Electronic Product Code (EPC), which is likely to succeed the current Universal ProductCode (UPC), together with various other standards for the new “RFID network”, is poised for wide scale adoption by the corporate community in the foreseeable future. One area that will benefit from the use of RFID is supply chain management. A wide spectrum of benefits will be unlocked when adoption across the entire supply network is realized. These benefits would eventually ripple through all industries and sectors and open up a host of additional applications that will benefit both the corporate and civilian community. In the first part of this paper, the discussion is framed around the architectural depiction of the RFID network, illustrating the functionalities and importance of the various components and standards that have been developed. The next focuses on the various network communication technologies that will support the new RFID network. We map these technologies to the various segments in the supply chain, hereafter referred to as the supply network.
• During World war II, Germans used this kind of technique to distinguish between friends and foes at night through their aircraft.
• Shortly after WWII, eng. Harry Stockman gave an article over RFID.
• In 1972 Kriofsky and Kalpan gave an idea of transmitter and responder arrangement.
• In 1979 Biegel gave the idea of identification device through two antennas. (This is the landmark of RFID)
• In late 1970’s and 1980’s Lawrence Livermore Lab realized that handheld receiver stimulated by RF power could send back a coded radio signal, such a system could be connected to a simple computer and used to control access to a secure facility.
Vision of the Future for RFID?
• Smaller tags?
• The smart book shelf
• The smart book store – Selexyz Almere
• The smart library?
Vision of the Future
• Reception/Service Desk
• Self service with automated book return
• Self pick up of reservations
• Self payment
• Help Zone
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Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses communication via radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to an object, for the purpose of identification and tracking. Some tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader. The application of bulk reading enables an almost parallel reading of tags.
Radio-frequency identification involves interrogators (also known as readers), and tags (also known as labels).
Most RFID tags contain at least two parts. One is an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a radio-frequency (RF) signal, and other specialized functions. The other is an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal.
Fixed RFID and Mobile RFID: Depending on mobility, RFIDs are classified into two different types: fixed RFID and mobile RFID. If the reader reads tags in a stationary position, it is called fixed RFID. On the other hand, if either the reader or the tag is mobile when the reader reads tags, it is called mobile RFID. Last, the RFID is classified into mobile RFID for the case that both the reader and the tag are mobile.
In an RFID system, RFID tags are "interrogated" by an RFID reader. The tag reader generates a radio frequency “interrogation” signal that communicates with the tags. The reader also has a receiver that captures a reply signal from the tags, and decodes that signal. The reply signal from the tags reflects, both literally and figuratively, the tag's data content. The reply signal is created as passive "backscatter"
Important Consideration in Implementation
When a practical engineer implements the RFID system, the most important but difficult problem is "tag detect ability" (or called "tag readability"). But the problem should be solved before it is implemented in the practical field. It is possible for the reader to fail to read (or detect) tags. There are many reasons causing the delectability problem. For example, it can be caused by tag direction, tag position, the type of object material (ex: the water content is worse for readability), environments (i.e., electromagnetic interference (EMI)) or distance between the reader and tag. The tag direction and position are most sensitive for tag detect ability among them while the two causes can be easily solved by a user or a practical engineer.
There are three types of RFID tags: passive RFID tags, which have no power source and require an external electromagnetic field to initiate a signal transmission, active RFID tags, which contain a battery and can transmit signals once an external source ('Interrogator') has been successfully identified, and battery assisted passive (BAP) RFID tags, which require an external source to wake up but have significant higher forward link capability providing greater range.
RFID can be used in a variety of applications such as:
 Access management
 Tracking of goods and RFID in retail
 Tracking of persons and animals
 Toll collection and contactless payment
 Machine readable travel documents
 Smartdust (for massively distributed sensor networks)
 Tracking sports memorabilia to verify authenticity
 Airport baggage tracking logistics
 Problems and Concerns
• Data flooding
• Security concerns
• Shielding
• Temperature exposure
• Privacy
RFID, the technology of the future
RFID represents an all-encompassing structural business concept. This concept goes far beyond the change of regime away from the bar code. Successful RFID project and implimentations are not to be had as cheap standard solutions, but instead have to be configured especially for each area of deployment. They can be broken down into the following subject areas: sovereign functions, product innovation, and distribution, inventory management and logistics.

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.pptx   RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION AND DETECTION (RFID).pptx (Size: 198.19 KB / Downloads: 99)
Radio frequency (RF) refers to electromagnetic waves that have a wavelength suited for use in radio communication.
Radio waves are classified by their frequencies, which are expressed in kilohertz, megahertz, or gigahertz.
Radio frequencies range from
- very low frequency (VLF), which has a range of 10 to 30kHz,
- to extremely high frequency (EHF),which has a range of 30 to 300 GHz.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a generic term that is used to describe a system that transmits the identity (in the form of a unique serial number) of an object or person wirelessly, using radio waves.
RFID (radio frequency identification) is a fast, automatic identification technology similar in application to bar code technology but uses radio frequency (RF) instead of a visual scanner to transfer data between a reader and an item being tracked.
RFID systems use many different frequencies, but generally the most common are
low- (around 125 KHz), high- (13.56 MHz) and ultra-high frequency, or
UHF (850-928 MHz).
Microwave (2.45 GHz) is also used in some applications. Radio waves behave differently at different frequency, so choice of frequency should be based on the demands of the application. Unlike ubiquitous UPC bar-code technology, RFID technology does not require contact or line of sight for communication.
RFID data can be read through the human body, clothing and non-metallic materials.
A basic RFID system consists of three components:
- An antenna or coil.
- A transceiver (with decoder).
- A transponder (RF tag) electronically programmed with unique information.
The antenna emits radio signals to activate the tag and to read and write data to it.
The reader emits radio waves in ranges of anywhere from one inch to 100 feet or more, depending upon its power output and the radio frequency used.
When an RFID tag passes through the electromagnetic zone, it detects the reader's activation signal.
The reader decodes the data encoded in the tag's integrated circuit (silicon chip) and the data is passed to the host computer for processing.

In general, an RFID tag consists of an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and an antenna that can be mounted on various substrates.
Each element of an RFID tag is selected for optimum efficiency for the application.
Physical sizes can range from as small as a thumbnail to as large as a brick.
The tag can store as much as 2 kilobytes of data.
RFID tags come in three general varieties:
- passive tag,
- active tag,
- semi-passive tag (also known as battery-assisted).
Passive Tags:
Passive RFID tags have no internal power supply. The minute electrical current induced in the antenna by the incoming radio frequency signal provides just enough power for the complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit in the tag to power up and transmit a response. Most passive tags signal by backscattering the carrier wave from the reader. This means that the antenna has to be designed both to collect power from the incoming signal and also to transmit the outbound backscatter signal.
Active tags:
Unlike passive RFID tags, active RFID tags have their own internal power source, which is used to power the integrated circuits and to broadcast the response signal to the reader. Communications from active tags to readers is typically much more reliable (i.e. fewer errors) than from passive tags.
Semi-passive tags:
Semi-passive tags, also called semi-active tags, are similar to active tags in that they have their own power source, but the battery only powers the microchip and does not power the broadcasting of a signal.

The term RFID READER is often used as a general term to describe not only RFID Readers but RFID Interrogators and RFID Scanners.
There are two general groups of RFID readers:
- passive and
- active.
A passive RFID reader provides the energy to the RFID tag which does not have its own onboard power source and the tag then uses backscatter technology to return information to the reader.
An active RFID reader receives energy transmitted from an active RFID tag which has its own built in power source.
Passive UHF Readers (Ultra High Frequency) are used for RFID applications requiring longer read ranges (<30 feet) and the need for low cost RFID tags. Advances in UHF reader and tag technology is now allowing for reading around metal and water.
UHF frequencies typically offer better range (20-30 ft) and can transfer data faster than LF and HF tags, but they use more power and are less likely to pass through materials.
Passive HF Readers (High Frequency) are used for applications that require read distances of less than three feet.
Passive LF Readers (Low Frequency) are used for applications that require read distances of less than one foot. They are better able to penetrate non-metallic substances and are ideal for scanning objects with high-water content, such as fruit.
Active RFID Readers are used to track items at longer distances (100 feet+). Reader distance is strongly correlated to the power of the RFID active tag.

Though expensive, they last longer and deliver value for money with greater data storage capacity.
There are no positioning problems with an RFID tag, they can be placed anywhere and do not even require a line-of-sight to be scanned.
RFID tags are more robust and secure that can operate in harsh climates and tough environments.
They help to reduce misplacement of goods since they become easier to trace.
The information stored on the RFID tag can be constantly and repeatedly updated.
They help to reduce human errors.
It is difficult to duplicate an RFID tag while other identification methods are easier to copy.
Barcode readers require a direct line of sight to the printed barcode; RFID readers do not require a direct line of sight to either active RFID tags or passive RFID tags.
RFID tags can be read at much greater distances; an RFID reader can pull information from a tag at distances up to 300 feet. The range to read a barcode is much less, typically no more than fifteen feet.
RFID readers can interrogate, or read, RFID tags much faster; read rates of forty or more tags per second are possible. Reading barcodes is much more time-consuming; due to the fact that a direct line of sight is required, if the items are not properly oriented to the reader it may take seconds to read an individual tag. Barcode readers usually take a half-second or more to successfully complete a read.
Line of sight requirements also limit the ruggedness of barcodes as well as the reusability of barcodes. (Since line of sight is required for barcodes, the printed barcode must be exposed on the outside of the product, where it is subject to greater wear and tear.) RFID tags are typically more rugged, since the electronic components are better protected in a plastic cover. RFID tags can also be implanted within the product itself, guaranteeing greater ruggedness and reusability.
Barcodes have no read/write capability; that is, you cannot add to the information written on a printed barcode. RFID tags, however, can be read/write devices; the RFID reader can communicate with the tag, and alter as much of the information as the tag design will allow.
The applications of RFID done commercially are:
1) Asset Tracking
2)Payment Systems 
Road tolling
Instant payment for fuel
3)Security and Access Control
 4) People Tracking
Safety access to dangerous/secure equipment
Access to a computer or vehicle
Access to travel on trains/buses
5) Document tracking
6) government Library 
7) Healthcare

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19-08-2011, 09:51 AM

.doc   rfidreport.doc (Size: 9.13 MB / Downloads: 86)
RFID is an acronym for radio frequency identification: the use of wireless communications to establish the identity of a physical object. For the reader who is unfamiliar with the technology and business of RFID, there are many good introductions to RFID already available on the web; links are provided below to some of them. The purpose of this document is to go into some more depth on how such devices actually work. We focus here on passive transponders (tags): that is, tags with no power source other than the radio frequency power provided by the interrogating device (reader). The discussion is also specific to tags and readers operating at high enough frequencies that significant radiation occurs: for typical antenna sizes, operating frequencies over about 200 MHz ensure radiative coupling.
RFID Defined:
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses a semiconductor (microchip) in a tag or label to store data.
Data is transmitted from, or written to the tag or label when it is exposed to radio waves of the correct frequency and with the correct communications protocols
• A proven process improvement enabler
o Process innovation
• A highly capable technology when intelligently implemented
o Package development
o Factory automation
• A technology that will evolve and continue to improve
What is the purpose of RFID?
RFID allows data to be transmitted by a product containing an RFID tag microchip, which is read by an RFID reader. The data transmitted can provide identification or location information about the product, or specifics such as date of purchase or price.
What is the advantage of using RFID technology?
No contact or even line-of-sight is needed to read data from a product that contains an RFID tag. This means no more checkout scanners at grocery stores, no more unpacking shipping boxes, and no more getting keys out of your pocket to start your car. RFID technology also works in rain, snow and other environments where bar code or optical scan technology would be useless.
Will RFID replace UPC bar code technology?
Probably not, at least not soon. Besides the fact that RFID tags still cost more than UPC labels, different data capture and tracking technologies offer different capabilities. Many businesses will likely combine RFID with existing technologies such as barcode readers or digital cameras to achieve expanded data capture and tracking capabilities that meet their specific business needs.
RFID Applications:
- Livestock tracking
- Automotive immobilizer
- Contactless payments
- Anti-theft
- Library books
- Speedpass
- Control Access
- Production/Inventory tracking
RFID Standards:
ISO 15693 ¡V Smart Labels
ISO 14443 ¡V Contactless payments
ISO 11784 ¡V Livestock
EPC ¡VRetail
ISO 18000 ¡V various frequencies, various applications
RFID Operating Frequencies:
Low Frequency ¡V LF (125 ¡V 134 kHz)
Applications: Access control, livestock, race timing, pallet tracking, automotive immobilizers, pet identification
- Inductively coupled devices, electro-mechanical field
- Antenna coil has many turns
- Read range (near contact to 1 meter)
- Memory usually a UID
- Limited data rate due to a lower bandwidth
High Frequency ¡V HF (13.56 MHz) ¡V Smart Labels
Applications: Supply chain, wireless commerce, ticketing, product authentication, clothing identification, library book identification, smart cards
- Inductively coupled devices
- Fewer antenna turns than LF device
- Read range from proximity to ¡Ó 1.5 meters
- Higher data transfer rate than LF
Ultra-High Frequency ¡V UHF (860-960 MHz)
Applications: Supply chain, tool tags, RTLS, EPC case and pallet
- RF communication uses propagation coupling
- Smaller reader antenna design than LF or HF
- Read distance (1 m ¡V 10 m)
- High data transfer rate
- More complex reader electronic components
Transponder Characteristics:
RFID tags are tiny microchips with memory and an antenna coil, thinner than paper and some only 0.3 mm across. RFID tags listen for a radio signal sent by a RFID reader. When a RFID tag receives a query, it responds by transmitting its unique ID code and other data back to the reader.
Tag Types:
- Active Tags: Battery powered, long read range
- Semi-active: Battery power to preserve memory
- Passive Tags: Low-cost, no battery required, medium read range
Active RFID Tags:
Active RFID tags, are called transponders because they contain a transmitter that is always ¡§on¡¨, are powered by a batter, about the size of a coin, and are designed for communications up to 100 feet from RFID reader. They are larger and more expensive than passive tags, but can hold more data about the product and are commonly used for high-value asset tracking. Active tags may be read-write, meaning data they contain can be written over.
Semi-Active RFID Tags:
Semi-active tags contain a small battery that boosts the range and preserves memory.
Passive RFID Tags:
Passive tags can be as small s 0.3 mm and don¡¦t require batteries. Rather, they are powered by the radio signal of a RFID reader, which ¡§wakes them up¡¨ to request a reply. Passive RFID tags can be read from a distance of about 20 feet. They are generally read-only, meaning the data they contain cannot be altered or written over.
Tag Packing Formats:
- Weatherproof or environment-proof enclosure
- Pressure Sensitive Label
- Laminated card
- Embedded in packaging or product
Transponder Examples:
- 32 mm and 23 mm capsule transponder
- ½ inch key head transponder
- Smart Labels (Clear and Adhesive
- Circular transponders
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plz sir send me rfid base report[/size][/font]
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What this RFID is?
the actual task of this page is not to give information its to guide the viewer.
so get the idea of its implementation and embedding the hardware RFID kit with the relevant software for details mail me
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to get information about the topic " rfid technology full report" refer the link bellow


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to get information about the topic RFID full report ,ppt and related topic refer the link bellow


http://topicideas.org/how-to-rfid-based-project and implimentations--5944





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.ppt   rfidtechnology-finalppt-091003130918-phpapp01.ppt (Size: 514 KB / Downloads: 49)
Applications of RFID

Asset management.
Production Tracking.
Inventory Control.
Pricing and Promotion.
Shipping & Receiving.
Regulatory Compliance.
Returns & Recall Management.
Service and Warranty Authorizations.

standardized and scalable approach.
reliable and cost-effective.

Concerns Surrounding RFID:
Privacy concerns.
High investment.
Health concerns.
Limited range.
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.ppt   RFID Technology.ppt (Size: 5.25 MB / Downloads: 56)

What is RFID ?

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic
identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders.
RFID (radio frequency identification) is a technology that
incorporates the use of electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency (RF) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify an object, animal, or person.
An alternative to bar code.

RFID is also called dedicated short range communication


Tag or Transponder:

An RFID tag is a tiny radio device that is also referred to as a transponder, smart tag, smart label or radio barcode. The tag comprises of a simple silicon microchip attached to a small flat aerial and mounted on a substrate.

Reader or Interrogator:

The reader, sometimes called an interrogator or scanner, sends and receives RF data to and from the tag via antennas.

Host Computer:

The data acquired by the readers is then passed to a host computer, which may run specialist RFID software or middleware to
filter the data and route it to the correct application, to be processed into useful information.

Automatic Identification

Line of sight not required
Data volume
Multiple read –Speed
Read/Write –Update


.ppt   RFID Technology.ppt (Size: 5.25 MB / Downloads: 56)

What is RFID ?

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic
identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders.
RFID (radio frequency identification) is a technology that
incorporates the use of electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency (RF) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify an object, animal, or person.
An alternative to bar code.

RFID is also called dedicated short range communication


Tag or Transponder:

An RFID tag is a tiny radio device that is also referred to as a transponder, smart tag, smart label or radio barcode. The tag comprises of a simple silicon microchip attached to a small flat aerial and mounted on a substrate.

Reader or Interrogator:

The reader, sometimes called an interrogator or scanner, sends and receives RF data to and from the tag via antennas.

Host Computer:

The data acquired by the readers is then passed to a host computer, which may run specialist RFID software or middleware to
filter the data and route it to the correct application, to be processed into useful information.

Automatic Identification

Line of sight not required
Data volume
Multiple read –Speed
Read/Write –Update

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.ppt   RFID 1.ppt (Size: 1.68 MB / Downloads: 52)
Brief History

RFID (Radio Frequency Identifier) an Auto-ID data collection system surveillance, using RF waves for Identifying, Tracking and doing Management of material flow.




A device that is used to interrogate an Tag.
Basic components are
A scanning Antenna
A transceiver with a decoder to interpret data
helps in personalize & read data.


Dual Function(rfid & barcode)
Store information about item.
Performance statistics
Multiple items can be checked out at a time
Easier to Use.


A compact and light weight hand held device
Comfortable to use
High storage capacity
Multi Functional (such as shelving, sorting, searching, weeding and reading)
Enhanced Security.


Verify that all books leaving the library have been checked out.
Detect Theft and
Prevent unauthorized removal of material

Frequency: 13.56 MHZ

Key feature of 13.56Mhz is
Tags are less expensive due to their limited coil required.
Read range about 1-2feet.
Some tags are anti collision
collects, uses, stores and broadcast data
Controlled all conveyor setting


RFID technology is taking off in libraries at an increasingly rapid pace. Though there are few libraries employing this technology today, but due to its customizable feature and continuing improvement the library communities are beginning to get involved in its development. It is easy to envision that, the RFID tags contents will increase in power, prices are expected to decline and tag will dramatically improve its efficiency, security and accuracy. Also major concerns need to be addressed for successfully implementing this technology. So that it will change our personal and work lives in library and adorns the conventional library management with a new idea and usher for a bright future.
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.pptx   RFID TECHNOLOGY.pptx (Size: 331.3 KB / Downloads: 13)


RFID stands for “ Radio frequency Identification Technology .
RFID Technology involves the use of Electromagnetic or Electrostatic Coupling In the RF portion of the Electromagnetic Spectrum to Object , Animal or Person.
This Technology allows non – contact transfer of information (like the barcode ).


An RFID system consists of three components –
Transceiver ( often combined into the reader )
Short of data processing Equipment
Such as a computer system
A Transponder ( the tag )
RFID reader device( chip device )
RFID tag usually known as transponder ,acts as a transmitter as well as a receiver in the RFID system .
Here three basic components of the RFID tag system –
An antenna , a microchip ( memory ) and the materials .


Radio frequency identification technology system.
Anti – theft ,ID
Data logging
Polarization of the reader field
Communication distance
Environment (like electrical noise)
Operating freq. Like as LF , HF or UHF)

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