The New World Order

Rfid Chips

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Total RFID Surveillance 

Imagine a future in which your every belonging is marked with a unique number identifiable with the swipe of a scanner; where your refrigerator keeps track of its contents; where the location of your car is always pinpoint-able; and where signal-emitting microchips storing personal information are implanted beneath your skin or embedded in your inner organs. This is the future of radio frequency identification (RFID), a technology whose application has so far been limited largely to supply-chain management. RFID's are set to be applied in a whole range of consumer settings. It's already being tested in products as innocuous as shampoo, lip balm, razor blades, and cream cheese. Consumer advocates say this is paving the way for a nightmarish future where personal privacy is a quaint throwback.

An EPC RFID tag already being used at Wal-Mart

RFID tags

RFID tags are miniscule microchips, which already have shrunk to half the size of a grain of sand. They listen for a radio query and respond by transmitting their unique ID code. Most RFID tags have no batteries: They use the power from the initial radio signal to transmit their response. You should become familiar with RFID technology because you'll be hearing much more about it soon. Retailers adore the concept. Wal-Mart and the U.K.-based grocery chain Tesco are starting to install "smart shelves" with networked RFID readers. In what will become the largest test of the technology, consumer goods giant Gillette recently said it would purchase 500 million RFID tags from Alien Technology of Morgan Hill, Calif. It becomes unnervingly easy to imagine a scenario where everything you buy that's more expensive than a Snickers will sport RFID tags, which typically include a 64-bit unique identifier yielding about 18 thousand trillion possible values. KSW-Microtec, a German company, has invented washable RFID tags designed to be sewn into clothing. And according to EE Times, the European central bank is considering embedding RFID tags into banknotes by 2005.

Electronic Toll Collection

RFID tags are used for electronic toll collection at toll booths with Georgia's Cruise Card, California's FasTrak, Illinois' I-Pass, Oklahoma's Pikepass, the expanding eastern states' E-ZPass system (including Massachusetts's Fast Lane, New Jersey Turnpike, and the Maine Turnpike), Florida's SunPass, North Texas NTTA and Houston HCTRA EZ Tag, The "Cross-Israel Highway" (Highway 6), Philippines South Luzon Expressway E-Pass, Brisbane's Queensland Motorway E-Toll System in Australia, Autopista del Sol (Sun's Highway), Autopista Central (Central Highway), Autopista Los Libertadores, Costanera Norte, Vespucio Norte Express and Vespucio Sururban Highways. All highways in Portugal (Via Verde, the first system in the world to span the entire network of tolls) and France (Liber-T system). The tags, which are usually the active type, are read remotely as vehicles pass through the booths, and tag information is used to debit the toll from a prepaid account. The system helps to speed traffic through toll plazas as it records the date, time, and billing data for the RFID vehicle tag.

The Verichip

Verichip utilizes the implantable, passive RFID microchip, in their solutions for the purpose of automatic identification. About the size of a grain of rice, the microchip inserts just under the skin and contains only a unique, 16-digit identifier. In the future this chip may contain Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking capabilities. And unlike conventional forms of identification, the VeriChip™ cannot be lost, stolen, misplaced, or counterfeited. It is considered safe, secure, and will always be with you. Once inserted just under the skin, via a quick, outpatient procedure (much like getting a shot), the VeriChip™ can be scanned when necessary with a proprietary VeriChip reader, whether handheld or wall-mounted. A small amount of radio frequency energy passes from the reader energizing the dormant microchip which then emits a radio frequency signal transmitting the individuals unique verification number. This number can then be used for such purposes as accessing personal medical information in a password-protected database or assessing whether somebody has authority to enter into a high-security area. VeriChip has now been approved to offer an implantable FDA approved RFID microchip.

What Is RFID

An introduction to RFID - (Radio Frequency Identification) from Wikipedia.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) An EPC RFID tag used for Wal-MartRadio Frequency IDentification (RFID) is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is an object that can be attached to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification using radio waves. Chip-based RFID tags contain silicon chips and antennas. Passive tags require no internal power source, whereas active tags require a power source.

RFID Chips Are Here - Your privacy is at stake

By Scott Granneman, June 2003

Bar codes are something most of us never think about. We go to the grocery store to buy dog food, the checkout person runs our selection over the scanner, there's an audible beep or boop, and then we're told how much money we owe. Bar codes in that sense are an invisible technology that we see all the time, but without thinking about what's in front of our eyes. Bar codes have been with us so long, and they're so ubiquitous, that its hard to remember that they're a relatively new technology that took a while to catch on. The patent for bar codes was issued in 1952. It took twenty years before a standard for bar codes was approved, but they still didn't catch on. Ten years later, only 15,000 suppliers were using bar codes. That changed in 1984. By 1987 - only three years later! - 75,000 suppliers were using bar codes. That's one heck of a growth curve.

So what changed in 1984? Who, or what, caused the change?

When Wal-Mart talks, suppliers listen. So when Wal-Mart said that it wanted to use bar codes as a better way to manage inventory, bar codes became de rigeur. If you didn't use bar codes, you lost Wal-Mart's business. That's a death knell for most of their suppliers.
The same thing is happening today. I'm here to tell you that the bar code's days are numbered. There's a new technology in town, one that at first blush might seem insignificant to security professionals, but it's a technology that is going to be a big part of our future. And how do I know this? Pin it on Wal-Mart again; they're the big push behind this new technology.

So what is it? RFID tags.

RFID 101

Invented in 1969 and patented in 1973, but only now becoming commercially and technologically viable, RFID tags are essentially microchips, the tinier the better. Some are only 1/3 of a millimeter across. These chips act as transponders (transmitters/responders), always listening for a radio signal sent by transceivers, or RFID readers. When a transponder receives a certain radio query, it responds by transmitting its unique ID code, perhaps a 128-bit number, back to the transceiver. Most RFID tags don't have batteries (How could they? They're 1/3 of a millimeter!). Instead, they are powered by the radio signal that wakes them up and requests an answer. Most of these "broadcasts" are designed to be read between a few inches and several feet away, depending on the size of the antenna and the power driving the RFID tags (some are in fact powered by batteries, but due to the increased size and cost, they are not as common as the passive, non-battery-powered models). However, it is possible to increase that distance if you build a more sensitive RFID receiver. RFID chips cost up to 50 cents, but prices are dropping. Once they get to 5 cents each, it will be cost-efficient to put RFID tags in almost anything that costs more than a dollar.

Who's using RFID?

RFID is already in use all around us. Ever chipped your pet dog or cat with an ID tag? Or used an EZPass through a toll booth? Or paid for gas using ExxonMobils' SpeedPass? Then you've used RFID. Some uses, especially those related to security, seem like a great idea. For instance, Delta is testing RFID on some flights, tagging 40,000 customer bags in order to reduce baggage loss and make it easier to route bags if customers change their flight plans. Three seaport operators - who account for 70% of the world's port operations - agreed to deploy RFID tags to track the 17,000 containers that arrive each day at US ports. Currently, less than 2% are inspected. RFID tags will be used to track the containers and the employees handling them. The United States Department of Defense is moving into RFID in order to trace military supply shipments. During the first Gulf War, the DOD made mistakes in its supply allocation. To streamline operations, the U.S. military has placed RFID tags on 270,000 cargo containers and tracks those shipments throughout 40 countries. On a smaller level, but one that will instantly resonate with security pros, Star City Casino in Sydney, Australia placed RFID tags in 80,000 employee uniforms in order to put a stop to theft. The same idea would work well in corporate PCs, networking equipment, and handhelds. In all of these cases, RFID use seems reasonable. It is non-intrusive, and it seems to balance security and privacy. Other uses for RFID, however, may be troublesome. Visa is combining smart cards and RFID chips so people can conduct transactions without having to use cash or coins. These smart cards can also be incorporated into cell phones and other devices. Thus, you could pay for parking, buy a newspaper, or grab a soda from a vending machine without opening your wallet. This is wonderfully convenient, but the specter of targeted personal ads popping up as I walk through the mall, a la Minority Report, does not thrill me. Michelin, which manufactures 800,000 tires a day, is going to insert RFID tags into its tires. The tag will store a unique number for each tire, a number that will be associated with the car's VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Good for Michelin, and car manufacturers, and fighting crime. Potentially bad for you. Who will assure your privacy? Do you really want your car's tires broadcasting your every move? The European Central Bank may embed RFID chips in the euro note. Ostensibly to combat counterfeiters and money-launderers, it would also enable banks to count large amounts of cash in seconds. Unfortunately, such a move would also makes it possible for governments to track the passage of cash from individual to individual. Cash is the last truly anonymous way to buy and sell. With RFID tags, that anonymity would be gone. In addition, banks would not be the only ones who could in an instant divine how much cash you were carrying; criminals can also obtain power transceivers. Several major manufacturers and retailers expect RFID tags to aid in managing the supply chain, from manufacturing to shipping to stocking store shelves, including Gillette (which purchased 500 million RFID tags for its razors), Home Depot, The Gap, Proctor & Gamble, Prada, Target, Tesco (a United Kingdom chain), and Wal-Mart. Especially Wal-Mart. The retail giant, the largest employer in America, is working with Gillette to create "smart shelves" that can alert managers and stockboys to replenish the supply of razors. More significantly, Wal-Mart intends for its top 100 suppliers to fully support RFID for inventory tracking by 2005. Wal-Mart would love to be able to point an RFID reader at any of the 1 billion sealed boxes of widgets it receives every year and instantly know exactly how many widgets it has. No unpacking, no unnecessary handling, no barcode scanners required.

RFID Issues

Right now, you can buy a hammer, a pair of jeans, or a razor blade with anonymity. With RFID tags, that may be a thing of the past. Some manufacturers are planning to tag just the packaging, but others will also tag their products. There is no law requiring a label indicating that an RFID chip is in a product. Once you buy your RFID-tagged jeans at The Gap with RFID-tagged money, walk out of the store wearing RFID-tagged shoes, and get into your car with its RFID-tagged tires, you could be tracked anywhere you travel. Bar codes are usually scanned at the store, but not after purchase. But RFID transponders are, in many cases, forever part of the product, and designed to respond when they receive a signal. Imagine everything you own is "numbered, identified, catalogued, and tracked." Anonymity and privacy? Gone in a hailstorm of invisible communication, betrayed by your very property. But let's not stop there. Others are talking about placing RFID tags into all sensitive or important documents: "it will be practical to put them not only in paper money, but in drivers' licenses, passports, stock certificates, manuscripts, university diplomas, medical degrees and licenses, birth certificates, and any other sort of document you can think of where authenticity is paramount." In other words, those documents you're required to have, that you can't live without, will be forever tagged. Consider the human body as well. Applied Digital Solutions has designed an RFID tag - called the VeriChip - for people. Only 11 mm long, it is designed to go under the skin, where it can be read from four feet away. They sell it as a great way to keep track of children, Alzheimer's patients in danger of wandering, and anyone else with a medical disability, but it gives me the creeps. The possibilities are scary. In May, delegates to the Chinese Communist Party Congress were required to wear an RFID-equipped badge at all times so their movements could be tracked and recorded. Is there any doubt that, in a few years, those badges will be replaced by VeriChip-like devices? Surveillance is getting easier, cheaper, smaller, and ubiquitous. Sure, it's possible to destroy an RFID tag. You can crush it, puncture it, or microwave it (but be careful of fires!). You can't drown it, however, and you can't demagnetize it. And washing RFID-tagged clothes won't remove the chips, since they're specifically designed to withstand years of wearing, washing, and drying. You could remove the chip from your jeans, but you'd have to find it first. That's why Congress should require that consumers be notified about products with embedded RFID tags. We should know when we're being tagged. We should also be able to disable the chips in our own property. If it's the property of the company we work for, that's a different matter. But if it's ours, we should be able to control whether tracking is enabled. Security professionals need to realize that RFID tags are dumb devices. They listen, and they respond. Currently, they don't care who sends the signal. Anything your companies' transceiver can detect, the bad guy's transceiver can detect. So don't be lulled into a false sense of security. With RFID about to arrive in full force, don't be lulled at all. Major changes are coming, and not all of them will be positive. The law of unintended consequences is about to encounter surveillance devices smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.


Knowledge Center Report 
RFID, which is an acronym for Radio Frequency Identification, is not a new technology. It was first used in the late 1960's, but it has only become more widespread with advances in technology.
RFID Systems consist of a transponder, also known as a tag, which is basically a microchip connected to an antenna. The tag is mounted to an item, such as a pallet of goods in a warehouse, and a device called a reader communicates with the tag via radio waves. Depending on the type of tag that is used, the reader can receive detailed information or it can receive data as simple as an identification number. RFID is similar to barcode systems in which data, such as a price, is accessed when the barcode is read. The main difference is that the barcode must come in direct contact to an optical scanner/reader and the RFID tag can transmit to the reader via radio waves and does not have to be in direct contact. An RFID reader can receive data from as many as 1,000 tags per second. The radio signals can go through many non-metallic substances such as rain, fog, snows, dirt and grime, painted surfaces, etc. This gives RFID tags a distinct advantage over optically read items, such as barcodes, which would be useless under similar conditions.
The many uses for RFID technology include:
  • Smart labels and security labels
  • Product and inventory management
  • RFID chips in car keys for security
  • Theft control
  • Placement on pharmaceuticals to prevent counterfeited drugs from entering the legal supply chain
  • Increased efficiency in admissions into entertainment or sporting events
  • Increased efficiency in toll road payments
  • Monitoring the whereabouts of luggage, library books, livestock, etc.
It is predicted that RFID use will continue to increase. It is unlikely to ever be as cost-effective as barcoding, but it will become dominant in areas where barcoding and other optically read technologies are not effective.

RFID Tag Categories

The basic types of RFID tags can be classified as read/write and read only. The data stored on read/write tags can be edited, added to, or completely rewritten, but only if the tag is within the range of the reader. The data stored on a read only tag can be read, but cannot be edited in any way. Read/write tags are much more expensive than read only tags, so they are not used for tracking most commodity items.
RFID tags are further categorized as:
  • Active tags, which contain a battery that powers the microchip and allows it to transmit a signal to the reader.
  • Semi-active (or semi-passive) tags, which contain a battery to run the circuitry of the chip, but must draw power from the magnetic field created by the reader in order to communicate with the reader.
  • Passive tags, which rely solely on the magnetic field created by the radio waves sent out by the reader to create a current that can be received by the antenna within the passive tag.
RFID Construction

RFID Tag Components
RFID tags consist of a microchip connected to an antenna, which is constructed of a small coil of wires. The assembly is usually covered with a protective layer (such as a laminated card), which is determined by the type of application. The RFID tag can be a passive tag or an active tag. The RFID tag is also known as an inlay.
Components of passive RFID system:

  • An antenna is attached to a microchip.
  • The antenna allows the chip to transmit information to a reader, which also has an antenna.
  • The reader is the device that actually sends out the radio waves to create a magnetic field. A passive RFID tag draws its power from this magnetic field, which powers the circuits in the microchip allowing it to transmit data back to the reader.
  • Reader transmits to a computer system.
  • The computer passes data onto a network.
  • Software determines how the data received should be used.


The most expensive read/write, active RFID transponders may have microchips with a memory capacity of up to one megabyte (1,000,000 characters). Most tags are inexpensive, passive transponders that can store only 32 to 128 bits (characters) of information or less, so an identification number is basically the only data that the read-only tag will contain. When the number is read, detailed information stored in a database in a computer can be accessed. This is similar to a barcode system in which data, such as a price, is accessed when the barcode is read. The main difference is that the barcode must come in direct contact to an optical scanner/reader and the RFID tag can transmit to the reader via radio waves and does not have to be in direct contact.

The antenna allows the chip to receive and relay information, such as an ID number of an individual product. Some antennas are constructed of metal and are etched or stamped from metal, such as copper. Other types of antennas are printed. Advances in technology are allowing printed antennas to achieve the functionality of traditional materials and printed antennas are less expensive. One of the most popular methods of printing antennae is with the use of silver conductive inks printed on plastics substrates or paper. Testing of RFID antennae is usually performed with ohmmeters, milliohm meters, RF network analyzers, impedance-measuring equipment, and others.

RFID Tag Shapes and Sizes

RFID tags can be manufactured in several different shapes and sizes depending on the type of application in which they will be used.
  • Some are the size of a pencil lead or are less than a half-inch in length and can be inserted under the skin of animals and livestock.
  • Screw-shaped tags are used to identify specific trees.
  • Rectangular RFID tags found in some products are used as an anti-theft device.
  • Large, heavy duty tags that are several inches in length, width, and depth are used to track large containers or large vehicles such as trucks or rail cars.
Radio Frequencies

RFID tags operate under different radio frequencies, depending on the application. The FCC of the US government determines the limits on power output of RFID systems as well as the different radio frequencies that can be used. Low, high, and ultra-high (UHF) frequencies are used with RFID transponders.
  • Low and high frequency tags are less expensive than UHF and are best used for merchandise tracking, animal and livestock identification, and security access.
  • Tags with UHF frequencies use more power than low and high frequency tags, but they have a greater range and the data transfer rate is faster. They are best suited for applications in which the tag and the reader have a more direct path with one another. Rail car tracking and automated toll booths are some of the uses.
The communication range between the RFID tag and the reader depends on the frequency, the antenna size of the tag, the antenna size of the reader, and the output power.
  • Low and high frequency devices have communication ranges of a few inches to several feet, depending on the application.
  • Ultra-high (UHF) may have ranges of 25 feet or more.
The radio signals can go through many substances such as rain, fog, snows, dirt and grime, painted surfaces, etc. This gives RFID tags a distinct advantage over optically read items, such as barcodes, which would be useless under similar conditions. An RFID reader can receive data from as many as 1,000 tags per second.

Quality Control

Quality control is a necessity because groups of manufactured inlays may have experienced some damage before they reach the printer or converter. The chips in the inlays can also be damaged during the printing or converting process, which renders the RFID tag useless. Special substrates can be used to limit the damage to the chips. Quality control after printing or converting is also important to ensure that none of the chips were damaged and will all be functional.
When RFID antennae are manufactured, they are usually tested with ohmmeters, milliohm meters, RF network analyzers, and impedance-measuring equipment. It is also important to remember that RFIDs are electronic devices and therefore should not be exposed to or stored near areas containing large amounts of electromagnetic or static energy.


The three most common uses for RFID tags are:
  1. Tracking items in production lines
  2. Tracking items in supply chains
  3. Enhancing security measures
In other industrial uses, tags attached to items for tracking during assembly or manufacture must be able to withstand heat, cold, etching processes, cleaning and degreasing procedures, moisture, dirt, and many other types of conditions and environments that would not be suitable for optically or magnetically read devices.


With most types of printed applications, such as labels, the user is unaware of the existence of the chip and antenna because of the different methods of concealing them on the document. Some printers (such as label printers) purchase inlays (containing the RFID) that are already manufactured and then incorporate them into their printed products.
Label Printing
Label printing is one of the fastest growing segments of the printing industry using RFID technology. Smart labels and electronic surveillance labels are being used for applications in which simple, optically read barcoding may not be suitable.

Smart Labels 
Smart labels contain RFID transponders to automatically capture data. The standard construction of a smart label consists of a pressure sensitive facestock, an inlay, which contains the radio frequency identification transponder, and a liner. The inlay is laminated between the facestock and the liner. The transponder contains an antenna and microchip. The data from the smart label is accessed when the transponder passes by the reader. Radio wave lengths are picked up from the antenna and the data on the microchip is transferred to the reader and then passed on to a computer or printer. As the product moves from one stage to the next, its movements can be monitored and data can be updated when necessary. The smart label can identify, track in real-time, and authenticate a product. Smart labels are used on all types of applications including supply chain management, production control, work-in-process, baggage identification and tracking, express delivery services, reusable container tracking, and security systems. Equipment is available that is able to encode a separate RFID inlay and then bond it to the substrate after the label has been printed. A variety of label substrates can be used. This process eliminates the need for inserting transponders into blank label stock before the label stock is printed. Since the printing process can damage stock containing transponders, the process eliminates this problem by allowing the printing to happen first. The system creates a printing system that is on-demand. There is no need for special papers because the equipment can print on almost any label stock. Other equipment is able to encode data on very thin UHF RFID transponders that are inserted into smart labels. The equipment immediately verifies the proper encoding. The equipment can then print text, graphics, or barcodes on the smart label to complete the application. The smart labels can be used for a number of warehousing, inventory, and supply chain tracking applications. There are also compact desktop printers specifically design for RFID printing. The printers can read, write, and print labels that have an embedded RFID transponder. The industry acceptance of smart labels has been slow. The RFID technology can improve performance and efficiency but is expensive to startup. As more companies commit to the use of this new technology it will become more widely accepted and many will benefit from its capabilities.

Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) Labels

EAS labels are used as anti-theft devices. The label is used with EAS monitoring equipment to detect if an item is being removed without authorization. The EAS systems are used in retail stores, data centers, and libraries. When applied to products, the EAS label is capable of activating an alarm as it passes through an electronic surveillance detector, such as those found in retail store exits. When the product is purchased, the label is made inactive by the use of a deactivation device at the checkout station. Once the label is deactivated it is referred to as a "dead label". Labels that have not been deactivated are referred to as "live labels".
RFID is only one of the technologies used for EAS labels. Other common types are AM (Acousto Magnetic) and EM (Electro Magnetic). Each of the EAS systems has its own unique detection equipment that must be used to allow the system to work properly. Because of the anti-theft protection they provide, the EAS labels and EAS systems allow more freedom for retail stores to display items that would usually be locked in display cases. This allows the consumer to examine the product more closely before purchasing.
Comparisons with Barcoding

RFID and barcode technology are similar in concept, but the two technologies have different methods for reading data. RFID reads data via radio waves and does not need a direct line of sight between the reader and the tag. Barcodes are read optically and do require a direct line of sight between the reader and the barcode.

Advantages of RFID systems over barcodes:

  • It is not necessary to have a line of sight between the RFID tag and the reader as there is with a barcode and scanner.
  • Information can be rewritten to the tag without having to see the tag. This is true even if the tag is mixed into other items that have been tagged.
  • Nearly 100% of RFID tags are readable, unlike items that contain a printed barcode, which can become damaged with improper handling.
  • The potential problems associated with substandard print quality of barcodes, which in turn leads to scanning and reading problems, are eliminated.
Other points to consider:

  • Barcodes are universally accepted because they are very inexpensive and there are established standards for their use. RFID technology is more expensive and has fewer universal standards in the way they are used.
  • Even if RFID technology becomes as widespread as barcoding, it will not totally replace the universally accepted barcode technology.
Other Print/Security Applications

Besides the various types of RFID labels that are being printed for product tracking and security, plastic cards and badges embedded with RFID transponders are being produced. Data from identification cards embedded with RFID tags can be read as people pass through a doorway. RFID tags embedded in security badges offer an alternative method for controlling access to sensitive information or limiting access to specific areas.
Merchandise/Inventory Tracking

When used with product and inventory control, a computer keeps track of the data received from the transponders/tags through the reader and can trigger reorders based on the adjusted inventory levels. Antennas can be built into warehouse doorframes in order to receive data as merchandise, cartons, and pallets of goods containing an RFID tag pass, through the doorway.
RFID costs may not become low enough for the tags to be used on all types of products and services. It may not be cost effective to include the tags with every item if the items are inexpensive commodity items, but the tags can be very useful to track full pallets of commodities for inventory control.


RFID tags can be used for a number of applications in the transportation industry for monitoring and tracking of vehicles and products.

RFID systems can be configured for rail car identification:

  • The tags are installed underneath the rail cars.
  • The antennae are mounted between or near the tracks.
  • The readers are usually located in a building no more than 100 feet away.

Commercial trucking facilities also use RFID systems to monitor truck movements in and out of a main terminal.


RFID systems are very useful in the automobile manufacturing industry in tracking individual vehicles through the assembly process. RFID systems are also being installed in toll booths to monitor the traffic.


Most airports track passenger baggage with barcoded labels or tags, but they are often damaged do to rough handling of the baggage. Barcoded tags that have been damaged because of rough baggage handling, may account for 10% of the total volume. All of these bags must be accounted for manually, which can be a time consuming process. RFID systems can help to eliminate the problems that occur with unreadable barcodes.
When used for tracking bags at an airport, RFID tags contain a unique number assigned to the bag. Anyone with access to a reader could see the number, but any personal information could not be viewed because it is stored in a database and is not stored on the tag.

Privacy Issues

Many people mistakenly believe that RFID is similar to GPS (Global Positioning System) and can be used for detailed tracking, but RFID has a range of only a few feet so this isn't possible. Another misconception that people have is that the movement of products with RFID tags can be tracked even after the product is purchased. Most active RFID tags have a read range of about 25 feet, which means the RFID is basically useless outside of the retail store or business.
Security measures and safeguards used to protect consumer privacy when using RFID systems:
  • The risk of spying or intercepting data that is transmitted via radio waves is reduced with the use of data encryption and over the air protocols.
  • The protocols require both the reader and the eavesdropper to be within range of the tag.
  • The reader changes radio frequencies rapidly and at random, so it is difficult for a potential eavesdropper to follow the reader.
  • Although it is possible for tags to be counterfeited, it is not very practical because of built-in safeguards, such as the ability of the RFID readers to verify authenticity of the tags.
Chipless RFID Technology

Systems are now available that provide RFID technology for printed documents without the need for a microchip. Some of the systems involve the use of aluminum fibers, which are embedded into paper or packaging materials. The fibers reflect a signal, which are interpreted as data in a computer. Another chipless system involves the use of materials made up of very small chemical particles that possess varying degrees of magnetism. The chemical particles become active when exposed to the electromagnetic waves from a reader. Each of the chemicals emits a unique signal that is received by the reader, which interprets the signal as a binary number. The system uses as many as 70 different chemicals, so there are 70 different signals. Each chemical has a specific position in the 70-digit number, which means that a unique binary number can be assigned to a document based on the mixture of chemicals that are used. The small particles can be embedded in paper or they can be printed onto paper or almost any type of substrate. Printed barcodes can be created, which can be scanned from up to 10 feet away without the need for the barcode to be in line of sight of the reader. With slight modifications, this technology can be used with existing barcode systems, which helps to hold down the cost. Major upgrades of equipment are not necessary. The only areas where the system does not work very well are in areas containing large quantities of water or metal objects. Water absorbs RF signals and large quantities of metal reflect the signals.
Other security measures that can be used in conjunction with the system are:
  • Photocopiers can be fitted with readers to prevent unauthorized copying.
  • Some applications could require that a document be photocopied onto the same type of paper.
  • Any institution wishing to protect documents could install readers at all exit points in the building, which would detect if any unauthorized persons were trying to leave the building with an original or copied document.
  • The system can also be used for counterfeit prevention and for tracking manufactured products.

RFID tattoos for tracking cows... and people

By Thomas Ricker

Did you know that Saint Louis based Somark Innovations successfully tested an "RFID tattoo" on cows and rats? Yes indeed, tattoo, not the ol' RFID chip found in passports, dogs, and Dutch VIP clubbers. Somark's system uses an array of needles to inject a passive RFID ink which can be read through the hair on your choice of beast. The ink can be either invisible or colored but Somark is keeping mum as to its exact contents. They only say that it doesn't contain any metals and is 100% biocompatible and chemically inert. The tattoo can be applied in 5 to 10 seconds with no shaving involved and can be read from up to 4 feet away -- the bigger the tattoo, the more information stored. Best of it all, it's apparently safe for humans to ingest allowing the FDA to track back Mad Cow Disease, e-coli outbreaks, and Soylent Green. Don't worry, they can't track you just as long as you chew your food like mama taught. However, with "military personnel" listed as Somark's "secondary target market," well, it's just a matter of time before we're all cattle now isn't it.

VeriChip Wants To Test Human Implantable RFID On Military

By K.C. Jones    TechWeb   : Aug 23, 2006

VeriChip is pitching its human implantable RFID chips to the U.S. military.
VeriChip spokesperson Nicole Philbin confirmed Wednesday that the company's Board Chairman Scott Silverman has held informal meetings with U.S. Navy and Air Force leaders to suggest a feasibility study of its VeriMed system. The system relies on an implant the size of a grain of rice, which VeriChip claims has an encrypted 16-digit identification number. Philbin said only proprietary RFID readers can decipher the number, which is then entered into a secure database. A login name and password are required to access the database on a secure Web site, Philbin said, adding that the system is more secure and more effective than things people normally carry in their wallets. Like overall participation, the amount of information attached to the identification number is at the discretion of individuals who volunteer for the program, Philbin said. That could be limited to the most basic information, like name and telephone number, or it could contain advance directives, organ donor status and more. VeriChip is owned by Applied Digital, which lists federal agencies among its clients. The company markets the VeriMed system as a way to ensure that emergency responders and healthcare providers can identify a patient who is or unable to communicate and learn of allergies and medical conditions. "The Department of Defense already has an electronic health records program, and VeriChip would like to enhance the quality of care for vets and military members," Philbin said. "There is no power source. It can't be tracked. It's not a GPS device. It contains no information other than the identification number. It's not mandatory. If a person with the device is presented to an emergency room unconscious, they may be allergic to something or have a preexisting condition, and that information is crucial." The RFID implants were approved as Class II medical devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2004. In a letter, Donna-Bea Tillman, PhD, director of the F.D.A.'s Office of Device Evaluation, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, outlined potential health risks associated with VeriChip implants. They include adverse tissue reaction; migration of implanted transponder; compromised information security; failure of implanted transponder, inserter or electronic scanner; electromagnetic interference; electrical hazards; magnetic resonance imaging incompatibility; and needle stick. "With any F.D.A. approval, they state the potential risks," Philbin said. "The F.D.A. is satisfied with the product and that's why they have given it the O.K." Some people have implanted chips in themselves to experiment with the technology and for fast access to their computer accounts. Critics contend that VeriChip is peddling its products to governments, while targeting vulnerable populations " like the elderly, inmates, immigrants and members of the military, who have less choice than the general population. They claim that RFID proponents' eventual goal is to "chip" as many people as possible, then track consumers and their behaviors for marketing purposes. The Electronic Privacy Information Center states that "the ability to track people, products, vehicles, and even currency would create an Orwellian world where law enforcement officials and nosy retailers could read the contents of a handbag—perhaps without a person's knowledge—simply by installing RFID readers nearby." "Such a fear is not unfounded. Currently, some RFID readers have the capacity to read data transmitted by many different RFID tags," the organization states on its Web site. "This means that if a person enters a store carrying several RFID tags—for example, in articles of clothing or cards carried in a wallet—one RFID reader can read the data emitted by all of the tags, and not simply the signal relayed by in-store products. This capacity enables retailers with RFID readers to compile a more complete profile of shoppers than would be possible by simply scanning the bar codes of products a consumer purchases." Some people have claimed to clone implants, saying that demonstrates how vulnerable they are, but Philbin said they are impossible to clone. "The company can't verify what hackers claim they can or cannot do," she said. Joe Davis, spokesperson for the Veterans of Foreign Wars office in Washington, D.C., said although it makes great sense to be able to scan a device and pull up a full medical history, he would like to see further study before the military uses the implants. He said his initial concerns include possible health effects, whether enemies could access soldiers' information and whether the implants would replace dog tags, and, if so, stand up to an explosion.
"They issue two dog tags," he said. "One goes around the neck and the other is laced into the boot. The foot and boot will survive an explosion. DNA from the foot in the boot will survive, plus you've got your metal dog tag right there. What type of survival rate does this little chip have in an explosion? From what I've read, it sounds like they're trying to push this thing through. You don't push things through when it's new technology. You have to weigh all the pros and cons, and you have to ask the service members 'What do you think of this?' because it's going in their neck, or wherever it's going to go, and this proposal needs lot more study."

National Guard orders portable RFID kits

By Patience Wait, GCN Staff

The U.S. National Guard has purchased $4.6 million worth of mobile radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems to improve real-time tracking of supplies at National Guard armories and for deployed operations. The contracts were awarded to Savi Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Co. in Bethesda, Md. Under the contracts, each state's Joint Force headquarters, as well as National Guard units in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will receive portable deployment kits (PDKs) and related equipment. The initial orders will provide 54 PDKs, 5,400 active RFID tags and 120 mobile handheld readers, in addition to associated training for National Guard logisticians nationwide. Mission applications include disaster relief, homeland security and other emergency efforts. The suitcase-sized PDK is an advanced “mobile chokepoint solution” that integrates several automatic identification and data collection technologies, including bar codes, 2D bar codes, active RFID and GPS location with satellite communications, in a single carrying case. The PDK is fully configurable and quickly operational, with no additional software configuration required. By embedding the RFID tags in supplies and equipment and using the portable kits, Guard units will be able to communicate with the Defense Department’s global In-Transit Visibility cargo tracking network, giving the National Guard mobile capability to assign and track assets throughout the United States and its territories, particularly as it assists local, regional and national relief efforts. National Guard logisticians will be able to access the ITV and feed all relevant tracking information in their own decision-support software to know what's where and what's coming. “The contracts with the National Guard demonstrate the growing need to rapidly and efficiently track critical materiel throughout their own facilities and into austere environments where there is little or no available communications or power infrastructure,” said David Stephens, general manager of Savi's Public Sector. “There's a force multiplier effect here since the National Guard--and potentially other civilian agencies—can leverage an off-the-shelf solution that links with the DoD's existing communications network.”

UK number two in RFID market

Research says US leads in number of sites using technology
Lisa Kelly, Computing, 20 Nov 2006

The UK is second only to the US in its adoption of RFID, according to a global study of the technology’s take-up. Consultancy IDTechEx’s study Hot Countries for RFID reveals that the UK holds second place by quantity, although not by money spent, where China lays claim to the number two spot. But the gap between the number one and two spot is huge - the US had over 800 RFID implementations, while the UK has under 300. Apart from being the greatest adopter with the largest number of cases of RFID in action, orders in the US are often the world’s largest by value. Peter Harrop, chairman of IDTechEx, said: ‘The reason why the UK is so high up the league by number of cases is because we’ve got the largest city in Europe with 7.2 million Oyster cards and in the round we are doing a bit of everything from healthcare, where babies and mums are tagged, to leisure applications, such as tagging runner's shoes in marathons.’ 'Our military force is also bigger than any other in Europe and we are using RFID to tag vehicles, trailers and missiles, or anything with a value of over Ј3,000,' he said. Although the UK lags in terms of money spent, this could all change for the wrong reasons if the UK adopts a national identity card scheme based on RFID technology, says Harrop. ‘Considering China’s national identification card scheme is going to cost $6bn by 2008 and they have 900 million people to tag, the UK is talking about a $15bn scheme and planning for an over-spend for only 60 million people which is poor value for money. We could become the biggest spender or number two to the US because of spending money on RFID like drunken sailors,’ he said.

Wal-Mart Backs RFID Technology
Will require suppliers to use 'smart' tags by 2005 Jaikumar Vijayan and Bob Brewin
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. last week said it plans to require its top 100 suppliers to put radio-frequency identification tags on shipping crates and pallets by January 2005, a move that's likely to spur broader adoption of the technology because of Wal-Mart's market clout. However, at the Retail Systems 2003/VICS Collaborative Commerce conference here, IT managers and technology vendors alike said that RFID devices still need to overcome major manufacturing, pricing and standardization hurdles before widespread usage can begin. Wal-Mart's move is expected to result in the deployment of nearly 1 billion RFID tags with embedded electronic product codes (EPC) for tracking and identifying items at the individual crate and pallet level, said Pam Kohn, vice president of the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer's global supply chain operations. But even Wal-Mart's initial RFID effort will be narrowly focused. Although RFID tags can gather and track a variety of data related to products, materials and more, Kohn said Wal-Mart will concentrate at first on using the technology to improve inventory management in its supply chain. "We're still determining all the benefits," Kohn said. "We don't want to overburden ourselves." She added, though, that even if Wal-Mart were to collect no new data with the RFID tags, the efficiency and accuracy with which items can be tracked would be huge benefits in and of themselves. RFID uses low-powered radio transmitters to read data stored in tags that are embedded with tiny chips and antennas. Proponents of the technology say such "smart" tags can store more detailed information than conventional bar codes, enabling retailers and manufacturers to track items at the unit level. RFID tags have been available for several years, but adoption has been slow because the tags are more expensive than bar coding and because standards are lacking to ensure interoperability between tags and data readers. Gary Robertson, executive director of global infrastructure at Delphi Corp., a Troy, Mich.-based maker of automotive electronics systems that uses RFID devices in its manufacturing operations, said Wal-Mart's decision to deploy the technology "will legitimize it and push it into the mainstream." "The fact that the largest company in the world is publicly adopting EPC open standards should give companies confidence that the day of a single, interoperable RFID system is close at hand," said Kevin Ashton, executive director of MIT's Auto-ID Center in Cambridge, Mass. The Auto-ID Center is working with Uniform Code Council Inc. (UCC) in Lawrenceville, N.J., and EAN International in Brussels to develop a standardized EPC format for storing data on RFID tags. That effort got another boost last week when Microsoft Corp. said it will join AutoID Inc., a not-for-profit joint venture set up by UCC and EAN to oversee the still-evolving standards. 

Cost Possibly $50M

Wal-Mart didn't say how much the effort would cost it or its suppliers or whether new systems will be needed to support the technology. But even at the 5-cents-per-tag price that Wal-Mart said it plans to seek from vendors, the cost of the tags alone would total $50 million. According to the Auto-ID Center's Web site, RFID tags typically cost at least 50 cents each, and RFID readers sell for $1,000 or more. Big companies could require thousands of readers for all their factories, warehouses and stores, the site says. Wal-Mart isn't the only retailer putting its faith in RFID. London-based Marks & Spencer PLC, one of the U.K.'s largest retailers, is rolling out RFID technology in its food supply chain operations. The project involves putting 13.56-MHz RFID tags on 3.5 million new plastic trays used to ship products, according to Keith Mahoney, the company's food logistics controller. Marks & Spencer has subjected the tags to a variety of temperature, moisture and distance tests before deploying them, Mahoney said during a presentation at the conference. Although the lack of common RFID protocols and standards remains an issue, "we could not allow the lack of them to hang up the project," he added. RFID can yield "a huge benefit" for some companies, said David Hutchins, senior director of enterprise systems at Kraft Foods North America Inc. in Northfield, Ill., and a member of the AutoID board. However, Kraft is still evaluating the technology's potential value in its own supply chain. "The first thing is figuring out the business case," Hutchins said.

Epassports with RFID chips now a reality 

CYBERDUDE | Puneet Mehrotra
August 17, 2006

The US Department of State on Monday started to issue electronic passports (e-passports) equipped with RFID-chips. 

USA gets RFID passports

RFID passports have been much talked about. Germany uses RFID in passports to help border officials guard against forgeries and automate the processing of international visitors. The US has decided to finally get epassports. On Monday the US Department of State started to issue electronic passports (epassports) equipped with RFID chips. According to reports the US government has placed an order with a California company, Infineon Technologies North America for smart chip-embedded passports. The Associated Press said the new US passports include an electronic chip that contains all the data contained in the paper version name, birth date, gender, for example and can be read by digital scanners at equipped airports. They cost 14 per cent more than their predecessors but the State Department said they will speed up going through customs and help enhance border security. 

Views against ePassports 

I was reading Dan Goodwin's article, an AP Technology writer, where experts warned against epassports. The article said, "Electronic passports being introduced in the US and other countries have a major vulnerability that could allow criminals to clone embedded secret code and enter countries illegally, an expert warned. A demonstration late on Friday by German computer security expert Lukas Grunwald showed how personal information stored on the documents could be copied and transferred to another device." 

The Next Generation security 

Don Goodwin article on experts warning on security was definitely informative. I even agree with Lukas Grunwald. But the fact remains the world isn't the same any longer. Terror has acquired a totally new definition and surveillance has to move on to new generation security.

RFID promises just that.

Of course no security system is foolproof and RFID passports are no different. The terror geeks must be already working to get past or get into the new passport system. But the checks and balances and the surveillance, which the new passports will provide are unmatched by traditional methods. My guess is a few teething problems and maybe even a few loopholes later the RFID passport system promises to be far superior to the traditional system. 

RFID - a technology of impact 

The kind of impact RFID would have on human history is beyond words. Chances of its misuse too are high. An innovative or a destructive mind is all that would be required and super benefits or super chaos is what we are going to see in the days of the RFID. The benefits are absolutely too huge to be ignored. In these terror times RFID offers a security solution that is viable and implementable

Speed through the checkout with just a wave of your arm | Valerie Elliot

It may sound like a sci-fi fantasy but shoppers may one day be able to pay their grocery bills using a microchip implanted in their body. The idea is already catching on with today's iPod generation. According to research released today by the Institute for Grocery Distribution (IGD), a retail think-tank, almost one in ten teenagers and one in twenty adults are willing to have a microchip implanted to pay shop bills and help to prevent card or identity fraud and muggings. A quick scan of the arm would connect immediately to bank details and payments could be made swiftly. Such microchips are already used in cats, dogs and horses. They are used in cattle and sheep so that consumers can trace their food from farm to plate and are also being used to help to combat drugs counterfeiting. But now the retail industry is looking at body chips among a range of biometric payment methods, including fingerprint and iris recognition. So far the only example of a human body chip being used is at the VIP Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, where people wear bikinis and shorts and there is nowhere to carry wallets and purses. The club offers clients a microchip, injected in the arm, which gives them access to certain areas of the club and acts as a payment method at the bar. This chip, made by the VeriChip Corporation, is a glass capsule about the size of a grain of rice, which sits under the skin. It carries a ten-digit personal number that can be linked to a person's bank account, and has been a success at the club. Geraldine Padbury, senior business analyst at IGD, accepts that many consumers will have concerns about their privacy, but says that teenagers, the next generation of shoppers, will have far fewer concerns about using the body chips. She said: "With teenagers happy to use MySpace and blogs to share details of their private lives, there may be less concern surrounding privacy than for other generations." However, she believes that supermarkets will look at using fingerprint and iris recognition for the immediate future. One in five teenagers and one in nine adults in the study made clear that they would like to pay using these biometric methods. These methods were more popular than paying by mobile phone because of concerns about the high level of mobile phone theft. There is already a pay-by-touch experiment under way at the Midcounties Co-operative in Oxford, where a finger scan is linked to a bank account. This system is used by more than 2.3 million shoppers in the US and also allows them to cash cheques in stores. Fingerprint recognition is used at Ben-Gurion airport in Israel, rather than making passengers stand in a check-in queue. The research also gives supermarket bosses a clear warning that they will have to speed up shopping trips. In the survey, 66 per cent of teenagers and 62 per cent of adults said that they wanted less staff involvement and more self-scanning of goods. They wanted staff only to help to pack bags or fetch forgotten items.
About 16 per cent of teenagers and 12 per cent of adults wanted navigation systems on trolleys to help them round the store. Such a system is already being used at the Metro Future store in Rheinberg, near Dьsseldorf. Shoppers connect their loyalty card to a computer attached to the trolley. Details are then displayed of goods purchased last time as well as special offers and where to find the items.

Here's two examples of Rfid Companies with links provided

Speedpass is a "contactless" payment system that provides members with a quick and easy way to pay for purchases at participating Exxon and Mobil stations nation-wide. Speedpass is easier and more secure than using a credit card. No more waiting for authorizations and signing receipts. No more searching for cash and waiting for change. To use it, simply wave your Speedpass key tag across the area of the gasoline pump, convenience store terminal, or car wash kiosk that says "Place Speedpass Here". Speedpass automatically -- and immediately -- communicates your payment preferences. It knows what credit or debit card you wish to use. Speedpass even knows whether or not you want a receipt.


Digital Angel Corporation develops advanced RFID and GPS technologies that enable rapid and accurate identification, location tracking, and condition monitoring of high-value assets. Applications for our products include identification and monitoring of pets, humans, fish and livestock through our patented implantable microchips as well as message monitoring of aircraft in remote locations through integrated GPS and geosynchronous satellite communications systems. 

Digital Angel


Long checkout lines at the grocery store are one of the biggest complaints about the shopping experience. Soon, these lines could disappear when the ubiquitous Universal Product Code (UPC) bar code is replaced by smart labels, also called radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. RFID tags are intelligent bar codes that can talk to a networked system to track every product that you put in your shopping cart. Imagine going to the grocery store, filling up your cart and walking right out the door. No longer will you have to wait as someone rings up each item in your cart one at a time. Instead, these RFID tags will communicate with an electronic reader that will detect every item in the cart and ring each up almost instantly. The reader will be connected to a large network that will send information on your products to the retailer and product manufacturers. Your bank will then be notified and the amount of the bill will be deducted from your account. No lines, no waiting. How Rfid's Work  How Stuff Works

(Radio Frequency IDentification) A data collection technology that uses electronic tags for storing data. The tag, also known as an "electronic label," "transponder" or "code plate," is made up of an RFID chip attached to an antenna. Transmitting in the kilohertz, megahertz and gigahertz ranges, tags may be battery-powered or derive their power from the RF waves coming from the reader. Like bar codes, RFID tags identify items. However, unlike bar codes, which must be in close proximity and line of sight to the scanner for reading, RFID tags do not require line of sight and can be embedded within packages. Depending on the type of tag and application, they can be read at a varying range of distances. In addition, RFID-tagged cartons rolling on a conveyer belt can be read many times faster than bar-coded boxes. RFID

A human microchip implant is an integrated circuit device or RFID tag encased in silicate glass and implanted into a human's body. Such implants can be used for information storage, including personal identification, medical history, medications, allergies, and contact information. Microchip implant (human)  Wikipedia

You never want to be stuck on a toll road without a pocket full of change. It can be a bit nerve-racking to dig through the car seats, trying to find something to give to the toll booth attendant while drivers behind you honk and yell for you to move on. These are the kinds of situations that cause delays at toll plazas. How E-Z pass Works  How Stuff Works

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