The RFID Debate is set to run on
At present Compliance and Privacy has formed no opinion, but it does have questions:
Some of these have been prompted by the latest announcement from IBM, carried in Computer Weekly on Thursday 4 th May 2006, where IBM has announced a new RFID tag that can be emasculated at checkout.
As the press release says, “A Clipped Tag label allows the consumer to tear it along a perforated edge to remove a portion of the tag's antenna after purchasing an item, which reduces the signal distance the silicon chip can transmit.”
That is all well and good, but that gives us a very simple question:
Why not remove the tag at the checkout?
With privacy concerns raising very high emotions, the only answer we have at present is “Because it means the tag has to cost more”.
What we know is that RFID tags are being applied to lower and lower unit cost retail goods because these walk out of stores easily. Mach III razor blades are a great example. Our reported was offered them on the street in Budapest last year as he stepped off a tram. They are highly desirable because great advertising created the demand. And RFID tags and Mach III razor blades go together.
Creating a removable tag for the Mach III is relatively costly, in part because fixing it to the packaging in a removable manner is non trivial. If the glue isn't tough enough the thief can remove it at once, and the benefit is lost.
So a partial solution is the tag with removable portion. But is that good enough?
Have your say...
Read a “Plain guide to RFID” on Wikipedia [Wikipedia articles are subject to regular change and may not be authoritative]