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RFID Security

Through RFID In the near future, every single object will be connected to the Internet through a wireless address and unique identifier, was quipped by the global head of life science and consumer product industries at Sun Microsystems Inc.

Certainly feels impressive, and let me just help your imagination by setting a perfect scenario.

You are sitting at your home watching television on a Sunday afternoon, and you know that your television is connected to the internet. Your couch, table even your dining set is connected to the internet. That is great for the automation!? Now, imagine your shirt, jeans, even your undergarments connected to the internet! It is only a futuristic setup, but the privacy implications of RFID are equivalent in any application of RFID.


The basic privacy concerns associated with an RFID system is the ability of ubiquitous tracking of anybody without consent. And with RFID tags getting smaller and smaller, it is now even possible to hide tags in such a way that the consumer may be unaware of the presence of tags.

For example, the tags may be sewn up within garment, or molded within plastic or rubber. To the extent that researchers have already developed tiny coded beads invisible to human eye that can be embedded in inks to tag currency and other documents, or added to substances like automobile paint, explosives, or other products that law enforcement officers or retailers have a strong interest in tracking. Researchers say that the technology should be ready for commercial use in 3-6 years.

In summary we can note the following ways in which RFIDs can be used to bypass personal privacy:

  • By placing RFID tags hidden from eyes, and using it for stealth tracking.
  • Using the unique identifiers provided by RFID for profiling and identifying consumer pattern and behavior.
  • Using hidden readers for stealth tracking and getting personal information.

With all these privacy concerns, there is bound to be some effort to thwart such attempt at privacy and maintain the popularity of RFIDs. Researches at various places have yielded the following methods of avoiding above-mentioned attacks.

  • RSA Blocker Tags: These tags are similar in size and appearance to RFID tags, helps in maintaining the privacy of consumer by ~Sspamming~T any reader that attempts to scan tags without the right authorization, thus confusing the reader to believe that there are many tags in its proximity.
  • Kill Switches: Newer RFID tags are being shipped with a ~SKill Switch~T, which will allow the RFID tags to be disabled. Thus a consumer will be given an option of disabling the RFID tag before leaving the store, thus avoiding the possibility of stealth tracking and profiling.

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