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Thursday, July 14, 2005

The RFID Tag You Carry With You

Picture_cell_phone_gps_tracking_1There's been a lot of talk about RFID tags, which can now be implanted in humans or placed in objects people wear, such as clothing or jewelry.  RFID tags emit a signal that can be read by a reader.  The signal indicates an identification number, allowing people or items to be readily identified.   RFID tags have been around for some time, but the technology has become cheaper and smaller, thus increasing interest in their use.  For example, you might have heard last summer about Mexico's attorney general who had all 160 members of his staff implant RFID chips into their arms. 

Currently, the signal emitted by RFID is not very strong.  For implantable tags, you'd have to touch the reader to the skin to read the tag.   There have been many discussions of the potential dangers of RFID tags, especially when the technology develops to improve the range of the signal they emit.  The tags might be used to track people's movements.

Actually, many of us are already wearing an RFID device of sorts -- our cell phones.   Consider the following from a recent CS Monitor article:

Just as with GPS or TV, multiple wi-fi signals can be used to determine a location, Mr. Morgan says. "Every positioning system uses the same concept, that if you have three or more reference points, you can use math to figure out where you are."

This nifty diagram illustrates how it works.  So RFID technology that can track our whereabouts is already here -- our cell phones.   

Posted by Daniel Solove on July 14, 2005 at 01:17 AM in Daniel Solove, Information and Technology | Permalink


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Nice post! Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Swetha | May 13, 2019 5:40:42 AM

what is the range of distance covered by rfid active and passive tags?, what is the cost of active rfid tag and passive rfid tag?

Posted by: asif | Jan 20, 2008 3:08:02 AM

ı want to learn about wi-fi based RFID tag? How can we use RFID Technology in hospital

Posted by: Asuman Oğuz | Jul 19, 2007 8:54:15 AM

Actually, the CS Monitor article was talking about something different -- new technology that uses TV VHF/UHF frequencies to track people. Not cell phones AFAIK.

Posted by: alex | Dec 11, 2005 12:11:11 AM

DS wrote: "The signal indicates an identification number, allowing people or items to be readily identified."

I have one in my dog. Every pound (at least in LA) has a scanner. They scan the dog, find out he's mine, and then I get a call. Pretty cool. I suspect that when I have children, I'll be able to chip them, too.

The good news, I think, is that the religious right is very suspicious of this technology (viewing it a prelude to the Mark of the Beast). So, hopefully, our friendly governments won't be chipping us anytime soon.

Posted by: Mike | Jul 14, 2005 2:17:34 AM

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