Radio tag is you!

Miniature radio frequency identification tags (Radio-Frequency Identification Tags, RFID), long used to track the movement of supplies and stocks, in recent times have become increasingly used for labeling consumer goods. Advocates of private information claim that the devices pose a threat to those who "carry" them, often unaware of it.

Americans living in states bordering on Canada or Mexico already receive a driver's license that can be read remotely. For the introduction of such documents designed to identify US citizens crossing the border of the country, advocate the Department of Homeland Security. But those who are concerned about the security and integrity of the personal sphere should think twice before receiving such an identifier.


The average consumer may not suspect how many RFID tags he has with him. They are integrated into personal items and even into some garments.


The new certificate contains a radio frequency identification tag RFID, which is read through a wallet, purse or pocket from a distance of up to 10 m. Each such tag is a chip with a unique identification number. When its carrier approaches the border control point, the radio waves emitted by the reader (RFID reader) and received by the antenna tag activate the chip, and it transmits its identification number. By the time the owner of the tag gets to the border guard, this number will already go to the database, and the owner’s photo and information will appear on the computer screen.

Despite the fact that obtaining such an “improved” driver's license in the border states is voluntary, security specialists fear that those who wish to obtain such rights are not aware of the risks to which they are exposed. Access to personal data can be obtained by anyone who has an RFID reader (and it is not difficult to get it) - an unscrupulous trader, a government agent, a thief, or simply curious. Moreover, when the owner of such a certificate commits a credit card transaction, the radio tag can be used as an identifier along with tickets and passes, credit cards, clothing, telephones, and even groceries.

RFID tags are an active barcode that was previously used primarily to identify products. Instead of scanning the Universal Product Code (UPC), a warehouse worker can register the contents of each container, for example with paper towels, simply by reading the unique sequence number of the RFID tag attached to it. In the central database this number corresponds to the full list of the contents of the container. But people are not paper products. Over the past decade, the installation of microcircuits in consumer products and documents has triggered a new round of debate on security and the protection of private information precisely because RFID is a very effective tracking tool. The degree of coding information in radio tags is not high, and the existing laws do not protect citizens from unfair tracking and obtaining information about a person in the context of growing “tagged” life.

In addition to bar codes

The first RFID tags were used during World War II to recognize their own and other aircraft. Since the late 1980s. These technologies began to be used to pay for travel in public transport, and in 1999 the first attempts were made to take into account and control the movement of goods using radio tags. In particular, Procter & Gamble and Gillette (which later merged to become the world's largest consumer goods producer), together with engineers at MIT, created the Auto-ID Center consortium to develop compact, efficient and low-cost RFID tags that can eventually be replaced by consumer barcode products standard UPC.