[LINK] Re: RFID in Govt, and in People

Geoff Ramadan gramadan at umd.com.au
Thu Oct 5 17:38:00 AEST 2006

Kim Holburn wrote:
> On 2006 Oct 05, at 12:07 PM, Eric Scheid wrote:
>> On 5/10/06 11:21 AM, "Marghanita da Cruz" <marghanita at ramin.com.au> 
>> wrote:
>>>> What NEW privacy concerns are specifically raised because of RFID?
>>> It is the ease of tracking that RFID offers over Barcodes that raises
>>> issues....identifying people or their habbits by their rubbish bins and
>>> their contents, where they live by tracking where the book/clothing
>>> goes...are these applications are in the realms of science fiction or
>>> now legitimate objectives.
>> I heard that supermarkets might use RFID to keep an eye on the level of
>> various goods on the shelf ... to know when the item is removed from the
>> shelf. All to do with maintaining inventory levels or something.
> Yeah and supermarkets could note what books you are reading, where you 
> bought your clothes and what credit cards you are carrying as you pass 
> by a "reading" station?.

1) they don't need RFID to do this, people already freely give this information 
at the supermarket check out. The recored the barcode of the product, your 
loyalty card and if they wanted to, they can swipe your credit card.

2) you will be most likely given the option to "kill" the RFID tag when you make 
a retail purchase.

> On the other hand noting would stop you from creating say, an RFID 
> jacket with thousands of RFID tags in it, if it were an active device 
> those tags could change constantly!!!
>> Combine that with library cards with RFID chips one might carry in one's
>> pocket, and They might now be able to track what books people read 
>> *in* the
>> library (ie. the books they *don't* checkout).
>> The thing is, is this feasible?

Possible - if this is a concern, don't issue RFID library cards. There is 
actually no need for it. Only adds additional cost with no value. Stick to using 

>> (this prompts another curious question: we've had great and long debate
>> about the range for reading RFID, and I've also noted comments about RFID
>> readers being overwhelmed with too many responses ... but could one 
>> design
>> an RFID reader with very limited range, ideal for scanning the smaller 
>> set
>> of RFIDs physically within 12" only?)

Some readers (UHF) can read upto 200 tags per second.

Short range RFID tags, are also called "proximity" cards and are typically 5 to 
10cm read range. Many of your wireless "access entry" cards are in fact RFID 
Proximity cards.

The read range is limited by design (antenna / power )

> I believe this is what the RFID industry wants us to believe all readers 
> are like!

Sorry I disagree on this point strongly.

I go to great pains to tell people that "RFID is not one thing nor one 
technology" and the problem USERS have is that they "mix" all the technologies 
and capabilities together to get absurd outcomes.


Geoffrey Ramadan, B.E.(Elec)
Chairman, Automatic Data Capture Australia (www.adca.com.au)
Managing Director, Unique Micro Design (www.umd.com.au)

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