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

Geoff Ramadan gramadan at umd.com.au
Fri Oct 6 13:42:02 AEST 2006

Kim Holburn wrote:
> On 2006 Oct 05, at 5:38 PM, Geoff Ramadan wrote:
>> 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.
> Huh?  Sometimes you have to let the checkout people look in your bag but 
> it's usually a quick peep, not a detailed itemisation of your "library 
> books" or a barcode reader scan of the inside of your bag.
>> 2) you will be most likely given the option to "kill" the RFID tag 
>> when you make a retail purchase.
> Is it possible to find an RFID tag with a portable device?  Is it 
> possible to "kill" an RFID tag with a portable device? ;-)  (Naughty 
> question I know but I had to ask it!)


You can read RFID tags via portable readers. Given that portable devices run of 
batteries, they tend to have limited read range.

I believe the UHF Gen2 kill function will be a command you send to the tag.

I am not sure if all UHF Gen2 RFID tags have implemented this feature

>>> 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 barcodes.
> Even if you're not carrying an RFID library card or the library doesn't 
> issue an RFID based card, banks will and the Government might so you may 
> still be able to do link RFID books to some RFID-based ID.

The Health Access Card the government is proposing is a CONTACT based smart 
card... not a RFID contactless card.

Banks are moving towards EMV credit cards, which are also CONTACT based smart 
cards. ...

So I think this scenario is unlikely.

>>>> (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 )
> Yeah, so you can limit the readers by design, I would have always 
> thought you could do this.  I expect you can do it in software.  There 
> is a WiFi AP that allowed you to set a distance beyond which it would 
> not respond to clients.

Just reduce the power output.

>>> 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.
> Hmmm.... not really answering the point.  The fact is that it is 
> possible to read these things at much greater distances than the 
> industry designed readers.  I'm sure there are lots of different 
> technologies and frequencies involved but none of that precludes reading 
> cards at a much greater distance than we are being told.

The standard way to increase read range is by increasing the power to, or gain 
of the antenna (or both).

I restrict my discussion to what is legal and conforms to Australian 
Communications Authority regulatory regime.

In RFID this is 1W EIRP and 920-926MHz this can be upto 4W EIRP.


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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> Kim Holburn
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