Privacy Concerns Dog RFID Chips

Passive tagging chips could be easily hidden and difficult to detect without RFID hardware.

During a briefing on RFID tags at Sun Microsystems Menlo Park, Calif., facility late last month, Director of Advanced Development Juan Carlos Soto passed around a vial containing 150 nearly microscopic tagging chips, barely visible as sandlike grains on the bottom of the container.

These are, of course, the passive type of radio-frequency identification tags, readable only at short distances determined by the combination of an attached antennas size and by the power and complexity of the interrogating reader equipment. But with thin-film antennas, these tags are clearly capable of being concealed in a wide range of products with no means of being detected by customers lacking their own RFID hardware.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead eWEEK Labs analysis of RFID here.

At the end of the briefing, Soto asked, "Does anyone have my vial?"

"Cant you track it?" asked a voice that sounded suspiciously like mine.

For those concerned about the privacy issues of identifiable objects, though, the technology is no joking matter.

/zimages/1/28571.gifCheck out eWEEKs Mobile & Wireless Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis.
Be sure to add our mobile and wireless news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page: