Archive for the ‘Privacy & Legislation’ Category

TheStreet: Wal-Mart item-level tagging doesn’t represent an invasion of privacy – or does it?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

I’m a firm believer that privacy concerns about RFID are fading as the benefits of the technology become more apparent to consumers. While there is still a ways to go on that subject, a recent poll by TheStreet suggests that consumers are not concerned about privacy invasions from RFID – although only by a small majority. In the poll, 53.3 percent of respondents said they do not consider RFID tags a breach of privacy, while 46.7 percent believe their rights could potentially be violated.

The publication doesn’t reveal any information on margins of error, but you’ve got to believe that the poll isn’t far off from a 50-50 split on the topic, which suggests further education is needed when it comes to privacy. Regarding the Street poll, first I’d like to know why the poll results were buried in the last paragraph. Secondly, I’d like to know how many people TheStreet surveyed, and how familiar they are with the technology.

Click here to read previous coverage of privacy issues in RFID 24-7.

Click here to read the full story from TheStreet

Verayo launches next generation of unclonable RFID chips

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

For those who like to clone or hack RFID-enabled mass transit passes and access control cards, life is about to change. The free ride might be over.

Verayo, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of security and authentication solutions, today unveiled the Vera M4H, the first chip of its new product family. The new tag will deliver authentication and security to markets such as mass transit tickets, secure IDs and access cards and consumer product anti-counterfeiting, where cost has been an impediment for adoption.

Verayo works with various RFID tag vendors such as Sirit, SMARTRAC, UPM Raflatac and others to build RFID tags for various applications.

“Enhanced security and authentication for RFID solutions will reduce end user uncertainty and facilitate adoption in a diversity of applications,” said Drew Nathanson, Director of Research Operations at VDC Research.

Providing RFID chips with silicon “fingerprints,” Verayo’s PUF technology exploits the unavoidable variations in the IC fabrication process to uniquely characterize each chip. Since these manufacturing process variations are impossible to control, model or replicate, each PUF-based IC is rendered effectively unclonable, ultimately improving security and reducing counterfeiting concerns

The company plans to unveil the second product in the Vera M4 line this fall. To learn more about Verayo’s innovative PUF technology, visit the company’s YouTube channel at

More silly RFID legislation – this time from Virginia

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It’s too bad that state legislators continue to waste their time and energy on legislation that prohibits the forced injection of RFID chips into humans. Wednesday’s Washington Post carried a story about legislation in Virginia that would prohibit unwanted injection of RFID tags. Seriously, do the pols in Virginia really think that’s going to happen?

Unfortunately they are not alone, as similar laws are on the books in California, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. It sends a strong message that lawmakers still do not understand the technology. Being forced to roll up your sleeve to have an RFID tag placed in your bicep is akin to being punched in the face or assaulted in some other way — which is a crime. Yet, the Washington Post covered the story in-depth. Here’s another link to an opinion piece I wrote about this very topic three years ago in DC Velocity magazine. I guess the situation has not improved.

More RFID privacy concerns surface in Rhode Island

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

There must be something in the water in New England. After New Hampshire passed a bill limiting the use of RFID earlier this month, now there is a proposal to restrict the use of RFID in Rhode Island.

Following New Hampshire’s bid to limit the use of RFID in that state (the N.H. Senate still needs to rule on the bill and will likely reject it), the Rhode Island General Assembly overturned its Governor’s veto on Monday and approved a series of bills designed to protect civil liberties issues, including one that restricts the use of RFID at public schools. The bill also is also designed to protect the privacy of drivers who use the state’s E-ZPass toll system.

Some of this RFID legislation is getting a bit ridiculous. The Rhode Island situation appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to a 2008 bid by the Middletown school district in Rhode Island to use RFID tags on students back packs in an attempt to verify that elementary school students boarded the right school bus. RFID, if explained thoughtfully and in a well-educated manner to parents, is a natural for that type of application.

In this case, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri actually gets it — when he vetoed the legislation in November, Carcieri noted that RFID could be help track students during a natural disaster or a terrorist attack. And he’s right. After all, would you rather have an RFID tag prevent your child from getting off a bus at the wrong location, or hear yet another story about a kid who was mistakenly left on the bus unattended for several hours at the end of the bus route?