RFID – Myths and Legends DeBunked

Tag or Tracking?

Today on my way into the shop, I was listening to one of my favorite radio broadcast when I was shocked by one reporters total lack of understanding of a small piece of technology that seems to have a lot of people concerned that Big Brother is watching and tracking all of your purchases and in effect, tracking you and your position.

The concern seems to stem from a piece of technology called the RFID Device. By it’s definition: Radio Frequency Identification. These devices in their present state, only rebroadcast when excited by, you guessed it, radio waves. And not just any old radio wave. It must be the correct frequency for the device to activate. Then it only transmits what it has been programed to send like a serial number.

Now, I’m not saying that the conspiracy theory’s have no validity. SciFi has a funny way of making it into our lives on a regular basis. But what I’m saying is that as long as no personal information has been programed into the device, there is no way for a scanner to get your data. Now, there are and will be the criminal element (and the government element as the case may be) so there are ways of crossing over from the store you purchased an item from then matching the serial number for the device or RFID equipped item you purchased to you by the credit card or debt card you used to purchase the item at the point of sale. But that is a security issue for the store to resolve. Someone has to go looking for the info and that implies some wrong doing on the store or company.

An example I like to use is a story of a family in Boston and their family pet, lets call him/her Rover. Now Rover is a good dog and likes to lounge in the back of the house by the old sycamore tree for some shade in the summer. Well, Rover decided one day to chase after the UPS truck as he went by the house. Well, rover got lost and was eventually picked up by Animal Control.

Well, Rover was a Shelter Rescue Animal and was implanted with an RFID microchip. Upon his/her arrival to the Animal Shelter, was scanned by the receiving officer using an RFID Scanner. Bleep, and the owner’s information pops up on the computer screen and Rover is reunited with his/her concerned and elated family.

Rover’s stay with the county was dramatically reduced by the RFID technology lying just below his/her skin. Now this would be a bit extreme for a human I agree.

Now, here is how RFID microchips are being used in the retail and merchandise markets. As a deterrent to theft and as a property recovery tool. These devices are generally deactivated at the checkout or point of sale station where you make your purchase. Some high end devices come with this device installed and allow the consumer to register the device with their theft prevention systems.

This is what I do at Casper Guitar Technologies. I install as an option, a small RFID microchip that I get from www.Snagg.com. They will register the Serial Number from the RFID device and tie it to the guitar. What this does is the same as with the story of Rover. In the event that your prize guitar is stolen, contact Snagg and they will notify the area police department and you have a 35%  better chance of recovering your guitar.

Resistance is Futial-Now, I understand the level of paranoia that is present and I too don’t want the government or any other entity tracking my purchases or my location. And I am not tracking your purchase. These devices are a proven deterrent to a thief and are an invaluable tool for law enforcement in their recovery efforts. I leave this as a standard option for my customers. I believe it to be a benefit. Free theft prevention device and a free insurance policy for the increased odds of getting your prize axe back.

Now for a quick recap.

  • RFID devices require RF to operate.
  • RFID devices only store the info entered. If you enter personal info, they will replay it.
  • RFID Devices have been proven 35% more effective in the recovery of stolen items equipped with the RFID Microchip technology.
  • RFID’s are widely used in the retail market.

This is an emerging technology so the data is still being developed and collected. If you want to find out more about this and other RF technology, try a search on RFID using your favorite search engine and follow up on some of the information you see. You are the ultimate person that has to decide if this technology is a tool or if it is obtrusive.

~ by CGT - 0-Impact Guitars on July 26, 2010.

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