RFID or Radio Frequency Identification - Computer Definition
A tiny communication chip placeable on just about anything. Some high-tech experts tout it as being the next biggest technological development since the Internet.
RFID is particularly exciting to the business community. For example, Wal-Mart and other major retailers in the United States and elsewhere plan to use it to replace the soon-to-be old-fashioned bar code. The reason for RFID use is to reduce inventory losses through theft as well as personnel costs by hundreds of millions of dollars. Moreover, RFID usage is expected to improve just-in-time stocking issues.
RFID appears to be consumer friendly. For example, at the Barcelona Baja Beach Club, VIP (Very Important People) customers have embedded chips under their skin so that staff members at the club can treat them with special respect.
A volunteer watchdog group in Canada, Britain, the United States, and Australia monitors the accuracy of the old-fashioned bar code scanners in stores. The group began its activities in 2002 to discipline businesses that refused to reimburse consumers when the store bar scanners overcharged them. With RFID, the group may choose to close down their shop.
Speaking at the March 1, 2005, Wireless/RFID Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C., wireless experts said that the growth of wireless technologies such as RFID chips and nano-scale “smart dust” is not all positive; it has privacy losses as well as consumer-friendly gains. Generally, wireless networks become vulnerable to attack because system administrators fail to properly configure wireless access points with password protection. Also, they tend to use little or no encryption, fail to disable infrared ports and P2P aspects of the wireless networks, and tend to provide little to no private network protection.
In Brief. Bar-Code Scanner Practices Scrutinized. The Globe and Mail, January 20, 2005, p. B9; Grami, A. and Schell, B. Future Trends in Mobile Commerce: Service Offerings, Technological Advances and Security Challenges. Proceedings of Second Annual Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust. University of New Brunswick, New Brunswick, Canada, October 13–15, 2004. [Online, October, 2004.] Privacy, Security, Trust 2004 Website. http://www .unb.ca/pstnet/pst2004/; Olsen, F. Security Through Layers. [Online, March 1, 2005.] FCW Media Group Website. http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2005/0228/web-wiresec-03-01-05.asp; Ticoll, D. RFID: The Tiny Chip That Can Do Just About Everything. The Globe and Mail, July 22, 2004, p. B8.