New RFID Tag May Ease Privacy Concerns

IBM's Clipped Tag limits the distance a RFID chip can transmit information

As reported by 

The IBM Corp. says it has developed a feature that limits the distance a radio frequency identification (RFID)chip, embedded in a tag, can transmit information.
The Clipped Tag gives consumers the option to disable RFID tags on items after purchase, while still enabling companies to use the information on the tag to identify product returns or recalls, an IBM executive said in an interview with TechWeb.

The consumer can tear the Clipped Tag label along the perforated edge to remove a portion of the tag's antenna after purchasing an item to reduce the signal distance the silicon chip can transmit. "The tag rips about a quarter inch from the chip to disable part of the antenna," said Eric Gabrielson, director of worldwide RFID solutions at IBM. "You can still read the information on the chip, but the reader and tag need to be within one inch, rather than many feet."

Ultra-high frequency tags can read tags at distances up to approximately 30 feet, according to a published IBM white paper.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Inc. are among those retail stores leading the change from identifying product day with RFID technology. But evidence suggests other U.S. companies have followed, asking consumer goods suppliers to embed the technology in shirts, pants, MP3 players, plasma televisions and other products to manage inventory and warranties.

IBM's patent-pending technology will work with any type RFID tag.