Glimpse Into the Future: RFID Propagation
By Mark Frauenfelder, Thu Jun 10 19:45:00 GMT 2004

They're coming after our pets and cars! Two recent anouncements point to the future of an RFID-tagged planet.


RFID -- it's not just for Wal-Mart anymore. These tiny radio frequency ID tags, which contain unique serial numbers that can be read with a special scanner, are showing up in lots of different places, from casino chips to razor blades to medicine containers. But a couple of recent news reports drive home the fact that RFID is soon going to be a part of our daily lives -- and that we might not really like it.

Japan Today reports that Japan's governmental department responsible for controlling rabies and imposing quarantines announced Tuesday it plans to implant RFID chips in . While many cattle ranchers and wildlife biologists use RFID chips to track animals, the is the first time I'm aware of country planning to enforce implantation of RFID chips into animals. Is it hard to imagine that domestic dogs will be next?

The second, and more ominous, announcement is that a UK-based license plate manufacturer is going to start putting active RFID chips into the license plates it makes. Because the RFID chips are active, they have a much greater range than passive RFIDs (like the ones Japan wants to put into imported dogs). According to the article, "Multiple tags can be read simultaneously by a single reader at speeds of up to 320km per hour (200mph), up to 100 metres (300 feet) away," which is the range of a typical Wi-Fi network. I'll leave the positive and negative implications of such a system to your own imagination. I will predict, however that a lot of people are going to figure out how to deactivate the chips and if they're stopped by police, they'll plead ingnorance.