Punch cards, keyboards, bar code scanners-the trend is clear. Input devices have continued to promote faster and more accurate data entry. Key to this advance is capturing data at their source, and no tool does this better than radio frequency identification (RFID) systems. An RFID transmitter sends out a coded radio signal. An RFID tag changes and reflects this signal back to an antenna. The RFID system can read the reflection's unique pattern and record it in a database. Depending on the system, this pattern may be associated with a product line, shipping palette, or even a person. Although an RFID system's range is limited to a few dozen feet, this approach enables remarkable inventory tracking that doesn't rely on a human to keyboard interaction or scan. Except for the presence of a 1-inch-square (5-cm-square) RFID tag, humans may have no idea an RFID system is in operation.
Indeed, that may be part of the problem. Consumers have expressed concern that RFID chips attached to products they purchase may be used to track them. Others fear their government may require embedded RFID chips as a form of personal identification and tracking. What started as a new and improved input device has devolved into a matter of public policy.
a. How would you feel if your university used RFID tags embedded in student IDs to replace the magnetic swipe strip? On a campus, RFID tags might be used to control building access, manage computer access, or even automatically track class attendance.
b. Enter "RFID" into an Internet search engine and summarize the search results. Of the top 20 results, how many were positive, negative, or neutral?
c. Enter "RFID" and "privacy" into an Internet search engine, select a page expressing privacy concerns, and summarize them in a brief essay. Do you find these concerns compelling?

  • CreatedDecember 31, 2012
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