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Interested in RFID/Contactless Chips/Radio Barcodes/etc? Read this!

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posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 02:39 PM
For those of you interested in RFID techynology, I thoght I'd put together this little info pack for you to have a look at.
Most of this information I have taken from a website,, as it summarises everything as well as (or better) then I can.

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification.

This technology allows for the electronic detection, tracking and control of items through production, warehousing

and all forms of transportation.
How it works

A tag is adhered to an item, carton or stillage.
Radio waves send energy via antenna to the tag which emits its own personnel information or unique serial number back

to the data collector/reader.
This information is transferred to the data management system by radio signals.
The data collected from the tag is sent directly to the computer via standard interfaces or can be stored in a

portable reader and up-loaded to the computer at a later date.

Integrated circuit chip attached to an antenna.

1. READ ONLY. Factory programmed memory with permanently stored information.
Has multiple read capabilities.
2. PROGRAM ONCE MULTIPLE READ. User-programmable memory with multiple read capability.
Can only be programmed once.
3. READ/WRITE. User-programmable memory with multiple read and writer capability.


ACTIVE TAG. Battery power source with approximately 5 years life. Benefit - greater range of signal. Drawback -

they cost more.

PASSIVE TAG. Powered by RF energy. Benefits - smaller, lighter, cheaper with infinite life span. Drawback - signal

range is much shorter.

1. LOW FREQUENCY. 125kHz with a typical 100mm read range.
2. HIGH FREQUENCY. 13.56MHz with a typical 0.3-1.0M read range.
3. ULTRA HIGH FREQUENCY. 433-915MHz and 2.45GHz with a typical 1-3M read range under US FCC regulations.


Firstly, there are several frequency bands used, all with different levels of security/range etc:

1) 125khz chips - (Used in pets, the infamous Verichip, Car keys, etc)

Low Frequency

Low frequency RFID has been around for many years, this technology has various areas of application, vehicle

identification, manufacturing, access control, container identification and animal identification

Near contact to 0.5m range with the right conditions and slow data transfer rates (Depending on the amount to be


2) 13.56 Mhz chips - (Smartcards, Transaction processing, Item tracking, Access control

High frequency RFID is a progressive sector with significant interest, as the structure of the tag is not as

costly as some of the others.

Good range with the right conditions and good data transfer rates.

3) UHF (433MHz / 860 - 930MHz)

With ever increasing requests for greater range from passive tag systems, UHF is seen as the most suitable to

achieve this requirement. However, the need to find an acceptable frequency that is welcomed internationally is a

hard task.

Good range with the right conditions and good data transfer rates.

4) 1.2GHz / 2.45GHz / 5.8GHz - (Automated toll collection, Roadside communication, Item tracking)

Microwave RFID has many years of applications based primarily upon active tag applications. This technology is

used for road-tolling, with factory automation, access control and logistics being other areas where this frequency

is used.

Good range with the right conditions and fast data transfer rates.

What a lot of people are immediately worried about is the security of the new ID cards and passports, well from what

I can make out they are pretty secure (or can be). Insteads of being like the old Verichip or other 125Mhz based

devices, they have a shorter read range and are a smartcard rather than just a chip. No-one has broken the new Sky

cards, so they have as much chance or less breaking the passports and ID cards.

These appear to be using the 13.56 Mhz tech I've found out. I came to this conclusion after several hours of

searching for clues.

The company at this site [[/url] market passport readers, which apparantly comply to:

Contactless interface, ISO 14443-2, 3, 4 compliant, reading distance of 0 to 4 cm.

Looking up ISO 14443 we find:

ISO 14443 defines identification cards with an embedded chip (proximity card) and a magnetic loop antenna that

operates at 13.56 MHz (RFID). More recent ICAO standards for machine-readable travel documents specify a

cryptographically signed file format and authentication protocol for storing biometric features (photos of face, fingerprint and/or iris) in ISO 14443 RFID chips.

Incidently you can buy this little gizmo (though without the correct software and codes you still would not be able

to read the information one would assume:

Socket CF RFID Reader Card, High Frequency......


Integrated Type I CF card plugs into the Type I or Type II CompactFlash slot of Windows Powered Pocket PCs.
High Frequency – 13.56MHz Reader/Writer
Read range – Maximum 2.5 inches (6.35cm) – Varies with size of tag antenna
Complies with ISO 15693 and ISO14443A
Reads all data from the most popular HF ISO 15693 tags, including: ICode SLI/SL2, LRI512, my-d and Tag-It HF-I
Reads all data from ICode 1, Tag-It HF and PicoTag proprietary HF tags
Reads the tag ID code only from GemWave and Mifare (ISO14443A) HF tags
Reads multiple tags simultaneously in Loop Mode......


The only concern here is that the basic equipement required is easily and cheaply available, but then I have a

smartcard reader and no-one can crack Sky (and I happily pay my subscription anyway)... So it might be nothing to

worry about, unless the info required is leaked out to certain people that we would rather not have it. But then you

will always have these problems..

To be honest, after researching this matter, I am not as worried as I was about the security of the new ID cards and

Passports, from what I have seen they are pretty secure...

Anyway I leave you with this information so you can judge and learn for yourselves..


Some more links that may be of interest:

[edit on 27-6-2005 by AgentSmith]

posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 04:35 PM
Emm. guess I was wrong when I thought people might be interested in facts about RFID. I was pretty worried about the security concerns regarding the use of RFID tech in things such as Passports and ID cards (which is why I researched it), but seeing as this information seems to help quash that fear I guess people just arn't interested.
I am still concerned about the invasion of privacy that this sort of thing will infilct upon us, but I am glad that some fears such as ease of access from a long range of personal information for terrorists are miss-guided.
I fact we have much, much, much more to fear from our information being sold on the black market by corrupt call centre staff in India than by 'hacking' Electronic ID.

I wonder what sort of reaction I would have got if I provided 'proof' that the tehcnology was highly flawed and vulnerable?

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 06:34 AM
I found it to be a very interesting read, I learned some things about RFID I was not aware of.

Oh and

You have voted AgentSmith for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have two more votes this month.

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 07:39 AM
Thanks Agent - your post has enough background reading it will take a bit to catch up with you!

Thank you very much for doing this legwork for us!

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 08:13 AM
Aww shucks, cheers huys!

I've been meaning to do it for a few days but only just got round to it. I found it so difficult to find some clear info that I thought I'd try and make it easier for others!

Sorry about the bad formatting, I can't even edit it now to fix it, I copied and pasted from Textpad... sorry about that.

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 08:15 AM

No worries. I have found (from the time I was in ATSNN) that the very best text editor that causes the least formatting problems is Wordpad. I ran into these issues using notepad, and, of course, MS Word absolutely won't work...but wordpad seems to be real dependable.

posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 08:17 AM
I've been pushing to get my company using RFID for over a year now. Its quick easy inventory counts and you can maintain accurate real time inventory.

Its a great technology for sorting and moving things. And yes, you could apply it to people, but thats an issue of ethics not technology.

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