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D7.7: RFID, Profiling, and AmI

Generic Understanding of AmI-Systems from a Technical Perspective  Title:
 Non-interactive Authentication and Tracking using RFID


RFID, RFID systems* and Identification

A brief overview on RFID tags*and readers* is given in the Annex (chapter ) and will be further investigated and described in the FIDIS Deliverable D3.7.

RFID tags* cannot be used in a meaningful way on their own. They are always part of an RFID system* (RFID systems* are described in chapter ). Possible components of RFID systems* are (Garfinkel, Rosenberg, 2005):


  • RFID tags*; we understand an RFID tag* as a device that is composed of a chip storing data and / or being able to perform simple computing operations. Directly attached to this chip is an antenna for radio frequency transmission and / or the receiving of electric power (passive tags, see Annex, chapter )

  • The corresponding readers* 

  • An infrastructure for data transport from the reader(s)* to the computing device 

  • Computing device and software facilitating matching and identification 

  • A reference database providing reference data to compare the information and /or identifier stored on the RFID tag* 

  • Interfaces to external data and services 

  • Components to use the results of the matching process for example Supply Chain management systems (SCM), Manufacturing Management systems (MM) etc. 


Today RFID systems* are mostly used in supply chain management (SCM) with the target to substitute the traditional barcodes. RFID tags* for that purpose have to be very cheap (throw away electronics) and therefore are mostly simple devices in a technical sense. They are able to store and transmit one identifier only (for example an EPC*, cp. Annex, chapter ), when empowered electromagnetically and read out by a reader* (passive RFID tags*). In this context they are mainly used to identify objects, in this case the products in the supply chain.

But today’s RFID tags* do not stop to respond to readers* after the product is bought by a customer and leaves the supply chain (unless special measures to destroy or deactivate the tags are taken). In this context the link between the RFID tag* and the product and may create a link between the product and the customer. In an indirect way the RFID tag* may now be used to identify the owner / user of the product. This works very well in cases where RFID tags* are linked physically in a stable way to the product (for example in case a RFID tag* is integrated into the sole of a shoe) and where the product is not used by many users (most people don’t exchange their shoes with other persons on a regular basis). But in many other cases the stability of the link between an RFID tag*, an object and a person is very questionable. This problem of the stability of the links is a problem similar to the one we observe for example with identification and determination of the location of a person using mobile phones (Royer, 2006).  

RFID tags* are also used to identify persons directly and specifically or in a more generic way. Examples for this are the VeriChip, that can be implanted to support the identification of persons through RFID systems*, RFID to lock and unlock the doors of cars (identifying a presumably authorised user of the car), or the SpeedPass system implemented by ExxonMobile, that allows for a simplified payment via a credit cards and thus identifies the user indirectly as the credit card holder.



Figure : Examples of different kinds of links between a person and a RFID tag*



Generic Understanding of AmI-Systems from a Technical Perspective  fidis-wp7-del7.7.RFID_Profiling_AMI_02.sxw  Non-interactive Authentication and Tracking using RFID
Denis Royer 6 / 43