Disabling RFID Tags with Visible Confirmation: Clipped Tags Are Silenced

Existing solutions to protect consumer privacy either put the burden on the consumer or suffer from the very limited capabilities of today's RFID tags. We propose the use of physical RFID tag structures that permit a consumer to disable a tag by mechanically altering the tag in such a way that the ability of a reader to interrogate the RFID tag by wireless mean is inhibited. In "clipped tags", consumers can physically separate the body (chip) from the head (antenna) in an intuitive way. Such a separation provides visual confirmation that the tag has been deactivated. However, a physical contact channel may be used later to reactivate it. Such a reactivation would require deliberate actions on the part of the owner of the RFID tag to permit the reactivation to take place. Thus reactivation could not be undertaken without the owner's knowledge unless the item were either stolen or left unattended. This mechanism enables controlled reuse after purchase. These properties make clipped tags superior to other privacy-enhancing technologies, in particular the kill command.

By: G. Karjoth, P.A. Moskowitz

Published in: RZ3597 in 2005


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