RFID Chipping

Chipping of animals and passengers

Chips are an indispensible means in daily life and can be used for several purposes. They can be found not only in computers or other electronic devices, but also on smart cards. Such smart cards for example can be used for identification, authentication, and data storage.

An interesting example is radio-frequency identification (RFID). It is an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is an object that can be applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. RFID is becoming increasingly prevalent for different cases as the price of the technology decreases.

  • Race timing
  • Passports
  • Transportation payments
  • Product tracking
  • Animal identification
  • Human implants

Implantable RFID chips designed for animal tagging are now being used in humans. Night clubs in Barcelona, Spain and in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, use an implantable chip to identify their VIP customers, who in turn use it to pay for drinks.

The technology could be used within the field of air transportation as a secure means of identification and tracking of people at airports. However this would help not only for improving security, but also for optimizing the passenger flow and ground operations at airports. If for example the position of a passenger at the airport is known at every time, departure delays could be avoided. If people have to wait at the security check too long while boarding has already begun, they could be tracked and preferentially be processed directly to the gate.

Problem

RFID chips are applied more and more in our daily life. The technology could be used for identifying and tracking passengers and for optimizing the passenger flow and ground operations at airports. However, there are still a great number of problems and concerns to be solved. For example a primary RFID security concern is the illicit tracking of RFID tags. Tags which are world-readable pose a risk to both personal location privacy and corporate/military security. This has provoked concerns into the privacy of individuals as they can potentially be tracked wherever they go by an identifier unique to them. Furthermore, the implantation of a chip under the skin is for most people an unpleasant and unacceptable procedure.

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