Big Brother is Watching
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is everywhere. It’s what allows drivers to pay their tolls without stopping their cars. It provides libraries with a way to track books. It gives retailers an opportunity to manage their inventory and provides pet owners with a way to keep tabs on their favorite, four-legged, furry family members. Some consider this a breakthrough technology while others consider it another surveillance tool in Big Brother’s chest. Whatever side a person falls on, RFID is here to stay and will continue to extend its reach into other areas.
RFID isn’t new. It’s been around for decades. It was first used by the British in World War II to determine whether aircrafts belonged to friends or foes. Its use in the mainstream started much later.
RFID made its way into everyday society because it lends itself to saving money, efficiency, convenience and security. To understand its benefits, one must learn how the technology works. RFID tags are intelligent barcodes that can talk to a networked system to track products or even, people.
There are two types of RFID tags: active and passive tags. Active tags contain a battery and can transmit its signal autonomously; passive tags don’t have a battery and require an external source to initiate signal transmission.
Jim Beisel, the company’s special account manager for Garden Grove, California-based All Barcode Systems, said security is one of the things the company is focusing on. Beisel explained the company is working with school districts on an RFID badge that would be used to track visitors. “The person will get a badge with an RFID chip and then log in as a visitor,” Beisel explained. “But it won’t just track the person’s in and out [of the building]. It will have traceability. It will provide schools with a visitor’s location.”