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Method for a secure data interchange between RFID tags/readers and the activity detection of tagged objects

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000020403D
Publication Date: 2003-Nov-19
Document File: 6 page(s) / 108K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for a secure interchange of data between radio frequency identifier (RFID) tags/readers and the activity detection of tagged objects. Benefits include: • The ability for an RFID system to infer when objects it senses are moving • The ability for an RFID system to require increased effort on the part of physically distant readers, hence reducing the risk of unwanted reads by a physically distant, unknown, "attacking" RFID reader • The ability for RFID systems to flexibly report some, none, or all of the data they contain.

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Method for a secure data interchange between RFID tags/readers and the activity detection of tagged objects

Disclosed is a method for a secure interchange of data between radio frequency identifier (RFID) tags/readers and the activity detection of tagged objects. Benefits include:

·        The ability for an RFID system to infer when objects it senses are moving

·        The ability for an RFID system to require increased effort on the part of physically distant readers, hence reducing the risk of unwanted reads by a physically distant, unknown, “attacking” RFID reader

·        The ability for RFID systems to flexibly report some, none, or all of the data they contain.

Background

         When an RFID reader sends out a burst of radio energy in the appropriate frequency space, the receiving tag(s) uses the energy to formulate its response, typically including its ID and some section of memory. The tag then sends this response back using the remaining energy (see Figure 1).          Conventionally, an RFID tag either reveals all of its data or none, which greatly limits the use of the tags and the willingness of users to adopt them.

         Conceptually, these tags are like barcodes but with additional functionality. RFID tags do not require line of sight. They can be hidden unobtrusively in many settings. They often have on-tag memory and can transmit much more than a simple 11-digit serial number. Some conventional tags, for example, hold a 96-bit serial number and additional bits (4000 bits, typically) of extra data. Because they function by wireless energy transmission, they can also work at a distance up to 7 meters away. That distance is expected to increase.

         These advantages and the diminishing cost of tags have made them a focus of increasing interest. There are many projects underway in industry and government, each of which will result in hundreds of millions or billions of tags being placed into the world.

         Billions of tags make applications that interact with those tags increasingly useful. However, these tags suffer from a major security flaw. Any reader can read all of their data at any time. This characteristic is becoming increasingly viewed as a major problem limiting acceptance. Users feel uncomfortable knowing that any RFID reader, no matter who owns it or where it is located, can read the RFID data for all the RFID objects they own. For example, a clothing maker announced a plan to put an RFID tag in every clothing item it makes. Negative feedback and criticism resulted from privacy advocates. The clothing maker has withdrawn its plan and is now revising it.

         One solution is to put a “kill switch” on the tag, which causes the tag to stop functioning when the item is purchased. However, this solution is optional. Vendors may choose not to implement the kill switch. Additionally, some limited amount of information may continue to be useful. Destroying all the data may be too extreme. However, this solution is the conventional state of the art. A solution is requi...