CNET News.com reports that the labs at RSA Security on Wednesday outlined plans for a technology they call blocker tags, which are similar in size and cost to radio frequency identification (RFID) tags but disrupt the transmission of information to scanning devices and thwart the collection of data.
According to Ari Juels, a principal research scientist with RSA Laboratories. Blocker and RFID tags are about the size of a grain of sand and cost around 10 cents.
RFID technology uses microchips to wirelessly transmit product serial numbers to a scanner without the need for human intervention. While the technology is potentially useful in improving supply chain management and preventing theft in stores, consumer privacy groups have voiced concerns about possible abuses of the technology if product-tracking tags are allowed to follow people from stores into their homes. Many retailers view RFID as an eventual successor to the barcode inventory tracking system, because it promises to cut distribution costs for manufacturers and improve retailing margins.
RSA’s technique would address the needs of all parties involved, according to Juels. Other options, such as a kill feature embedded in RFID tags, also are available, but with blocker tags, consumers and companies would still be able to use the RFID tags without sacrificing privacy.