Simson Garfinkel

A View from Simson Garfinkel

Pentagon Pushes RFID

InternetWeek.com says that the Defense Department is Slowing Down RFID Adoption, but from where I am sitting it looks like DoD is moving full speed ahead — this time with realistic goals.Specifically, DoD is saying that its top 100 vendors…

  • December 13, 2003

InternetWeek.com says that the Defense Department is Slowing Down RFID Adoption, but from where I am sitting it looks like DoD is moving full speed ahead — this time with realistic goals.

Specifically, DoD is saying that its top 100 vendors must supply RFID tags on their pallets and cases by January 2005; the top 500 vendors must comply by July 2005, and all vendors (more than 10,000) must “be on board by January 2006.”

These numbers turn out to be the same requirements that Wal-Mart recently put on its own suppilers.

Mind you — this is not item-level tagging, just cases and pallets. But what I find disturbing is that neither Wal-Mart nor DoD seems to ahve any plans for what to do about the tags once they get into soldier/consumer hands. Is the plan to let people walk around with live tags, or are the tags going to be attached to packaging so that they are thrown away when the consumable is unpacked? Either way, there are staggering implications for both privacy and security. (Just imagine what happens when the Iraqi resistance starts equipping their pipe-bombs with RFID-based triggers.)

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