Can RFID Identify Someone Via a Tag on His or Her Person?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan RFID Identify Someone Via a Tag on His or Her Person?
RFID Journal Staff asked 12 years ago

Would it be possible to have an RFID reader in a doorway interrogate a passive tag located within a person's pocket—either attached to a keychain, or sitting in a wallet—without requiring him or her to take it out, and to then cross-reference the information culled against a database of names linked to the tag data? Essentially, could the system return the name of a person walking through a door?

—Name withheld


The answer is a qualified yes.

First, you would need to set up the doorway reader properly. The human body absorbs RF energy since it is mostly composed of water, which absorbs RF energy at the frequency that passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) systems employ. So the antennas would need to be positioned so that the body was not between the tag and the reader antenna.

Another key issue would be privacy. It might be possible to read the tag, but in certain countries, doing so without a person's awareness would be deemed a crime. But even in places where it was not considered criminal activity, it would still be important to have people opt into being tracked, rather than monitoring them without their knowledge.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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