Radio frequency identification is a short-range technology. Passive high-frequency (HF) tags have a read range of 3 feet, while ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags, often used on electronics, have a read range of 30 feet, even under the best conditions. There are active tags that can be read from 300 feet away, but clearly that is insufficient to track a stolen item, the way LoJack is used to track stolen cars.
You could, however, embed an RFID transponder in a cell phone, a DVD player or a television, and register the ID number with a police database (no such database currently exists). You could then identify a stolen item if it is recovered, simply by reading its tag, and look up the device’s owner in the database.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
Can RFID Measure Distance? »