Can RFID Track Stolen Goods?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan RFID Track Stolen Goods?
RFID Journal Staff asked 11 years ago
Is it possible for radio frequency identification tags to be used to track a device, from a cell phone to a television, so that it can be located if stolen?

— Kori



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

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