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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Can RFID Measure Distance? »