Thursday, February 19, 2009

RFID Security & Privacy and Search Engine Results

Contributed by Joanne C. Kelleher

Marketers know that you can track social trends by looking at search engine results for select phrases. As the director of Marketing at SecureRF Corporation, I have been tracking various key words related to radio frequency identification (RFID) for a couple of years and after seeing Mark Roberti’s latest RFID Journal blog entry I did a little more research.

Mark Roberti’s RFID Opponent Joins blog entry discusses how the RFID Journal website appears as the top link in with a rating of eight stars. Ixquick, a meta-search engine that uses other search engines to produce its results, dubs itself "the world's most privacy-friendly search engine." The more times a site appears at the top of search results such as Google, MSN and Yahoo, the higher a rating the site receives in Ixquick. Mark found RFID Journal’s high rating ironic because “Katherine Albrecht, founder of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) and an outspoken opponent of radio frequency identification—and, from time to time, of RFID Journal for its advocacy of the technology—has been placed in charge of public relations at”

In testing the phrase RFID Security (no quotes) in Ixquick I found that the blog I usually contribute to (the RFID Security blog) was ranked # 2 with six stars. The RFID Security Alliance homepage ( was ranked # 3 with six stars. Of the other “38 unique top-ten pages selected from at least 49,599,904 matching results” there were a mix of sites I expected, like Wikipedia and other RFID security vendors or organizations and a few disappointments, like a seven year old article and discount barcode vendor. Overall, these top results were focused on solutions to RFID security issues.

In comparison, the top result in Ixquick for the phrase RFID privacy was the Spychips site, a project of Katherine Albrecht’s CASPIAN organization. Most of the other “20 unique top-ten pages selected from at least 53,299,284 matching results” also focused on the issues and problems related to consumer privacy in the usage of RFID rather then solutions.

This trend of RFID security: solutions and RFID privacy: issues continued in Google. The phrase RFID Security currently results in about 1,060,000 Google results, a dramatic increase from about 518,000 to 626,000 pages at various times in 2008. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there are now 21 sponsored links for this phrase, including RFIDSA members Verayo and Neocatena. Until recently there were only a few paid listings for solutions to RFID security issues. In comparison, the phrase RFID currently results in over 21 million hits with 389 sponsored links and RFID privacy currently results in over 2 million hits but only 1 to 4 sponsored links (one of which was from Amazon for a book by the same name).

As the RFID Security Alliance was founded as a resource to drive market education and discussion about security and privacy issues surrounding the use of RFID technologies, solutions and applications, we can have a role in changing these trends. If your organization is interested in addressing these issues, regardless of where your website currently appears in the search engines, we invite you to join the RFIDSA -

No comments: