RFID Security Alliance Examines the Risks Associated with Wal-Marts Recently Announced Shift of RFID Technology from the Warehouse into its 3,750 U.S. Stores
Wal-Mart Continuing to Drive the Industry Adoption and Risk Management of RFID Tags in the Retail Market
Sausalito, CA, July 27, 2010 – With over 250 million RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags being put into Wal-Mart’s men’s basics, across Wal-Marts 3,750 U.S. stores, the RFID Security Alliance (“RFID SA”) has been receiving a number of inquiries from the public questioning the security and privacy of their personal information and their risks when purchasing such merchandise.
“We at the RFID SA take an active role to educate the industry and lay person of the advantages and risks associated with RFID based solutions and are deeply committed to insuring that everyone’s information remains private and secure in a well implemented RFID solution” said RFID SA Chairman Michael McCartney. He continued “In reviewing the details of this use-case we find the threat to privacy to be very low and in fact not dissimilar to that of bar codes that it is designed to replace. The removable tags are attached to the garment in the same manner as the conventional bar code tags, with a plastic or cotton loop or tie. Additionally, once removed, these tags can also be permanently disabled with a pair of scissors rendering them irrevocably unreadable so even once the tag is disposed of at the home, the tag can no longer be accessed”.
Additionally, since the information, as the RFID SA understands it, is basic inventory information used to keep track of in stock jeans and apparel items, the RFID SA seriously doubt how useful this non-personal information might be to anyone other than Wal-Mart.
At the RFID SA, we will continue to perform due diligence on this project and others to determine what is the threat level to the public’s privacy. We also will continue to educate the RFID industry on best practices and to make certain that the level of security is high enough to protect the consumer and the markets use of RFID technology. RFID can provide huge cost savings to the industry that will also be passed onto the consumer and will also allow faster and more efficient checkout and returns. While a poorly implemented system could be open to risk, the RFID SA is promoting industry best practices to insure all RFID implementations provide all the benefits with minimal risks.
About the RFID Security Alliance
The RFID Security Alliance (RFIDSA) was founded as a resource for the RFID industry, driving market education and discussion about security and privacy issues surrounding the use of RFID technologies, solutions and applications. More information about RFID SA can be found on its Web site at www.RFIDSA.com. Insights into RFID Security can be also found on the association’s blog at http://rfidsa.blogspot.com/ or contact Anna Haight at Anna.Haight@RFIDSecurityAlliance.org.