Texas Instruments keeping RFID private

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rfid

Texas Instruments used the recent Interphex show in New York to
demonstrate its unique approach to improving the security of
budding radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

Fighting counterfeit drugs has been one of RFID's main selling points, however, the drug industry is becoming too complacent about the safety of RFID, according to new research published by experts at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

With security in mind, TI's 13.56-MHz high-frequency tag, the HF-Pro, incorporates a password protection write functionality that allows for the NCD data contained on an RFID tag to be decommissioned at the point of sale.

The NDC data holds information about the product such as the vendor, product name and package size and moves through the supply chain on the tag to help pharma manufacturers, wholesalers, and dispensers securely track its movements.

However, some of the NCD data holds information that from a consumer point of view may be sensitive and has the potential to breach consumer privacy if uncovered.

With standard RFID tags, once the product leaves in the possession of the customer, all the NCD information regarding the product remains on the tag and can theoretically be gathered by anybody with an RFID reader.

"In one possible scenario, employers could potentially use this technology to find out the types of medication that their employees are taking,"​company spokesperson Joseph Pearson told In-PharmaTechnologist.com.

However, with TI's password protection write functionality, the pharmaceutical dispenser can decommission the NDC, by overwriting it using a password, so it is zeroed out prior to leaving the store.

The fact that the NDC is now decommissioned protects consumer privacy because no identifying product code is on the tag.

If for some reason the product is recalled and needs to return to the pharmacy, the erased data can easily be re-commissioned back onto the RFID tag again.

"This is the only ISO/IEC 15693 RFID tag that has this unique password protection feature, allowing the product code to be decommissioned and re-commissioned,"​ said Pearson.

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