Topics: RFID, Supply chain management, Radio-frequency identification Pages: 11 (4325 words) Published: April 17, 2007
The identification chips, contained in a glass capsule that's slightly larger than a grain of rice, were injected into their upper arms by a syringe-like device. When activated by a scanning signal, the chips send out a unique 64-bit code that can be linked to the person's identity, along with all sorts of other pertinent information, like security clearance. A mother is panicking because she cannot find her child at a busy daycare. The daycare provider quickly sweeps an electronic wand around the playground: within seconds, the child's exact location is identified due to a RFID chip implanted under his skin, and the worried mother is able to find her child immediately. While this scenario seems a little far-fetched, technology has been developing so quickly that a situation such as this is not as far off into the future as one would imagine. Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is an electronic identification method that utilizes radio waves. RFID can use various methods for identification, but the most common method it uses is storing a serial identification number with personal information on a chip, which is attached to an antenna and can then transmit information to a reader. RFID chips or tags are used for storing or identifying information, and can have an unlimited amount of uses, from inventory control to human implantation. Like bar codes, RFID is extremely useful for processes such as tracking inventory, but as an added benefit, can be read from further distances and for more complex purposes. Ethical Issues of RFID Technology

Because RFID technology raises numerous ethical issues, we will evaluate these issues through utilitarian and consequence-based ethical frameworks. Utilitarian-based ethics focuses on what provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people, while consequence-based ethics emphasizes the importance of the outcome of every decision, rather than the means used to reach that decision. Although there are ethical concerns with some aspects of human implantation of RFID chips, the overall benefits that RFID technology provides, including increased safety and efficiency, outweighs the concerns. In regards to consequence-based frameworks, the privacy that may be lost far offsets the safety that will be gained by the technology. We believe that while RFID technology has enough benefits to be a useful technology, it needs more control and regulation to make sure it is safe from potential abuse. Background

Technology for the RFID chip has been in development since 1946, when a device utilizing radio waves was invented for espionage. Since then, similar technologies have been used, but the technology in a RFID chip today boasts the most complex and foolproof technology to date. The RFID tag itself is about the size of a pinhead or grain of sand. The tag includes an antenna and a chip that contains an electronic product code. Information is transmitted from the antenna to a reader, which is then transferred to a computer that can read the information contained in the RFID chip. The transmission range as of yet is only around four feet, but the potential to increase this range is endless. With technology advancing so fast, we could expect the RFID tags to eventually replace the barcodes as identification system of choice. The electronic product tag stores much more information than a regular bar code is capable of, such as when and where the product was made, where the components come from, and when they might perish. Unlike barcodes, which need a line-of-sight to be read, RFID chips do not need a line-of-sight to be detected. The major problem until recently has been the costs associated with RFID. The cost of these chips has not yet reached a point where they are cheaper than current technologies, such as bar codes. Researchers estimate that it still costs around 50 cents for each chip for every product, whereas traditional conventional labels still cost...
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