IBM has developed a system limiting the distance a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip tag can transmit information from retail goods.
If adopted by stores, the system may allay some privacy concerns consumers might have about RFID inventory tracking technology.
The Clipped Tag system allows consumers to disable RFID tags on items after purchase, but still enables companies to use the information on the tag to identify returned products.
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A Clipped Tag label allows the consumer to tear it along a perforated edge to remove a portion of the tag's antenna after purchasing an item, which reduces the signal distance the silicon chip can transmit.
Some RFID systems can read tags at distances of up to 10 metres. With the Clipped Tag system, the RFID reader and tag can only be about 2cm apart once the label has been torn.