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Dell joins Whitehall anti-theft scheme

Eric Doyle
Dell has joined a Home Office-sponsored initiative to foil thieves and counterfeiters. As a result, Dell customers will soon be able to buy laptops that contain special chips that carry indelible proof of ownership.

The radio frequency identity (RFID) tag, developed by Marconi InfoChain, will initially be offered embedded in Dell's Latitude C610 notebook. In the event of theft, the police can scan the notebook from a range of up to 1.5m to identify the machine.

The RFID chip does not use any power and it is activated by the detection scanner. Warren Faulkner, an account director at Dell, said, "Because we build each laptop to order, we can imprint each chip with the Dell order number, the customer's name and a piece of information specific to the customer. We are working with the Association of Chief Police Officers to develop an approved label that will clearly indicate that the machine is protected."

Dell will start shipping notebooks with RFID tags within the next few weeks for a controlled test by the BT Group. The technology should become generally available, for an extra cost, through Dell's custom-build CFI service later this year. "The cost won't be onerous," promised Faulkner.

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