Federal Agencies To Use RFID, But Cite Concerns About Security And Privacy - InformationWeek

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Federal Agencies To Use RFID, But Cite Concerns About Security And Privacy

Thirteen of the largest federal agencies are using or plan to use radio-frequency identification technology, according to a study released last week by the Government Accountability Office.

Thirteen of the largest federal agencies are using or plan to use radio-frequency identification technology, according to a study released last week by the Government Accountability Office.

Yet agencies also indicated they're concerned about RFID. Six agencies cited security considerations, and one cited legal or privacy issues. Three acknowledged the risk that RFID could be inappropriately used to track the whereabouts of people. "Key privacy concerns include tracking an individual's movements and profiling an individual's habits, among others," the report said.

Among those concerned about security, agencies identified data confidentiality, integrity, and availability as key issues. Three agencies also raised the issue of protecting personal data that would be stored on an RFID-enabled U.S. passport.

Agencies using or planning to use RFID include the Department of Defense for tracking shipments; the Department of Homeland Security for immigration and baggage tracking; the State Department for electronic passports; the Department of Veterans Affairs for audible prescription reading; the Environmental Protection Agency for tracking radioactive materials; and the Social Security Administration for warehouse management.

Security and privacy considerations may affect some federal agencies' decisions on whether to implement the technology, the GAO said. Other issues under consideration by agencies include the reliability of tags and readers, the placement of the tags, the costs and benefits of implementation, the availability of tags, and environmental issues.

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