Only a Number
In the 1980s and early 1990s, many RFID applications included tags that stored large amounts of product information, such as batch numbers and production dates. Later, toward the end of the 1990s, as efforts increased to develop low-cost tags, researchers designed tiny computer chips that store only minimal information.
RFID is used today in a variety of applications, from office security passes and toll road access to public transport. Based on extensive research and development, RFID has been re-engineered to serve consumers more effectively and move products through the supply chain more efficiently.
Consumers will enjoy a number of immediate advantages thanks to applications which focus on product identification with the Electronic Product Code (EPC). These benefits include: improved shelf stocking with fewer shortages or expired or mis-stocked products and also greater reliability in terms of quality, safety and supply chain security.
No personal information stored on the EPC
Certain uses of RFID involve personal information, securely stored either in a database or on a chip, such as e-passports and building access cards. Applications using the EPC are mainly used for product identification and do not contain personal information.
For consumers, this means that products tagged with EPCs contain nothing but an identifying number. It’s important to remember that no personal information is ever part of a product’s EPC. The EPC can be linked to a secure database in which further information is stored. If the database contains personal information, it must be in compliance with local legislation. Remember, this linkage must always conform to the relevant legal provisions.
Paying with your credit card
This is a scenario in which EPC data is linked to personal information. You purchase a toy tagged with an EPC and you pay by credit card. The EPC will be linked to the credit card information for the purpose of processing payment for the toy. This information remains in a secure database. Please note that the retailer cannot use this information other than for processing the payment. There will be no further linkage between the EPC and personal information, unless you are informed about it and agree to it, or it is legally permitted. In other words, there is no difference from what happens today when you purchase items with your credit card.
Sign-up for our Newsletter:
How it works
EPCglobal Guidelines on EPC for Consumer Products
Going for consumer and privacy protection more ...