Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Some tags are powered by electromagnetic induction from magnetic fields produced near the reader. Some types collect energy from the interrogating radio waves and act as a passive transponder. Other types have a local power source such as a battery and may operate at hundreds of meters from the reader. Unlike a barcode, the tag does not necessarily need to be within line of sight of the reader and may be embedded in the tracked object. RFID is one method for Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC).
RFID tags are used in many industries. For example, an RFID tag attached to an automobile during production can be used to track its progress through the assembly line; RFID-tagged pharmaceuticals can be tracked through warehouses, and implanting RFID microchips in livestock and pets allows positive identification of animals.
Since RFID tags can be attached to cash, clothing, and possessions, or implanted in animals and people, the possibility of reading personally linked information without consent has raised serious privacy concerns. These concerns resulted in standard specifications development addressing privacy and security issues. ISO/IEC 18000 and ISO/IEC 29167 use on-chip cryptography methods for intractability, tag and reader authentication, and over-the-air privacy. ISO/IEC 20248 specifies a digital signature data structure for RIND and barcodes providing data, source and read method authenticity. This work is done within ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31 Automatic identification and data capture techniques.