U.S. officials favor global RFID standard

International groups tackle the issue

As people find more uses for radio frequency identification technology, policy-makers and industry officials say a global standard is needed to ensure interoperability and lower costs. Several groups are now actively developing technical standards for RFID, a technology that allows companies such as Wal-Mart and agencies such as the Defense Department to track inventories.

EPCglobal, a nonprofit international consortium, has developed specifications for RFID tag placement, coding structure, data and interface systems. The International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Committee have formed a joint committee to develop RFID standards.

U.S. officials say they want to ensure that such organizations don't produce too many conflicting standards that would be burdensome for RFID manufacturers.

"Our approach in the department is to favor the development of standards that are market-oriented with industry input," said Dan Caprio, deputy assistant secretary for technology policy and chief privacy officer at the Commerce Department.

Stewart Verdery, former assistant secretary for border and transportation security policy and planning at the Homeland Security Department, said at an RFID conference last week that DHS is expanding its contacts with international standards groups.Verdery is now a principal at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, a public relations firm based in Washington, D.C.

Setting standards will become more important as RFID uses grow, said Bill McDermott, president and chief executive officer of SAP America, which is developing RFID applications. Some analysts say the RFID market's value could top $4 billion in the next three years.

The U.S. government should be involved in helping the international community set standards, McDermott said, but government officials should not base decisions on privacy fears that could stifle the technology's development.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.