Dehousse, Franklin and Zgajewski, Tania. (2009) RFID: New killer application in the ICT world, new big brother, or both? Egmont Paper, No. 30, June 2009. [Policy Paper]
RFID (“Radio-Frequency Identification”) is a new telecommunications service that has received a lot of attention in the last years, due to its growing use1. Though it is based on a rather old technology (the Radar), a progressive rise in quality and decrease in price seem to have opened a lot of new opportunities. It has been estimated that this market could reach the world value of 30 billion euro in 2015. In 2007, its value was already estimated at 5 billion dollars. Worldwide sales of RFID tags reached approximately 2.16 billion in 2008, a substantial increase from the year before. In 2015, some estimate that 400 billion could be sold. According to the European Commission, in 2007, tags sold were used in smart cards and payment key fobs (36%), smart tickets/bank notes/ secure documents (14%), cases or crates of consumer retail goods (13%), retail apparel (5%), animals (5%), and books (4%). The present report aims at describing the main stakes of this technology in Europe3. It will describe the nature of RFID (§ 1), the numerous new uses of the technology (§ 2), the main problems it generates (§ 3) and the present regulatory framework in the European Union applying to RFID (§ 4).
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