Smart, secure RFID

Texas Instruments Inc. of Dallas and VeriSign Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., rolled out what the companies call an Authenticated RFID model for adding a public-key infrastructure layer to radio frequency identification systems. It's being pitched currently as a way to tighten security in the pharmaceutical industry's efforts to root out counterfeit drugs. But government agencies, in particular the Defense Department, that plan to use RFID to track sensitive supplies might consider such a model.

The multitiered approach calls for unique RFID tags and authenticated readers. The tag data is digitally signed and then only unlocked by readers with a corresponding signature.

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