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Information Security: Radio Frequency Identification Technology in the Federal Government

GAO-05-551 Published: May 27, 2005. Publicly Released: May 27, 2005.
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Radio frequency identification (RFID) is an automated data-capture technology that can be used to electronically identify, track, and store information contained on a tag that is attached to or embedded in an object, such as a product, case, or pallet. Federal agencies have begun implementation of RFID technology, which offers them new capabilities and efficiencies in operations. The reduced cost of the technology has made the wide-scale use of it a real possibility for government and industry organizations. Accordingly, GAO was requested to discuss considerations surrounding RFID technology implementation in the federal government. Specifically, GAO was asked to (1) provide an overview of the technology; (2) identify the major initiatives at federal agencies that use or propose to use the technology; (3) discuss the current standards, including those for interoperability, that exist; (4) discuss potential legal issues that the 24 Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Act agencies have identified in their planning for technology implementation; and (5) discuss security and privacy considerations surrounding the technology and the tools and practices available to mitigate them. The Office of Management and Budget agreed with the contents of this report.

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Access controlComputer securityData integrityData transmissionGovernment informationHomeland securityInformation resources managementInformation securityInformation security managementInformation technologyInteroperabilityIT standardsRadio frequency allocationStandardsStrategic planningTechnology assessmentRadio frequency identification technology