e-Business with On-Demand Privacy & Security
(Radio Frequency Identification) technology insists the
benefits of collaboration are more than the sums of benefits
of each partner. An acceptable information infrastructure
for such captured data remains to be seemed, and how data
can be shared, information can be leveraged, and knowledge
could be generated and disseminated required research
of considerable magnitude. This RFID-space
needs characterization to allow other principles to be
challenged or enhanced.
RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) technologies have
created a buzz in the business world in late 2003. It
was known that the RF technology is not new and has been
used in different applications. What is interesting to
us is the possibility that it can eventually realize the
"single unique identity" (SUI) for products
in global trade alone. This implication has far-reaching
effects to every aspects of business processes. Supply
chains seem to be one of the key foucses - for intra supply
chain management, and cross (inter) supply chains - as
a network of supply chains similar in nature and
chains of different natures - soon.
believe the adoption of RFID technology will be extensive,
both in scope globally and in participation among industries.
RFID-based information flow will cut across partners in
business chains (e.g., supply chains and logistics service
chains) extended beyond borders and across regions. The
impact of the RFID technology on e-business can be viewed
broadly from three aspects:
Sharing. The data offered
by a RFID tag with a single unique identity (SUI) enable
effective information sharing with consistency and accuracy
among collaborative partners, used individually to improve
efficiency, and at the same time used collectively in
business chains to achieve greater visibility.
form of global information infrastructure must be reached,
e.g., the EPCglobal
Network, to serve as a neutral information platform
– to ensure uniformity and interoperability in
RFID-based information exchange.
Information Flow. The
new security and privacy concerns stemmed from the SUI-guided
information flow among partners must be managed and
protected without compromising trade secrets, and managed
and accessible without exposing sensitive corporate
data and information.
RFID-induced information flow is unavoidable
and tighter coordination and control among parties are necessary.
Privacy and security issues and concerns have been raised
and addressed at the Center of Cyber Logistics.
We believe the on-demand capability of trading
partners to share RFID-based data and information without
compromising individual privacy and security is crucial
to the success of RFID adoption in business chains, achieving
real-time visibility for partners as such information and
physical flows are timely synchronized, even to the unique
item level. Three research issues must be addressed:
- How information sharing differs in a
RFID-enabled business chain environment as compares to
current practices in supply chains and in the logistics
- How can sharing preferences be articulated
for trading partners in a RFID-aware business chain? Preferences
are indicators by a trading partner of positive and negative
views of sharing information.
- How can privacy and security schemes
be enabled as on-demand e-services? On-demand must be
supported by an online capability that brokers entitlement
services to provide an instant policy to facilitate the
information sharing securely.
RFID technology enables pervasive integration
of supply chains, and across chains of other natures such
as logistics. RFID-tagged items can be tracked and traced,
giving the notion of products-in-motion. One view is that a RFID
tags is a 'nomadic RFID tags' (nRTs)- taking up residences
at where RFID-aware e-services are at work. Based on such
view, the information infrastructure, be it EPCglobal
Network or the likes, and other information agents can
be designed to take advantage of the nRTs in facilitating
business chain supremacy.
Guiding standards originated from the
Auto-ID Center at MIT then. EPCglobal, Inc. takes over
the continuing development of the technology and is currently
leading RFID and RFID-related standards developments,
especially the EPC and the EPCglobal Network. There are
others. We are following these developments including the ezTrack, the GTS and GTC of GS1 in the recent years.
The idea of skimming and eavesdropping
without detection on RFID-tagged products does not sit
well with the majority of consumers. Yet, before the RFID-tagged
products get to the market, the privacy and security issues
are more immediate to deal with in supply chains and logistics.
We should also highlight the benefits of RFID-tagged products
to the consumers. We will discuss our view on these new
issues and concerns. Eventually, a supply chain visibility entitlement model will be proposed.