Source: SR4a, page 319
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags form an integral part of every product that leaves the production line. Ranging in size from microscopic to the size of a price tag, tags have a stick-to-anything adhesive backing and can sometimes be difficult to spot. Tags are programmed to transmit small amounts of data: serial numbers, product specs, and pricing (for distribution and retail); arrows and advertisements (for geo-tagging locations and objects, leaving a virtual AR message for anyone who comes by); ID (for employee tracking and access control); owner contact information (in case an item is stolen); vehicle registration; etc. Tags can be used as tracking devices, periodically transmitting to local scanners or to the wireless Matrix (along with the local access point’s GPS data), though their limited range makes them useless in dead zones. RFID Tag data is often fixed, but in some cases is reprogrammable. Tags are readable by anyone with a commlink. They have a Signal rating of 1.
The physical location of a tag can be found with a radio signal scanner (p. 326). Tag data can be erased with a tag eraser (p. 320) or programmed with an Edit program (which is what runners do to create fake tags). Fixed tag data can only be altered if the tag is physically accessed, requiring a Hardware + Logic (5, 1 minute) Extended Test. Data on a tag may be encrypted.
Security Tags: Security-conscious megacorps often implant security tags in their salarymen and valued citizens (usually in the hand or arm). These tags are used to monitor employees’ workplace activities, grant clearance to authorized devices and areas (and alert security when detected in unauthorized areas), and provide a means of tracking in case of abduction. These same tags are also used on criminals, both in the joint and when released on parole/monitoring conditions. Parents and schools also use them to track students. Security tags are hardened so that they cannot be erased with a tag eraser. Tags can be easily implanted under the skin at no Essence Cost. Removing them requires a First Aid + Logic (8, 1 minute) Extended Test. Many security systems will trigger an alert if a security tag in their bounds is deactivated.
Sensor Tags: These tags are equipped with a sensor (see Sensors, p. 325) and are programmed to monitor a certain object/person/environment and respond to certain conditions. Sensor tags are used for diagnostic purposes in various devices, vehicle components, and cyberware, as well as to monitor temperature in food shipments, and many similar purposes.
Stealth Tags: Stealth tags are encoded to remain silent and only respond to transmissions with the proper passcodes. They cannot be located with a commlink or bug scanner (unless the codes are known). They typically use special frequencies and other tricks to avoid detection. These tags are also disguised so as not to look like RFID tags (an additional –2 Concealability). Stealth tags are often used as a backup for security tags, and may be implanted in the same way.