Friday, July 11, 2008

RFID enabled tickets for Olympic opening and closing

OLYMPICS : RFID enabled tickets for Olympic opening and closing

Now with your passport number and email

by Jeremy Goldkorn,

July 9, 2008

This article was written for Danwei by Chinapat


The Olympics in Beijing has become a platform for rapid technology development and deployment in China. One of the new technologies becoming more commonplace is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). Beijing has been using RFID subway passes for a while, and nothing but the best for the 2008 Games means RFID tags in the tickets.

A source at BOCOG has offered more details about the RFID-enabled tickets being issued for the Beijing Olympics this summer: All tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies will include RFID tags containing personal information about the ticket holder, including passport information and home and e-mail addresses.

Officials originally planned to embed RFID tags in all 6.8 million tickets issued for all Olympics events. These plans apparently went by the wayside, along with a plan to include place a photo of each ticket holder on their ticket. The RFID tags will only be in tickets for the opening and closing events, and photos of the tickets released to the press show no photos on them.

The technology was developed by Tsinghua University's Beijing Tsinghua Tongfang Microelectronics Company. The RFID chip’s dimensions of 0.3 square millimeters and 50 microns in thickness means it won’t even be noticeable by ticket holders.

The ticket holder's information is included in an attempt to thwart counterfeiting of the tickets, but the tickets have raised concern among security experts, who worry that the system may cause delays when entering the stadium or that the data on the RFID tags may be easy prey for hackers.

Chinese officials say the Games' security team will employ a team of at least 4,000 IT experts with 1,000 servers at their disposal. The system is currently being tested and readied for the Games.

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