Manufacturers and a key industry group expect to introduce a kill switch for controversial radio frequency identification tags before the inventory-tracking chips are shipped in products to retail shelves.

The Auto ID Center, which is helping to develop the radio frequency identification (RFID) specification, said last week that chips incorporating a kill switch are due this summer from manufacturers including Philips Semiconductor, Alien Technology and Matrics.

Philips already has prototypes available, and the chips and will be in full production by the end of the year, according to Dirk Morgenroth, marketing manager for smart labels at Philips. The tags will not be able to be reactivated once they’ve been disabled, Morgenroth said.

If the tags make it into retail products, consumers will be asked if they want to have identification features disabled when they leave a store.
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