Barker’s gift … funds chip research?

14 January 2009

The Daily Progress has an rather odd article juxtaposing our RFID research with a donation from Bob Barker (“Price is Right” host) to the law school to fund animal rights research: Barker’s gift to found animal law program; Science Foundation funds chip research. Perhaps we can combine projects to work on preserving pet privacy when implanting RFID tags in animals.

“Animal law is a growing area that is in much discussion,” Riley said. “It is a good way even for a student who has no interest in practicing animal law to enlarge their interest and to understand different ways the law works.”

A recent of example is Leona Helmsley’s will, Riley said.

When the hotelier, dubbed the “queen of mean,” died at 87 in August 2007, she spurred a legal debate by leaving behind a $12 million trust for the care of her dog.

Riley said a group of students at UVa have shown interest in animal law.

Elsewhere at UVa, the National Science Foundation’s grant will enable a team of engineers to create a more secure design for RFID chips, which are commonly found in remote car-locking systems and touchless debit cards.

These tiny chips, which send information over short distances using weak radio waves, are an increasingly popular way to monitor potentially sensitive information.

UVa researchers have been working to create a stronger encryption scheme that would keep information on RFID chips secure while keeping costs low.

[Added: 14 Jan] NetworkWorld has also picked up this story: NSF gives University of Virginia researchers a million good reasons to improve RFID security, privacy, by Alpha Doggs, NetworkWorld, 14 Jan 2009.