In the olden days, secret documents and important papers and envelopes were sealed with hot wax that had been embossed with the author's signature or signet ring. This seal not only authenticated the sender's mail, but if the wax had been broken in transit, the document could no longer be considered secure. The owner of the ring usually did not remove the ring allowing free access, but if the ring was removed to be used by another person, it was a statement of absolute trust and a means for recognizing the delegated authority.
The rule in force was that the letter or document was to be hand-delivered directly to the person intended and that once the seal was broken, the seal could not be reused. One could imagine someone reclaiming the remnants of a broken wax seal and constructing a matching signet much like creating a wax impression of a key. So, in the end, it was not really that secure.
Document security and authenticity is a major concern. Disinformation via phony documents is one of the main intelligence tools used today. How does the recipient know that the document he has in his hands was the one sent by the designer, the contractor, the lawyer, or any other person having the originating authority? How does a company know that the certifications of compliance are genuine, and not counterfeit? The answer is RFID tagging.
The RFID tag need not be visible, as it can be printed in between pressed pages that at first glance look like a single sheet of paper. If anyone tries to tamper with the tag, the document is destroyed. This hearkens back to the wax seal on secret documents, but this seal is made in such a way that no two are ever alike. Also, the tag can be encrypted and locked so that only authorized recipients can read them. RFID tags are not costly, and they provide document authentication for packages, contractual agreements, official schedules, or any other critical materials that require certification of genuine origin.
Counterfeiters do not just counterfeit products. They forge packaging, logo, labels, compliance certificate, shipping documents, transit, and customs documents. Covert RFID tagging may be the best answer to resolving this problem. If my package has the authorized tag data embedded in the shipping document, label, package contents, and other official documents, then I can be 99.99 percent sure that what I received what ordered. Now when the RFID cloud is up and running, I will be able to keep a historical archive of everything I ordered and received from all vendors that use the RFID technology.
I can foresee a day when I hold up my document to a RFID-enabled display that recognizes the presence of an RFID tag. In less than a second, the smart display will access the cloud and authenticate the document. It is just a matter of software, optics, and computer power. Why not? If the application becomes ubiquitous, then my mobile phone, laptop, and tablet will detect a spam document and filter it out before my email receives it.
I am talking about a personal, digital signet ring that will provide the authentication that any email I send has come from me and not from a source using my email address. The RFID tagging of documents has earned my seal of approval. Let's see if our next-gen laptops will include RFID readers and software.