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Counting or estimating the number of tags is crucial for RFID system. Researchers have proposed several fast cardinality estimation schemes to estimate the quantity of a batch of tags within a short time frame. Existing estimation schemes scarcely consider the privacy issue. Without effective protection, the adversary can utilize the responding signals to estimate the number of tags as accurate as the valid reader. To address this issue, we propose a novel privacy-preserving estimation scheme, termed as MEAS, which provides an active RF countermeasure against the estimation from invalid readers. MEAS comprises of two components, an Estimation Interference Device (EID) and two well-designed Interference Blanking Estimators (IBE). EID is deployed with the tags to actively generate interfering signals, which introduce sufficiently large estimation errors to invalid or malicious readers. Using a secret interference factor shared with EID, a valid reader can perform accurate estimation via two IBEs. Our theoretical analysis and simulation results show the effectiveness of MEAS. Meanwhile, MEAS can also maintain a high estimation accuracy using IBEs.
Date of Conference: 8-10 Dec. 2010