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Logistics Firm Uses RFID, Sensors To Track Financial Data

Eagle Global Logistics can securely transport everything from one tape containing a backup of sensitive customer credit card data to two pallets of mortgage records.

Eagle Global Logistics has installed technology to secure sensitive financial customer data in transit on the request of a large U.S. bank, a company executive said Monday.

The Web-based application from ARGO Tracker Corp., which designs asset tracking platforms, collects data wirelessly through 802.15.4 ZigBee wireless protocol to continually monitor and track the location and status of shipments with global positioning systems (GPS) and satellites.

Banks are going to "great lengths" to secure customer data, said Tim Hindes, director of ground expedited services at Eagle Global Logistics. "We've taken a 24-foot truck that can hold 12,000 pounds on a 1,000 mile journey with a ten pound carton," he said. "This is a growing trend that healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies are also investigating."

The technology allows Eagle Global Logistics to securely transport everything from one tape backup of sensitive customer credit card data or two pallets of mortgage records.

The ARGO Tracker application uses a module in the truck that provides satellite communication, sending alerts to the call center when pre-determined thresholds are crossed. Attached to the module are sensors that monitor the truck's speed and location.

The tracking device also "acts as a hub or an edge router to collect other data and send it back to the data center," said Mike Hammons, chief executive officer at ARGO Tracker. "The module talks to all the tags and sends the information back over an encrypted connection."

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on the cargo doors, when opened, trigger a text message. "Any time the truck's speed is reduced to less than 10 miles per hour for less than a minute it sends an alarm to the dispatch center," Hindes said. "Our response time to any incident is less than 90 seconds."

Hindes declined to identify the bank that contracted the service through Eagle Global, but Beth Givens, director at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego, said sensitive data has been lost by Bank of America, CitiFinancial, City National Bank and LaSalle Bank.

"Transport companies are scrambling to make sure customers continue to use their services by securing shipments with RFID and other technologies," Givens said. "More companies, however, have abandoned the physical shipment of tapes in favor of transmitting encrypted data over a virtual private network."

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