If you don’t know much about Radio Frequency ID (RFID), it’s time to get up to speed. This is (or will be) a hot topic.  This Wiki article has pictures and more on RFID if you need to get caught up. I’ve also blogged a couple of times on this issue.

There is activity going on here driven by commercial and government interests.  Companies like WalMart want RFID tags on pallets to track inventory and local governments use them for things like toll-passes. 

Well that brings to mind a kind of obvious privacy issue.

Q: Where were you on the night of the 15th?

A: I was at my friend’s house playing cards.

Q: Oh really… Then why is that you went on this toll-road at 9:12 pm using your smart pass?

So there’s certainly discussion about the potential privacy implications.  I forwarded a blog article by Ted Richardson about RFID privacy issues to a friend of mine who is an executive with an RFID company.  But his response was more pragmatic: “Nonsense….It’s hard enough to get them to work consistently at any distance!”

Today, the BBC had an article about RFID. 

Changes brought about by the internet will be dwarfed by those prompted by the networking of everyday objects, says a report by a UN body. 

…Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), sensors, robotics and nanotechnology will make processing power increasingly available in smaller and smaller packages so that networked computing dissolves into the fabric of things around us.

The result could mean remote controls embedded in clothing, cars that alert their driver when they have developed a fault, managers who check on workers through the RFID devices embedded in their phones, and bags that remind their owners that they have forgotten something.

BBC link here via LifeHacker.

What do you think about RFID privacy implications?  A chimera or a real problem?

Alex Eckelberry


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