Thursday, March 23, 2006

RFID - Surrendering my Privacy to Information Collectors

Having attended the launch of the RFID event at the MCMC, I was left bewirlded as to what benefit these new fangled technology is going to bring the average Joe Consumer. As I understood, RFID is nothing new and has been used by the US Military for quite sometime to track their assets (soldiers, guns etc).

I understand the need to promote the use of such technology but I am of the opinion that you need to present both side of the case. The seminar started well, but in the end went into a product marketing mode, which I don't really appreciate. A lot of the guest and audience still came out not able to digest nor comprehend the benefit that can be capitalize from this technology since the real benefit or value either of cost benefit or otherwise could not/have not been presented.

What I do see the benefit of this technology is the ability to use the tag (throw away or reusable) to track concurrently items and assets using RF antenna upto 100 m in radial distance. The immediate benefit highlighted is the ability for shoppers to go out of Superstore (such as Wall Mart) with the bill and reciept immediately presented at check out.

My paranoid take on this is that, it is another technology (if wrongly used) can be used to track item, people and asset and thus invade consumers privacy. There could be privacy issues in the data mining of the information especially for cultures with lacksadasy attitude to managing information. Imagine these tags are embedded in under garment of man and woman. Since the tag is unique, one can identify what brand, type and flavour that the man/woman is using and how many times it is being used in a week.

Someone might come up to U and ask, why are U wearing NXXX Boxer shorts three times a week only??



Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you, but unfortunately, most people think that we are paranoid.

The Editor said...

Looks like RFID is here to stay as I was informed that the Chip price is spiralling down. Imagine that we would have guys with readers going around and scanning (ala war driving) to see what under garments we use, how much money do we have in our wallets (if RFID tag is embedded in paper money), or which route do I normally use (with ITIS and JPJ tagging the vehicle licencing)