RFID: Taking Away Your Privacy One Product at a Time
September 29, 2003 1:20 PM Subscribe
We've discussed it before, but RFID, that fun-loving little radio transmitter that can be attached to everything from that stereo system to a carton of milk, is plowing ahead faster than you can say "unregulated." Earlier this year, Wal-Mart issued a mandate that required its top 100 suppliers to include RFIDs on their merchandise by 2005, bringing new meaning to the phrase "panties in a bunch." (Incidentally, Wal-Mart was also the benign corporation that ushered in bar codes for mass consumption in the late 70s and early 80s.) With no regulations on the table, the New York Times reports that the Defense Department plans to issue a statement requiring all suppliers to use RFID. Hitachi has even offered to put it in your currency. Imagine a store a few years from now that can track all of the objects in your cart, and that, thanks to a microscopic RFID stuck to your shoe when you slide through the doors, can determine how many seconds you or your children react to a display. Imagine a world that tracks exactly where each one of your dollar bills go. (So much for the anonymity of johns and porn enthusiasts.) Is this the kind of world we want to abdicate to large retail corporations? Is this the kind of information that governments or private institutions are entitled to know? Discuss.
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