Beyond the bar code: Tags on retail products will send radio signals to their manufacturers, collecting information about consumer habits -- and raising privacy concerns. Radio tag technology is already here, used in fields such in livestock, freight-train cargo and highway tolls. The only barrier to widespread use is consumer products is price. When they can be made for a penny, expect to see them everywhere. From the March issue of MIT Technology Review.
It's uncertain how important online privacy is to President-elect George W. Bush. He indicated a general support for online privacy laws during the presidential campaign without indicating whether he leaned more toward industry self-regulation, technological solutions, legislative solutions, or some combination. A working document drafted by the Bush transition team on "technology proposals" echoes the same undefined support for online privacy. One analyst thinks his transition-appointments indicate a reference for industry self-regulation.