While the folks who are freaked out about RFIDs seem to go a bit overboard on the privacy risks (often suggesting there are no benefits to the technology and it should be banned altogether), it doesn't look like various governments are doing anyone any favors in easing the concerns about potential privacy violations related to the technology. RFIDs can be quite useful and powerful technology -- once it's acknowledged that there are potential privacy risks involved with them. The real answer is to come up with better technology that an be used to counteract the potential privacy violations, while still allowing many of the benefits. If anything, the concerns being raised to government officials should make them pause and think about better ways to implement the technologies. Instead, they're plowing ahead with various trials, when they don't seem to have answers to the privacy questions. In the UK they're testing RFID license plates that broadcast out details. While many people already use RFIDs in their cars for fast toll payment systems, this is by choice, and the data is often made anonymous -- something that doesn't seem likely in this case. Meanwhile, the US government, which earlier delayed plans to use unencrypted RFIDs in passports, is now running a trial with such passports anyway, using crew members from United Airlines. These moves do nothing to show that anyone is actually thinking about the privacy issues, and leads to articles worrying about the technology rather than focusing on how it can be beneficial.
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