Consumer Group Unveils Legislation Against RFID Chips

from the right-to-know dept

With all the recent hype about big-name companies embracing RFID chips, the discussion about privacy implications of widespread RFID has been muted. So, I guess it’s no surprise that the proposal to create a “RFID Right to Know Act” hasn’t gotten much attention. No doubt about it – RFID chips are incredibly useful, and I hope they get adopted quickly. However, there are some issues associated with them – and ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. I would have no problem at all with the chips if people can get access to them and turn them off (or somehow reset them). Then the privacy implications go away and people get to start using them in useful ways (wouldn’t it be nice to have an automated home inventory system – complete with location information?). So, the question is, do we need laws to make this come true, or is it something the market can take care of?

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Comments on “Consumer Group Unveils Legislation Against RFID Chips”

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Bob Dole says:

No Subject Given

RFID home inventory? That’ll be real popular among thieves who won’t have to randomly ransack your house anymore, which is a real time saver.

Then again, with a house full of RFID chips hacked to send “chia pet” as their inventory information, your house would never be broken into. 🙂

munich says:

They need more info

Passive RFID, which would be used in mass retailing, is good to a few feet. The active RFID which can reach several meters is way too expensive to replace bar codes at Walmart. These luddites need to understand that a passive RFID reader would have to be as close as someone standing next to you – who is already taking away your “privacy”.

Bob Dole says:

No Subject Given

It’s not a matter of being a Luddite. It’s a matter of not supporting dumb, big brother technologies just because they’re new. Show me the killer app for it. Otherwise, I gotta believe the stores will only use it to know when you walk in wearing a Brand X shirt so that they’ll be able to sell marketing info about your purchasing habits to Brand Y.

Crockett Ellis, Jr. says:

Comment on RFID Tags

The RFID tags can be most useful. But: I do have a problem regarding misuse. Last year
there was a note of a family (I believe in Florida) that had such inserted into each person partly
due to the oldest family member being prone to getting lost. If such tags are required, then
any political thought that differs from the ‘norm’ becomes life threatening. Also last year was
the movie: “Minority Report” which envisioned a society with eye-scanning technology that
could identify anyone instantly. Currently that is difficult without links of optical bandwidth, but
such might eventually exist. The statement in another comment was that to read an RFID tag,
you had to be rather close. There exist two technologies that could put ‘close’ rather far away.
The first is RAMP (Raytheon Airborne Microwave Platform) which was a 1960s attempt to have
a microwave powered helicopter loft an RADAR to 100,000 feet. The other is the common
satellite dish with its low noise amplifier. With RAMP to power the RFID and an LNA to receive
the return ‘close’ can be far.

munich (user link) says:


RFID = Radio Frequency Identification

They are being proposed to replace bar codes in retail establishments. Instead of a barcode being printed on that box of Cheerios, it would have this little chip, probably embedded in the card board.

An RFID reader sends out a pulse, which powers the RFID device, which then sends out any information programmed into it. In this case – Cheerios, $6.00. In this case (passive RFID), the reader would need to be less than three feet from the RFID chip.

The idea is that for inventory, instead of the stock person sitting there and scanning every box, he would stand in front of the Cheerios section and wave a wand, which would then tell him there were three dozen boxes there.

Again at check out, instead of the person physcially removing the item from the cart, finding the bar code, and then scanning it, you would pass by some wand that would ring up your total.

Just thing of these things as electronic bar codes.

These two examples save the retailers money (less time for stock tracking and ring-up, using less labor, etc.). So it is a real value – not technoogy for technology sake.

The issue with the protesters is that some stock boy will come into your home, get a three feet from the Cheerios and then with RFID technology be able to tell you have…Cheerios!

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