Monday, November 28, 2005

RFID Good or Evil?

Passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). What to hell is this? Well it's simply a high tech means of storing and remotely retrieving information. They are small wireless devices that emit unique id numbers when interrogated by RFID readers or sensors. I use one of these devices several times a day to get into work and into various facilities at work. Somewhere, a computer records who, when and where every time the device is used. Great for security!

These devices can be very small (.4mm x .4mm). They can also be as thin as a piece of paper. This is great for the manufacturing, transportation and retail industries. Millions of items can be tracked from manufacturing to store shelves (and to your home or anywhere else).

RFID will be a life saving technology in hospitals and medicine. It would be awesome to require some devices to be labeled with them (handguns? ammunition? explosives?). But what about drivers licenses, passports, SS cards etc? Do you use EazyPass? RFID is used there.

I'm certainly not a Libertarian or a conspiracy nut. But these devices are becoming cheaper and are being used more and more. There is a very high potential for these devices to be misused. Without good security RFID tags create 'privacy pollution' by potentially exposing personal information to snoops.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has comments on this techology

1 comment:

B-Wizz said...

I am a Libertarian, and the whole idea scares me. Yes, I see the rationale for usefulness behind some things. But I really don't like to think of anyone knowing where I bought my potatoe chips, where I have my gun stored, or exactly where on earth I may be at any given moment.

That said, my dog is chipped, and I would consider getting non-permanent chips (they have these bracelets...) for the kids in case someone ever carted one of them off.