05-28-2006, 04:48 PM
I don't know if this has been discussed around here, and I'm sure you've all seen the commercials. You're able to simply swipe your credit card at places, it scans it, and you're done. It's supposed to speed things up, you don't have to even give the cashier your card.
My question is this: Does the "old way" of purchasing things with your credit card really take that long? Is it worth the risk to cut down those few seconds?
The first thing I thought about was, what happens if you lose your card? I mean, no ID, no signature, no pin number, nothing. Somebody could just swipe away with it. I don't know what kind of stores this thing is in, perhaps it's just low cost places like McDonalds.
Does anybody use this thing? I have Visa, so I guess it really doesn't affect me... But still, this thing seems so dangerous to have if you lose it.
05-28-2006, 06:40 PM
Perspective: RFID tags: Big Brother in small packages
The generic name for this technology is RFID, which stands for radio frequency identification. RFID tags are miniscule microchips, which already have shrunk to half the size of a grain of sand. They listen for a radio query and respond by transmitting their unique ID code. Most RFID tags have no batteries: They use the power from the initial radio signal to transmit their response.
It becomes unnervingly easy to imagine a scenario where everything you buy that's more expensive than a Snickers will sport RFID tags, which typically include a 64-bit unique identifier yielding about 18 thousand trillion possible values. KSW-Microtec, a German company, has invented washable RFID tags designed to be sewn into clothing. And according to EE Times, the European central bank is considering embedding RFID tags into banknotes by 2005.
That raises the disquieting possibility of being tracked though our personal possessions. Imagine: The Gap links your sweater's RFID tag with the credit card you used to buy it and recognizes you by name when you return. Grocery stores flash ads on wall-sized screens based on your spending patterns, just like in "Minority Report." Police gain a trendy method of constant, cradle-to-grave surveillance.
You can imagine nightmare legal scenarios that don't involve the cops. Future divorce cases could involve one party seeking a subpoena for RFID logs--to prove that a spouse was in a certain location at a certain time. Future burglars could canvass alleys with RFID detectors, looking for RFID tags on discarded packaging that indicates expensive electronic gear is nearby. In all of these scenarios, the ability to remain anonymous is eroded.
05-28-2006, 06:45 PM
RFID systems have gained popularity, and notoriety, in recent years. A driving force behind the rapid development of RFID technology has been the rise of pervasive commerce, sometimes dubbed the quiet revolution. Pervasive commerce uses technologies such as tracking devices and smart labels embedded with transmitting sensors and intelligent readers to convey information about key areas where consumers live and work to data processing systems. To gather this data, retailers can choose from a range of options.
RFID systems may be roughly grouped into four categories:
EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) systems: Generally used in retail stores to sense the presence or absence of an item. Products are tagged and large antenna readers are placed at each exit of the store to detect unauthorized removal of the item.
Portable Data Capture systems: Characterized by the use of portable RFID readers, which enables this system to be used in variable settings.
Networked systems: Characterized by fixed position readers which are connected directly to a centralized information management system, while transponders are positioned on people or moveable items.
Positioning systems: Used for automated location identification of tagged items or vehicles.
These RFID systems enable business owners to have real-time access to inventory information, as well as a broader, clearer picture of consumers' buying habits. RFID technology also enables retailers and corporations to peek into the lives of consumers in ways that were, until recently, off limits.
Products embedded with RFID tags can continuously transmit information ranging from an electronic product code (EPC) identifier, to information about the item itself, such as consumption status or product freshness. Data processing systems read and compile this information, and can even link the product information with a specific consumer.
This composite information is vastly superior—and more invasive—than any data that could be obtained from scanning bar codes, or even loyalty cards. Frequent shopper cards link consumers to their purchases, but this limited information gives retailers only a narrow view of a consumers' in-store purchasing trends. In contrast, RFID systems enable tagged objects to speak to electronic readers over the course of a product's lifetime—from production to disposal—providing retailers with an unblinking, voyeuristic view of consumer attitudes and purchase behavior.
Elementary school nixes electronic IDs, by Alorie Gilbert, CNET News, Feb. 17, 2005.
Flap Forces Halt to Student-Tracking Experiment, by Eric Bailey, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 17, 2005.
Brittan ID program dropped, by Kymm Mann, Appeal-Democrat, Feb. 16, 2005.
Parents ignore mobile phone health issues, Reuters, Feb. 14, 2005.
School RFID Plan Gets an F, by Kim Zetter, Wired, Feb. 10, 2005.
In Texas, 28,000 students test e-tagging system , by Matt Richtel, The New York Times, Nov. 17, 2004.
Tiny Antennas to Keep Tabs on U.S. Drugs, by Gardiner Harris, New York Times, Nov. 15, 2004.
Schools test IC tags to track students, by Kanko Ida, The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 4,2004.
Legoland RFID Tracks Lost Kids, Collects Data, by Kelly Shermach, CRM Buyer, Oct. 28, 2004.
Schools in Japan turn to high-tech tags for security, by Kenji Hall, CNEWS Canada, Oct. 9, 2004.
How RFID Will Help Mommy Find Johnny, by Laurie Sullivan, InformationWeek, Sept. 15, 2004.
How we are becoming a micro-chipped population, by Mika Belle, Boise Weekly, Aug. 11, 2004.
Chip allows parents to track children, by Sam Diaz, Knight Ridder News Service, Aug. 7, 2004.
Japanese children to be RFID'd, National Business Review, July 8, 2004.
RFID chips on kids makes Legoland safer, by Will Sturgeon, Silicon Reports, June 24, 2004.
Privacy and AutoID, RFID News, May 2004.
Privacy protection is not a luxury, RFID industry told, by Jo Best, Silicon.com, May 11, 2004.
Wal-Mart turns on radio tags, by Matt Hines, ZDNET.com, April 30, 2004.
RFID deadline hits a wall, study says, by Matt Hines, CNET News.com, March 31, 2004.
Tracking tags may get congressional scrutiny, by Alorie Gilbert, CNET News.com, March 24, 2004.
RFID goes to war, by Alorie Gilbert, CNET News.com, March 22, 2004.
RFID Revolution: Are we close?, by Matt Hines, ZDNET.com, March 3, 2004.
California lawmaker introduces RFID bill, by Alorie Gilbert, CNET News.com, Feb. 24, 2004.
'Smart shelf' test triggers fresh criticisms, by Alorie Gilbert, CNET News.com, Nov. 14, 2003.
Big brother or the mark of the beast?, by Becky Blanton, Sierra Times.com, Oct. 28, 2003.
Three R's: Reading, Writing, RFID, by Julia Scheeres, Wired, Oct. 24, 2003.
RFID Ripples Through Software Industry, by Ephraim Schwartz, InfoWorld, Sept. 26, 2003.
Microsoft to Develop Software for Radio Tags, Reuters, June 10, 2003.
Retail future: painless checkout, knowing scanners, by Paul Hoskins, Forbes, May 14, 2003.
Sony, Philips to Test RFID Platform, RFID Journal, May 8, 2003.
Benetton takes stock of chip plan, by Winston Chai and Richard Shim, CNET News, April 7, 2003.
Glowing Beads Make Tiny Bar Codes, Technology Research News, April 3, 2003.
Wal-Mart to remove ID tags, by Joanna Glasner, Wired News, March 26, 2003.
A Radio Chip in Every Consumer Product, by Claudia H. Deutsch and Barnaby J. Feder, NY Times, Feb. 25, 2003.
Opposition to RFID Tracking Grows, RFID Journal, Jan. 20, 2003.
Michelin Embeds RFID Tags in Tires, RFID Journal, Jan. 17, 2003.
RFID tags: Big Brother in small packages, by Declan McCullagh, CNET News, Jan. 13, 2003.
Major retailers to test "smart shelves," by Alorie Gilbert, CNET News, Jan. 8, 2003.
Gillette Confirms Purchase of EPC Tags, RFID Journal, Jan. 6, 2003.
Radio Frequency ID: A New Era for Marketers?, by John Stermer, Consumer Insight, Winter 2001.
05-28-2006, 06:54 PM
I encourage everyone to read the RFID article in the June 2006 issue of Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports Finds Personal Privacy Concerns in Planned Uses of RFID Tags
While the RFID business steams along, several matters remain unaddressed. Several data-security experts recently demonstrated that when information is communicated wirelessly between RFID devices and readers, for example, it’s possible to eavesdrop electronically and to pluck sensitive information out of thin air. Some argue that RFID technology could give the government a ready-made surveillance system as scanners become ubiquitous.
Federal agencies and local law-enforcement agencies already negotiate contracts with private data collectors to obtain personal information they might otherwise be legally prohibited from collecting. Commercial data brokers such as ChoicePoint, Lexis-Nexis, and Acxiom compile computerized dossiers that in one click reveal to government agencies, potential employers, loan officers, or private investigators information that may include your home address, phone number, Social Security number, photograph, legal transgressions, details about divorces, and financial records, among other personal data.
The idea that a tiny radio chip might be traveling in their shirts or shorts doesn’t sit well with Americans. The public unease has put the RFID industry on the defensive and its leaders proclaim the importance of addressing the consumer’s privacy concerns. But when Consumer Reports asked to discuss the subject with executives of one company, attempts were stonewalled by public relations representatives.
“It’s essential to develop the proper framework to protect consumers from the unprecedented privacy and identity theft risks that come with RFID,” said Andrea Rock, senior editor at Consumer Reports.