Executive Briefings

Risk, Security Is Downside to RFID

The retail, security, transportation, manufacturing and shipping industries are all testing or starting to implement sophisticated RFID applications. But the RFID revolution is not without a downside: the technology's growth raises important social issues, and as RFID systems proliferate, we will be forced to address new problems related to privacy, law and ethics. Controversy has already erupted: in mid-2003 two major retailers--Wal-Mart in the U.S. and the international clothing maker Benetton--canceled large-scale tests of in-store RFID-centered inventory control systems apparently partly as a response to public reactions that raised the specter of wholesale monitoring of citizens through tags embedded in consumer products.
Source: Scientific American, http://http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=rfid-key-automats-everything

The retail, security, transportation, manufacturing and shipping industries are all testing or starting to implement sophisticated RFID applications. But the RFID revolution is not without a downside: the technology's growth raises important social issues, and as RFID systems proliferate, we will be forced to address new problems related to privacy, law and ethics. Controversy has already erupted: in mid-2003 two major retailers--Wal-Mart in the U.S. and the international clothing maker Benetton--canceled large-scale tests of in-store RFID-centered inventory control systems apparently partly as a response to public reactions that raised the specter of wholesale monitoring of citizens through tags embedded in consumer products.
Source: Scientific American, http://http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=rfid-key-automats-everything