February 16, 2004
The two faces of RFID

ElectricNews.net: The two faces of RFID

[...] Kevin Mahady, group IT manager with NTR, denies that Eazy Pass' RFID system is an open book to anybody who chooses to set up an RFID reader within yards of the West-Link toll bridge. Without access to NTR's computer system, the information gathered would be meaningless. "You could set up a reader anywhere you want and read the tags," he said. "But the customer's details are kept on our computer system, not on the chip."

Nevertheless, the proliferation of RFID tags throughout society could lead to the creation of what Lee Tien refers to as "the architecture for a surveillance society." Public anxieties regarding privacy have to be taken seriously [...]

If all your items are uniquely traceable - clothes, shoes, credit cards, etc - a malicious user won't need to look up the customer databases of the manufacturers or shops - it will suffice to track that "tags 1234 (your shoes), 2334 (your mobile) and 3445 (your credit card) pass here every day" to offer discounted coffee or worse, to cooperate with others to survey this group of tags' movement over time...

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Its enough to look at how customer data is being used as a commodity between companies in the US. Here in Norway we have laws that prohibits a lot of the same type of data-mining.

Another scary case is how Microsoft and many others use special cookie-sites to exchange cookie/user information between sites. I am fairly sure there are some interesting uses for cross-site-cookies and user tracking.

Posted by: Jarle on February 17, 2004 12:17 AM
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