RFID Debates Continues

Aug 28, 2003

By George Anderson

Mark Baard’s Wired Web site column on product tests that combine radio
frequency identification (RFID) technology with sensors that determine if a
perishable item has expired or has been contaminated with a biological or chemical
substance reads like a conspiracy theorist’s novel.

Mr. Baard claims that retailers and suppliers, stung by negative reaction to
RFID by consumer privacy groups, had added the sensors so they can pass it off
“as an essential terrorism-fighting tool.”

The industry is seeking to have this “RFID Plus” technology included as a qualified
antiterrorism technology under The Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective
Technologies (“Safety”) Act of 2002.

Supporters of the technology claim that it will help protect the food supply
and aid in product recalls.

Others disagree. “The retailers used the same argument — faster recalls —
as a justification for customer loyalty cards,” said Liz McIntyre, a spokeswoman
for the anti-RFID privacy group CASPIAN. “But we know of no product recalls
that have ever been made with customer loyalty cards.”

Moderator’s Comment: Why should RFID technology be
adopted… or not?

We’d be the first to admit that being paranoid does not
mean you’re not being followed. The well-intentioned folks who fear RFID abuses
have valid concerns. We do not happen to share them.

Anderson – Moderator

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