[LINK] Re: RFID in Govt, and in People

Geoffrey Ramadan gramadan at umd.com.au
Thu Oct 5 00:18:58 AEST 2006

Can someone please explain what the "additional" privacy issues are that 
relate to RFID in library applications. i.e. what are the additional 
privacy concerns that are not already covered with in a library system?

As far as I am aware, the RFID label on a book is simply a book ID 
number. There is no personal information attached to it, and is simply 
replacing the existing barcode that is used.

The key point I got from the URL is:

"It can be extremely difficult for Australian libraries to accurately 
gauge the risks to the privacy of their borrowers in the context of 
rhetoric which at times borders on the hysterical and is often misinformed."

Geoffrey Ramadan B.E.(Elec)
Chairman, Automatic Data Capture Association (www.adca.com.au)
Managing Director, Unique Micro Design (www.umd.com.au)

Roger Clarke wrote:
> Here's a posting on the libraries aspect of RFID, forwarded from the 
> privacy-list with the poster's permission:
>> From: "Yoxall, Helen" <HelenY at PHM.GOV.AU>
>> To: <privacy at lists.efa.org.au>
>> Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 11:59:26 +1000
>> List-Subscribe: http://lists.efa.org.au/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/privacy
>> I don't know if this is of interest but some government-funded
>> libraries, museums and galleries are using RFID (eg. Commonwealth
>> Parliamentary Library) or considering it (eg. National Gallery of
>> Australia).  I don't know if these kind of cultural institutions would
>> be amongst the agencies interviewed.  For them, RFID is a means of
>> collection management (equivalent, say, to stock control in a
>> warehouse), but there are, of course, privacy implications for library
>> borrowers.
>> This year's ALIA (Australian Libraries and Information Association)
>> conference had a session on RFID and privacy.
>> http://conferences.alia.org.au/alia2006/programme_programme.html#RFID
>> Last year's ALIA conference had a paper re introduction of RFID into the
>> Parliamentary Library which includes brief reference to members' concern
>> for their own privacy.
>> http://conferences.alia.org.au/online2005/papers/a11.pdf#search=%22RFID%20%22parliamentary%20library%22%22 
>> Standards Australia is developing an RFID data model for Australian
>> libraries, which promises to address privacy.
>> http://www.standards.org.au/downloads/enews/enews-feburary-2006.pdf#search=%22RFID%20%22powerhouse%20museum%22%20site%3A.au%22 
>> Helen Yoxall
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: privacy-bounces at lists.efa.org.au
>> [mailto:privacy-bounces at lists.efa.org.au] On Behalf Of Roger Clarke
>> Sent: Tuesday, 3 October 2006 10:10 AM
>> To: privacy at lists.efa.org.au
>> Subject: RFID in Govt, and in People
>> SMH/Age Next Section
>> 3 October 2006
>> Not so smart
>> Almost a third of Australian government agencies have set aside money
>> for RFID-related projects, despite knowing little about the technology,
>> a new survey has found.
>> RFID is the short-range wireless technology used in 'contactless'
>> smartcards and e-passports.
>> Consultants Booz Allen Hamilton interviewed people in 28 Canberra-based
>> government departments.  Fewer than 10% had a good understanding of RFID
>> standards, although money had been allocated for RFID projects.
>> Three-quarters of respondents plan to investigate or use RFID within the
>> next three years.
>> [The local Booz site, which uses the suitably sceptical domain-name
>> 'bah', doesn't seem to provide any information on the matter:
>> http://www.bah.com.au/Whats_New/press_releases.htm
>> [If anyone has any knowledge about what BAH thinks the 21 departments
>> think they plan on doing with RFID, a posting to the list, or an
>> off-list note to me, would be appreciated.  There are a few potential
>> applications, e.g. in Defence Materiel;  but most agencies don't
>> actually do the kinds of physical things any more that RFID is
>> potentially useful for]
>> ________________________________________________________________________
>> __
>> In addition, the part of the Oz IT Section that operates purely as a
>> relay for Media Releases (IT Business) has a breathless piece on RFID
>> today.
>> Fast track for radio tags
>> Ben Woodhead
>> Australian IT Section
>> OCTOBER 03, 2006
>> http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,20500547%5E15302%5E%5Enb
>> v%5E,00.html
>> AUSTRALIAN businesses are attaching radio frequency identification tags
>> to sheep, trains, heavy mining equipment and nurses as they take
>> advantage of the technology's ability to track assets and people.
>> ...
>> [The report is completely lacking in scepticism.  That the reporter is
>> prepared to have his name on it is a testament to how little
>> self-respect many journos have these days.  Although I'd better allow
>> for the possibility that 'Woodhead' is a pseudonym, intended to convey
>> that the reporter thinks the same about this kind of rubbish as the rest
>> of us do.
>> [Especially noticeable is the equivalent treatment of people and things.
>> There's no distinction at all drawn between tracking and controlling
>> gamblers, nurses and prisoners and doing the same thing to sheep,
>> cattle, and mining and hospital equipment]

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