[LINK] Airport to tag passengers

Geoffrey Ramadan gramadan at umd.com.au
Sun Oct 15 22:12:05 AEST 2006

Jan Whitaker wrote:
> At 01:23 PM 13/10/2006, Geoffrey Ramadan wrote:
>> I would also doubt if most "Technologist" have this level of 
>> expertise or understanding about privacy.
> see comment below
>>> [Yes, thanks Geoffrey, the follow-on email contains valuable info, 
>>> some of which may find its way onto this page:
>>> http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/DV/PrivCorp-0609.html
>> Education and awareness is a good place to start.
>> I will also cross link with our page:
>> http://www.umd.com.au/rfid/links_rfid_privacy.html
>> I would suggest to privacy advocates that they have a role to play in 
>> educating Users and Technologis about privacy issues, and not simply 
>> "demonise" us all the time because we may ignorant or uninformed.
> <rant>
> Could the reaction to concerns and criticisms being interpreted as 
> 'demonsing' be a sign that there are things to feel not so good about? 
The objection was to the tone of the criticism, which implied it was 
deliberate act.... i.e to think up ways of taking aways peoples privacy.

> If Technologis(t)(s?) aren't aware of the privacy implications of what 
> they're doing by now, there is no hope. 
We are generally aware of privacy concerns, but the issue is where you 
draw the line and how far you take it. What you think is an invasion of 
privacy may not be mine.

It quite clear that there are many views on privacy.

For example, I don't quite see where the privacy concerns are with the 
proposed Airport RFID tag in this thread. (ignoring the fact that I 
don't necessarily agree with it). It is a "closed" system, and on the 
surface appears to conform to the 4 basic RFID privacy resolutions (from 
the world's data protection and privacy commission)
1) data not linked to personal information
2) person fully informed
3) only use data for what it was intended for
4) able to delete or disable RFID tag

On the other side, we were requested to establish a loyalty type system 
in pubs using RFID and keeping track of alcohol consumed by Uni 
students, and establish a basis for rewards (based on maximum 
consumption). We advised against this based on both moral and privacy 
grounds. In fact we declined to be associated with such a project based 
on our own moral objection.

> It hasn't been a hidden issue. And it's a bit naive or a state of 
> denial if those who are pushing these technologies without 
> consideration of the social implications of what they are doing is not 
> going to be challenged by someone who does care about these developments.
I agree it has not been a hidden issues, there has been regular news 
articles and campaigns based on privacy.

The point I was trying to make was it should not only just be the 
technologist, but also the users, who also need to consider such issues.

Again in this Airport tag example, the Technologist, the Airport 
Authorities, Consultants, Enforcement Agencies and most likely the 
Government would have been all been involved in this project. Each 
should have considered any privacy issues. They most likely did and 
found no objection!

> I was speaking with someone about the airport implementation last 
> night (technologists and designers and socially aware people) and they 
> were appalled at this one. 
What exactly was he appalled with?

> They also advised that the assurances in the industry about the 
> effectiveness of 'chip disablers' to be used at point of sale are 
> questionable. How will the customer know that it has really been 
> disabled? That is the level of mistrust that is even existing in the 
> minds of those who work with these devices! How is the public supposed 
> to have any level of trust? 
This is another issue, but the there is a simple solution if this is the 
concern. It is no different to what retail do in barcoding, install 
barcode price checking scanners so Consumers can check product 
information and pricing. In this case, install RFID scanners to do this, 
consumers can check "before" and "after" if they so wish.

> The RFID industry should thank their lucky stars that the public 
> hasn't started asking the tough questions yet. But they well. You have 
> a window of opportunity to get your act together and take these 
> matters into consideration and not attack those who are thinking about 
> them and FREELY feeding the information back. At least be gracious 
> enough to accept the criticism as opportunities to avoid problems down 
> the track.
The industry is already addressing privacy issues and will no doubt 
continue to do so. My first RFID presentation was on "RFID Privacy 
Matters" in 2004. There are also various industry recommendations etc.

There are two quotes which highlight the problem as I see it.

“(privacy).. Is not one of either using RFID or respecting customer 
privacy. It’s a question of striking the right balance between achieving 
business goals and respecting customer privacy rights” - Elliot Maxwell 
chairman EPCglobal’s International Policy Advisory Council.

i.e. finding the balance is a problem.

“In a society based on anarchy, it is possible to imagine anything. But 
we live in a civilised society, in which both common sense and the rule 
of law prevail.” - Interview from Professor Peter Cole April 8 2004. 
(RFID Physicists)

i.e. dealing with missinformation and scaremongering

My interest in this forum is to deal with both (learn from one and 
inform the other).

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

> </rant>
> Jan <tempted to make a pun about 'chips on shoulders'>
> Jan Whitaker
> JLWhitaker Associates, Melbourne Victoria
> jwhit at janwhitaker.com
> business: http://www.janwhitaker.com
> personal: http://www.janwhitaker.com/personal/
> commentary: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
> 'Seed planting is often the most important step. Without the seed, 
> there is no plant.' - JW, April 2005
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