[LINK] Airport to tag passengers

Geoffrey Ramadan gramadan at umd.com.au
Sat Oct 21 12:07:26 AEST 2006

Jan Whitaker wrote:
>>>>>> "œIn 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)
>>>>> This is an apparently meaningless truism. You may to be using it to
>>>>> imply that NOT accepting a "balance" between business interests and
>>>>> privacy rights would be tantamount to anarchy. If not, what the 
>>>>> heck DO
>>>>> you mean?
>>>> What he means is:
>>>> In the normal mode of operation of extreme privacy advocates is to 
>>>> use miss-information about the capability of technologies, and to 
>>>> come up with extreme examples of how privacy can be invaded, which 
>>>> would only be plausible in a world based on anarchy.
> (bcc: to Professor Cole)
> I'm on a panel with Professor Cole and asked him about this statement. 
> He graciously sent me the full transcript of the source of the quote, 
> which was an ABC Background Briefing interview on the basics of RFID, 
> very short and to the point. Note that it was in 2004. I believe that 
> Geoff has been a bit loose with the meaning of the statement as it 
> appears in the section where concerns about RFID are raised as based 
> on an Ontario Privacy Commission Report, hardly 'extreme privacy 
> advocates', but public servants tasked with analysing implications of 
> social change that affect the area of privacy and enforcing them. 
> Professor Cole states a few times in the interview that the use of 
> regulation and the rule of law are important to make the new 
> approaches acceptable to the public.
I have no issue with this and understand that there are real privacy 
concerns ....the statement "But we live in a civilised society, in which 
both common sense and the rule of law prevail." from Professor Coles 
statements covers this point.

> He bases his positive acceptance of RFID on an assumption:
> "But they all have a common feature that no one who does not want one 
> will be given an RFID tag. "
> I think that is a pretty simple concept - choice to 'participate'. 
> However, the arguments that have appeared on link recently have not 
> put that as a basic tenet at all, particularly when it comes to 
> balance. It does come out at times, particularly with regard to 
> 'killing' or removing the chips. BUT as we've also discussed, things 
> work differently in different domains. Some RFID applications are 
> non-negotiable or the transaction/purpose/benefit isn't possible 
> (tollways, transport cards, embedding in medical devices). So IMO, 
> there is a strong need to consider not just the retail applications of 
> RFID as is happening in the EPC and GS1 codes, but to widen the 
> regulation/code discussion to either more domains where choice is not 
> possible, or to develop a generic framework of regulation (law?) to 
> deal with these new things like tagging passengers.
> Another point in Professor Cole's interview at the time in 2004 is 
> that using RFID for tracking wasn't high on the agenda. Times have 
> changed. The prisoner example, the school children example, others? 
> have shown that tracking/surveillance is exactly possible and desired 
> by some groups. Even train ticketing that is coming to Melbourne will 
> have a tracking capability because the cards I don't think will be 
> anonymous because of the linkage to some type of bank account.
On this point I don't believe this to be the case. The ticket has a 
payment token. You load the token from your bank account. No ID is 
transfered. It is just like cash... so don't loose it.

> And certainly those who have special discounts like students or 
> elderly or on health cards will lose their anonymity of travel through 
> this new system because of the eligibility elements.
> These new developments provide a strong reason for establishing a 
> better regulatory framework at the same time these applications are 
> being deployed if they can't be done in advance. If the developers of 
> the systems want to avoid the anarchy and assume it is only in anarchy 
> that dangers lurk, then they should be advancing the need for properly 
> considered regulation and stop being defensive when those of us who do 
> think about these things want to have them. The argument of 'cost to 
> business' can't hold the trump card. Business and the technology 
> companies can NOT have it both ways.
I just wanted to make the point that *some* privacy advocates take an 
extreme view, which I still think is the point the Professor Cole was 
trying to make ... "In a society based on anarchy, it is possible to 
imagine anything."...

Moving forward, I understand privacy is an issue, and agree that we as 
an industry need to be proactive and address it.

I get it.

This forum has been very useful to me in shaping my views and coming to 
some understanding of privacy concerns.

You will notice that I have been taking up issues and also trying to ask 
very specific questions about privacy, for example in asking about the 
legal basis of some of the issues that have arisen etc, to help try and 
get some understanding.... not all of which I don't think have been 
answered satisfactory

Furthermore, I recently raised my concerns with our Association and 
advised, though we have done some work in addressing these in the past, 
we will need to do lot more to address these issue in the near future 
including better promotion.

Though I am in the early stages of putting this together, I hope to 
solicit this forum views in helping me develop our industry response.

I will send via separate email, details on this.


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

> Also from the interview: "We shape our own future."
> Jan
> PS: Professor Cole, I hope I've represented your centrist position 
> reasonably. :-)
> 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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