[LINK] RFID & Privacy

Brendan Scott brendansweb at optusnet.com.au
Wed Oct 25 12:27:12 AEST 2006

Geoff Ramadan wrote:
> Jan Whitaker wrote:
>> At 12:00 AM 25/10/2006, Geoffrey Ramadan wrote:
>>>> So, an industry code of ethics limit of 16 characters for human tags
>>>> would be fine then.
>>> Memory on RFID tags is very limited anyway. And more so on passive tags
>>> Also, not all tags have memory, only ID.
>>> Though I  can  imagine there is some value in having  user r/w memory
>> So what sort of chips would be used in your example of the large group
>> that wants to track children? Surely they would have to have memory
>> and would be writable. Or are you saying these are one time issue
>> things, like an ID card? Or single purpose, for the specific event
>> like name badges issued with a texta on a card, only a chip is on the
>> card and you don't need a texta any more?
> Jan
> This is a common missconception that people have about RFID, Barcoding
> and even Mag Cards, is the amount of memory on the device.
> It only has a non-significant unique ID number.
> This number is used to link to a database which holds the personal
> information.
> In this mode it is a very efficient barcode.
> Also thinking about it also protects privacy. Unless you have the
> database, the number is meaningless.

Surely it can also be used to create another data series?  This RFID/collection of RFIDs went past readers in the entryway of the following stores in our shopping centre at these times in this order?  

While RFIDs with memory probably present a worse problem, it doesn't seem like that great a difference.  Any purchase will provide an opportunity to uniquely identify the data series with a specific person.  It may be worse, as providers could claim trade in these data series is not trade in "personal information", despite the fact that they can collapse the information later. 
Whether you have access to "the" database that the RFIDs were created to be associated with, and whether the RFID has a memory seems a little beside the point... 


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