Political and Legal Influences
RFID technology has come a long way since it was introduced and many different uses have been found for this technology, most of which bring up many political and legal issues. These tiny RFID microchips have the ability to store and transmit information. In many cases this is an extremely helpful technology that stores utilize to help with keeping inventory, and to prevent loses of stolen goods, however this technology is being used just for keeping inventory. These chips have the ability to store a very large amount of personal data, down to how the company can better market and cater to what that particular buyer wants. For example, there is a Prada store in New York City containing, “readers positioned in the dressing rooms [that] read the RFIDs in articles of clothing, and prompt screens inside the rooms to show video clips of models wearing the clothing as well as other Prada accessories” (Rich & Grant, 2011). Suggestive advertising based on what a person buys is a major advantage of tagging products with RFID chips. There is a strong up rise against the idea of RFID tagging all retail items as the, “retailers could theoretically scan people with such licenses as they make purchases, combine the info with their credit card data, and then know the person's identity the next time they stepped into the store” (Bustillo, 2010). The main concern with these tags is that they have the ability to collect more personal data than most people realize and continue to collect data even after an item has left the store just waiting to be scanned again and have the information retrieved. These tags also have location tracking available so as long as someone wants to read the information they could track what exactly was done with a product bought from the store. These tags will stay on products until they are removed. Some of the RFID tags are put in clothing and theoretically could not come off, so the customer is walking around with an RFID tag that is continuously collecting information. Then when walking back into a store with RFID tags in use, that tag is scanned and the information about the customer’s whereabouts is known by that store. Other tags are placed in the cardboard folding in boxes and after being thrown out people can drive by houses and scan what is in the trash to see what items have been recently thrown away in an attempt to better market to different neighborhoods or for a more sinister outlook see which houses buy quality products for a potential robbery. These tags ability to collect and store personal data make them extremely likely targets for people to use for illegal purposes. There are now technologies available to pay using RFID technology; tags are connected to a person’s bank account or credit card and just need to walk buy a scanner to pay for their ticket. Recently this technology has been implemented, “some clubs in Europe are actually offering RFID implants to their VIP customers. These RFIDs are linked to a bank or credit account, so that a customer can simply walk up to the bar, order a drink, and pay without any money changing hands” (Rich & Grant, 2011). While this may seem like a great way to assure payment and a convenience for customers this presents the opportunity for anyone to gain personal banking and credit card information. Anyone with a RFID reader running at the same frequency can intercept a transaction as there is an, “inability of chipped people either to control the disclosure of the data contained in their implants, or to know when their chips are being read” (Ballaro & Newton, 2011). When the chip is read there is no filter on what can be accessed, so if a person is in a hospital and someone with a compatible reader reads the information on the chip, this unauthorized user can access any information stored on the chip as the person has no control the data transmission. Several other concerns have recently come...
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