Saturday, March 19, 2005

Informed Consent: Ethical Considerations of RFID

He who mounts a wild elephant goes where the wild elephant goes. Randolph Bourne

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has incubated in relative obscurity for over 60 years, quietly changing our lives with scant attention outside the technology community. First used to identify Allied aircraft in World War II, RFID is now well integrated in building security, transportation, fast food, health care and livestock management.

Proponents hail RFID as the next natural step in our technological evolution. Opponents forewarn of unprecedented privacy invasion and social control. Which is it? That’s a bit like asking if Christopher Columbus was an intrepid visionary or a ruthless imperialist. It depends on your perspective. One thing is clear: As RFID extends its roots into common culture we each bear responsibility for tending its growth. more

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