Monday, November 21, 2005

RFID: Spychips - Tracking the Debate

It's not surprising that RFID Journal editor Mark Roberti vehemently denounced the new book, Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move With RFID. He is an active proponent of commercial applications of RFID. His organization was formed to advance that agenda, and he has a professional responsibility to monitor and comment on public opposition.

Neither is it surprising that Katherine Albrecht, co-author of the book and the founder of consumer advocacy group C.A.S.P.I.A.N, vehemently denounced Roberti's assessment. Albrecht advocates full disclosure of any RFID application that may compromise consumer privacy or choice.

In his column Spychips Book Fails to Make Its Case Roberti writes:
"Theoretically, lots of things are possible, but in the real world, companies don't share information about their customers with other companies."

In fact, they do. In fact, RFID facilitates that exchange. In fact, according to Wal-Mart and Target (retail competitors?) are partnering to share Electronic Product Code (EPC) data with some of their suppliers.

I don't know if the Target/Wal-Mart cooperation poses a threat to individual privacy. That remains to be seen.

What I do know is that Roberti's opinion does not threaten the public welfare. Albrecht's opinion does not threaten corporate welfare. What does threaten everyone's interest is the misrepresentation of opinion as fact.

If you allow yourself to be seduced by the power of distortion, you have lost the fight. No matter which side you're on.

As I wrote in my 8/2/05 blog RFID: Spychips, "Those of us who seek transparency can not afford to subordinate language to advance our agenda. That was Orwell's nightmare.


At 9:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you read the book Sally?
It seems to me you have not!

At 8:34 PM , Blogger Dave said...

I think language is already being used to subordinate the general public into non-action. Have you seen the new IBM "Help Desk" commercial that is on during NFL games? In it a semi truck is careening towards the woman at the "IBM Help Desk" the truck stops just in time and the driver pops out to say 'we're lost', to which the IBM woman replies, 'no you're not, we know right where you are with RFID technology'. Although that's a paraphrase it's pretty close to what the commercial presents. The reason I think RFID is starting to be presented that way is to introduce it in a positive light to public consciousness and get ahead of the curve when it comes to privacy concerns....after all, who can be afraid of something in an ad that is shown during a Pro Football game? RFID advocates are trying to change the debate.

At 10:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That commercial is the prime reason why there ARE advocate group working together to show people that RFID will infringe on ones private life.

Once RFID is full blown the look out. As you drive up a street who knows who is lurking at your journey.

I think Mark Roberti is a RFID kiss up with his nose brown and broken from being turned on every corner the RFID industry makes.
He is based on greed and greed alone.

Jill Renthforth


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