Privacy at RFID World
Contributed by Joanne C. Kelleher
One of the very first entries in this blog was It’s Just a Number, contributed by Louis Parks about the EPCglobal US Conference 2006.
I was not surprised to be issued a conference badge complete with embedded RFID tag. I was VERY surprised to be given a one page document as part of my registration kit explaining that my name, company, address, etc. were all encoded on the tag and available for a reader to capture any reader. They went to great efforts to explain they were using HF chips (the evil enemy only a few months ago) with short read ranges to help protect our data and that non-RFID badges were available if we preferred.
As I was unpacking from my trip to RFID World 2008, I took a closer look at my conference badge holder which contains a contactless card from NXP just touch and go and an Alien 9662 tag. I know the contactless card contained my personal information because I allowed an exhibitor to read it but I don’t know what the second tag was used for. Thinking back to Louis comments about EPCglobal’s badge, I decided to see what the organizers at RFID World had to say about how this RFID technology was going to be used.
I read through the program guide, my customized speaker package and the brochures in the attendee bag (which were only given to full conference attendees, not the exhibit only folks) and found nothing. There was no mention of the conference’s use of RFID technology to track attendees on the RFID World web site either.
I find it kind of ironic that despite the fact that multiple keynote speakers stressed the importance of being upfront about the use of RFID technology and protecting consumer privacy that the conference organizers didn’t address this issue.