[extropy-chat] RFID smartcard passports and driver's licenses

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Fri Apr 8 16:17:00 UTC 2005

From: BillK <pharos at gmail.com>
Date: Apr 8, 2005 5:08 PM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] RFID smartcard passports and driver's licenses

On Apr 8, 2005 3:08 PM, Mike Lorrey wrote:
> It isn't about companies making a profit, it is about people becoming
> educated to the problem, much as they had to become educated to the
> problem of computer viruses by having their systems destroyed a few
> times. One would think most people would have learned their lesson by
> now. Apparently not, even on this list.

No, it isn't about educating the public. Do you really expect the 300
million Americans to become educated about RFID technology, computer
viruses, spyware, etc.? It will never happen. The public have more
important things (to them) to do with their time.  In case you haven't
noticed, the problems with spam, viruses, spyware, adware, trojans,
phishing, fraud, etc. are as bad as they have ever been, if not worse.
(Except for Linux or Mac users, --- so far  :) ).

US companies are installing RFID because they can make a buck on it. Period.
It gives them better stock control, stops shoplifting losses, enables
them to track customer spending and target ads at them, etc. They have
no interest at all in privacy concerns because to date that does not
affect their bottom line.

If customers stopped buying goods with RFID tags, then companies would
stop installing them as they would no longer be profitable. If
government legislation put too high a compliance cost on companies,
then again they would stop using RFID tags.

The Euro route of informing customers and telling them how to remove
or disable the tags (if they want to, that is, - returns could be
simplified if the tag is left in) seems to get the benefits without
the privacy concerns.

It would also be a good idea to encrypt the tags so that any store can
only read their own tags and the public cannot read any tags at all
without serious decrypting hardware, but this is a nice-to-have, not


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