Soctech seminar, Fall 2006
The past few years have seen a great deal of hype, both positive and negative, over the transformative potential of radio frequency identification technology (RFID). The goal of this seminar is to explore the broader legal and sociopolitical implications of RFID, entering into a discussion on privacy, security, and surveillance that has a solid technical and legal basis.
The seminar will be discussion-driven, each period led by a small group of seminar participants and/or including invited guest experts. We are also going to produce a seminar position paper that summarizes our thoughts upon RFID and what material we've covered. The intent is that we will all have something coherent and tangible to refer back to after a full quarter's discussion. The document will be collaboratively authored and all seminar participants will be required to contribute, although we intend this to be relatively low-investment attenuated over the course of the quarter.
Basic description of RFID:
- Roy Want, The Magic of RFID.
- Passports (trial programs in a few countries, e.g. US)
- supply-side tracking of inventory (e.g. walmart)
- gathering more detailed information about consumers (increasing information asymmetry between sellers/buyers)
- enabling buyers to gather more information about products (decreasing above information asymmetry)
Privacy & Surveillance concerns:
- Wisconsin law bans forcible implanting of RFID tag
- (old) proposed legislation in California that would attempt to protect consumer privacy
A few companies...