Soctech seminar, Fall 2006

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Fall 2006: RFID Technology: SLN 11977 CSE 590 M, Monday 12:30-1:20, CSE 303
(Law students should register for CSE 590 X - sln TBA, everything else is identical)

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.

Seminar organization

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 on RFID and on the material we've covered. Our intent is to create a coherent and tangible to leave the academic community at large. The document will be collaboratively authored and all seminar participants will be required to contribute. That said, we intend this to be relatively low-investment spread over the course of the quarter.

Course Topics: Week 00 - Sep 25 - Course Introduction Week 01 - Oct 02 Week 02 - Oct 09 Week 03 - Oct 16 Week 04 - Oct 23 Week 05 - Oct 30 Week 06 - Nov 06 Week 07 - Nov 13 Week 08 - Nov 20 Week 09 - Nov 27 Week 10 - Dec 04 -

Basic Description:



  • Government:
    • Passports (trial programs in a few countries, e.g. US)
  • Commercial:
    • 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)

Security concerns:

Privacy & Surveillance concerns:

(Proposed) laws:

Potential speakers:

A few companies...