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 the graded CSE 590 X - sln 11981, 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 something coherent and tangible to leave for ourselves and anyone else who is interested. 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.

Contact information: This course is being organized by Yaw Anokwa (yanokwa at cs), Jim Sfekas (sfekas at u washington), and Travis Kriplean (travis at cs).

Course Topics

Discussion led by Yaw and Travis
Potential speakers: Josh Smith from Intel Research or someone from Imping
  • 30 Oct Application 1
Potential speakers: Matthai Philipose from IRS or Ken Fishkin from Google
  • 06 Nov Open Topic
  • 13 Nov Application 2
Potential speakers: Matthai Philipose from IRS or Ken Fishkin from Google
  • 20 Nov Open Topic
  • 27 Nov Open Topic
  • 04 Dec Roundtable with Gaetano on RFID research and experiences with privacy

Administrative info

Course grading and credit-load policies: Subject to change, but variable credits are available to meet differing levels of participation:

  • Sign up for 1 credit if you plan to attend, do the readings, participate in discussions, and contribute to the wiki.
  • Sign up for 2 credits if you wish to lead/organize a discussion OR contribute extensively to the wiki OR help organize the panel.
  • Sign up for 3 credits if you wish to lead/organize a discussion, contribute extensively to the wiki, and help organize the panel (Note: please contact the course organizers in advance if you plan to take this course for 3 credits.)




  • 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...