RFID as Big Brother? Please.

Tuesday Jun 6th 2006 by Roy Mark
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Electronics trade organization attacks DHS' privacy concern conclusions about human tracking.

A prominent Washington IT trade group is taking exception to a new government draft report raising privacy concerns over the use of RFID for human tracking.

The Department of Homeland Security's Emerging Applications and Technology Subcommittee said in a 15-page report that the use of RFID in identification cards or tokens could lead to illegal tracking of Americans.

"Without formidable safeguards, the use of RFID in identification cards and tokens will tend to enable the tracking of individuals' movements, profiling of their activities and subsequent, non-security-related use of identification and derived information," the DHS draft report states.

But the American Electronics Association (AeA) isn't buying it, saying the report contains "sweeping, unsubstantiated and incorrect generalizations."

The AeA said the issue was bad behavior, not bad technology.

"[The draft report] misstates the fact that 'tracking of human beings' is endemic to RFID," the AeA said in a statement. "In fact, technology by itself is neutral -- only those who control data may track people."

RFID technology uses computer chips containing information that can be transmitted and read from a remote reader. The most widespread use of the technology is for inventory tracking and biometric passports, the latter of which contains encrypted information.

RFID is also being explored in the public and private sectors for use with various types of identification cards, encrypted and unencrypted.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.

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