Benign by Design?

March 06, 2004

More on the San Fransisco book tracking row from The Marin Independent Journal.

The Journal quotes chief librarian Kathy Lawhun describing the proposed RFID technology as "benign by design". She then goes on to describe it as "simply a chip with an antenna". The fact that she seems unable to see the contradiction between those two statements is worrying.

The article also quotes library officials as stressing that the information on the RFID chip will be the same as on the current barcode system.

Now, I don't know what that information is. But I'm prepared to bet it includes some sort of unique stock identifier that with access to the library database can be used to identify the book.

Combine that with a "chip with an antenna" that is capable of being read without anyone knowing it and you have a technology that is far from benign.

Such a system should not be allowed to go ahead until there is a legally enforcable requirement for the chip to be disabled at check-out.

Cross-posted from The RFID Scanner

Posted by trevorm

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