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Consumers Need to Understand RFID's Benefits, Say Privacy Experts

For RFID to win acceptance, companies must fully educate consumers about the technology and provide them with incentives, according to a panel speaking at RFID Journal's European conference.
By Rhea Wessel
Tags: Privacy
Oct 26, 2006The RFID industry should regulate itself to ensure the privacy of consumers and build privacy-control features into the technology as it evolves, three panelists urged today during a discussion on privacy at RFID Journal LIVE! Europe 2006.

"The number-one thing for consumers is that they have control of when their personal information is disseminated and collected," said Adrian Beck, a criminologist from Leicester University.

Left to right: Marissa Jimenez, public policy director, EPCglobal Europe; Kathleen Carroll, director of government relations, HID Global; Adrian Beck, criminologist, Leicester University.

Beck said the industry must also ask itself a pivotal question: Should we be collecting this information, that could eventually be linked to personal information? "I feel there's a presumption that since we can do this, we should do this. But I don't think we've talked to consumers enough," he said.

Beck was joined by Kathleen Carroll, director of government relations at RFID tag and reader vendor HID Global, and Marissa Jimenez, public policy director for EPCglobal Europe.

Carroll, hired by HID to address RFID-related privacy concerns and monitor legislation and policy affecting RFID, said some states in the United States have tried to pass bills constituting an outright ban on the technology. "It's time for industry to stand up and start to communicate with the various constituencies about what RFID can and cannot do," she said.

Jimenez, who also monitors legislation, encouraged more involvement from the RFID industry, warning that the process of creating European regulation or policies on RFID will take time.

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