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Scottish Bar Joins Barcelona Club in RFID Tagging Customers

Another bar has begun encouraging its patrons to accept VeriChip, the human-implantable RFID tag and lightning rod of the RFID privacy debate.
Tags: Privacy
Jan 21, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 21, 2005—Another bar has begun encouraging its patrons to accept VeriChip, the human-implantable RFID tag and lightning rod of the RFID privacy debate. Glasgow-based Bar Soba joins the Baja Beach Club of Barcelona in encouraging customers to "get chipped" at the door, a reputedly painless process of 15 minutes. Once chipped, the bar-goer's name, payment information, and favorite drink are stored in the Bar Soba database so that, in the words of owner Brad Stevens, "By the time you walk through the door to the bar, your favourite drink is waiting for you and the bar staff can greet you by name."

Naturally there are detractors to Scottish VeriChip usage. Chris McDermott, the director of UK-based Notags, a group against the pervasive use of RFID, notes, "Having the chip inserted under the skin is the same as having a bar code tattooed onto your hand or your forehead, only much worse." He also calls into question the security of the Bar Soba database containing the chipped users' information.

Privacy implications aside, the most important concern surrounding VeriChip and bar patrons may be far more simple: the Scottish government is apparently worried that eliminating the necessity of reaching into the wallet to produce cash or credit card will cause people to drink excessively. Of course, the link between RFID and excessive drinking will require further investigation.

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