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Survey: Europeans Concerned About RFID Tracking

A recent survey by consultancy Capgemini of 2,000 British, French, German, and Dutch revealed that European public concern regarding retail use of RFID is high.
Feb 09, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

February 9, 2005—A recent survey by consultancy Capgemini of 2,000 British, French, German, and Dutch revealed that European public concern regarding retail use of RFID is high. 55% responded as being "concerned or very concerned" at the prospect of corporations being able to track consumers by way of their RFID-tagged purchases. Almost 60% expressed concern about what corporations will do with the RFID-generated data. Will it be sold to third parties, or will it be used responsibly? Ard Jan Vetham, Capgemini's principal consultant on RFID, felt that part of the public concern is due to misinformation. He cited the fact that many survey respondents believe that RFID tags can be read from afar, which is untrue. Were the public to understand that the RFID tags in use by retail can only be read at very close proximity, the concerns would be assuaged.

This is probably true, and it is the observation of many industry watchers. There have been repeated calls for the RFID industry to unify around a message and collectively initiate a public awareness campaign about what RFID can and cannot do, how it works, and what benefits it offers. As Jan Vetham notes, "Acceptance of new technologies always has a tipping point at which consumers believe that benefits outweigh concerns... With the right RFID approach and ongoing communication with consumers, the industry can reach this point."

BBC News reports on the survey
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