Will RFID enable companies to keep track of what consumers buy?

There are very few items with RFID tags in them today, so it is not clear exactly what information companies will collect. But it’s likely that any information companies collect using RFID will be similar to what they glean today when consumers buy items using a credit card or a loyalty card. It’s envisioned that the packaging of products will have an RFID tag that contains an Electronic Product Code-a unique serial number that identifies the manufacturer, product type and a series of numbers that identifies that unique item. Companies will use this number to track products through the supply chain. It’s important to be able to tell one carton of milk from another in the supply chain because they have different expiry dates. But there is little benefit to knowing which specific items customers by. Companies want to know the types of items people buy, so they can sell those customers other items that match their taste. Companies can already get this information from barcodes.

Posted in: Privacy and Data Collection