RFID Opponent Joins Ixquick.com

A prominent critic of radio frequency identification has joined a privacy search engine—which just happens to promote RFID Journal's Web site.
Published: January 29, 2009

Katherine Albrecht, founder of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) and an outspoken opponent of radio frequency identification—and, from time to time, of RFID Journal for its advocacy of the technology—has been placed in charge of public relations at Ixquick.com, which dubs itself “the world’s most privacy-friendly search engine.”

For those who might think Albrecht has given up her opposition to RFID, think again. Albrecht told RFID Journal she will “continue to oppose the use of item-level RFID in consumer products, payment instruments and ID cards.” In addition, she added that “If I had to pick a next RFID target, it would be border-crossing cards—unless I start seeing lots of RFID tags appear on clothes or shoes first.”

Over the years, RFID Journal has been critical of Albrecht’s tactics, and her unwillingness to acknowledge all of the potential benefits RFID has to offer. Nevertheless, she has certainly played an important role in encouraging companies to pay attention to the privacy issue. In my view, that’s a positive, because the worst thing that could have happened to the RFID industry would have been for the technology to have been deployed widely and then abused by some. That could potentially still occur, but most executives I speak with are painfully aware that they will pay a heavy price if they abuse consumer privacy with RFID, so it’s very unlikely that would ever happen.

Ironically, if you visit ixquick.com and enter “RFID” in its search bar, the first entry that comes up (naturally) is RFID Journal. Ixquick is a meta-search engine that uses other search engines (Google, MSN and Yahoo, for instance) to produce its results. An Ixquick result is awarded one star for every search engine that chooses it as one of the ten best results for your particular search.

So what’s RFID Journal‘s rating at “the world’s most privacy-friendly search engine?” Eight stars.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, click here or click here.