Saturday, October 30, 2004

For those in the loop, RFID is a privacy concern

Government Technology is reporting a recent survey that has determined that, among those who are aware of RFID, 63% of those polled are concerned about the privacy issues related to the emerging technology. The surveyed consumers said that government, followed by "crooks and bad guys," banks, insurance companies and credit card companies are the most likely to abuse their privacy without their knowledge and consent.

Study Detailing RFID Privacy Concerns Released:

"....Consumers express being more concerned with privacy issues today than ever before. And with many forms becoming electronic, they are cautious about divulging personal information and are taking active steps to protect themselves such as checking to make sure websites are secure before submitting information and shredding paper and mail received unsolicited at home. Many believe their personal information is easily obtained by companies through magazine subscriptions and frequent-buyer programs implemented by grocery stores and airlines.

Although consumers recognize the "perks" of being rewarded for loyal shopping behavior, they are also concerned that their information is not protected and will be shared without their permission. "Almost everyone knows somebody lately who has had a bad experience with privacy invasion, credit card abuse or identify theft," said Linda Stegeman, president of Artafact. "In online focus groups, they recount stories of friends or families who have been affected by institutions or crooks and bad guys getting access to their personal information."

Only 35% of consumers concerned about protecting their personal information believe that RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a "good idea." However, they also recognize the business benefits of easily tracking merchandise and preventing theft. Many consumers think they will not reap any benefit from RFID technology and are concerned with the potential for misuse, given the "lack of safeguards."

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