Who’s Afraid of RFID?

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Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are small radio communicators that signal information about the tag and the item to which it is affixed.  In the area of consumer goods, RFID holds out a variety of benefits in terms of convenience, safety, and low costs.


RFID has raised a variety of privacy-related concerns and calls for regulation.  To date, RFID tags have seen limited deployments, so there is little real-world experience upon which to ground discussions about regulation.  Before those discussions become timely, a variety of social forces will constrain RFID more suitably than government regulation could.


An unlikely threat to privacy, RFID technology will help producers, marketers, and retailers better understand—and therefore better serve—the entire mix of consumer interests.  Legislation to restrict the technology would be premature.