[Dave Birch] Whatever security experts might think about RFID, the general feeling is (I think) that consumers will accept the technology if it delivers convenience.  A recent Canadian survey reinforces that feeling.  Three quarters think that the main advantageof RFID is saving time and just over half expect it to make their shoppingexperience easier.  That’s not to say that they don’t have concerns.  They do.  But the main concern, for 70% of consumers, is that RFID might not work properly while only 40% worry about security, privacy, or safety.

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I was curious about one specific response in the survey.  Given a choice between disabling the RFID tags in-store after purchase or keeping them enabled post-purchase, nearly two-third opted to have them killed.  I’m not sure this really represents informed opinion though.  Managing the identities of stuff but only when in the retail supply chain means that the benefits of the technology are restricted to participants in that supply chain.  As a consumer, I want some of those benefits myself.  I want a washing machine that can tell when I’m about to wash something on the wrong cycle, a fridge that knows when food has expired, a medicine cabinet that can warn about contraindications, a microwave that knows how to heat up the food and (yes, I know it’s a long cherished dotcom dream) cupboards that know when I’ve run out of something so that they can add whatever it is to the shopping list next time I go to Waitrose.

It is important to note that none of these desirable domestic processes can be realised by simply sticking an RFID on something: that in itself is only one piece of the jigsaw of enabling technologies (including databases, "savants", digital signatures and so on) that go to form an identity management infrastructure.  Identification delivers nothing much: you need to have access to the provenance information as well as the product information, a point that I made in this article for Product & Image Security back in 2004…

Rfid Product Brand Protect

My opinions are my own (I think) and are presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public.
[posted with ecto]

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