News

RFID privacy guidelines established

Arif Mohamed

A group of IT suppliers and users has issued a set of best practice guidelines on how firms should use consumer information they gather via radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

RFID is used mainly in the business supply chain to track and identify items such as products, shipping crates, livestock and clothing, but analysts believe it will be used more and more to track consumer goods and gather customer information, particularly location data.

Sarah Burnett, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said, “I can see RFID eventually appearing in the consumer area – for example, to tag cereal packages, to speed up responses to promotions, linked to mobiles, to get instant feedback.”

Consumer protection has therefore become a concern for privacy advocates critical of RFID. The best practices group represents the first industry attempt to ensure that customers are protected.

Suppliers Microsoft and Intel, and users Procter & Gamble, the American Library Association, Eli Lilly, VeriSign and Visa are among the organisations that have worked on the document.

It offers guidance on how companies should notify consumers about RFID data collection; what choice consumers should have regarding their personal information, and how that information should be treated and secured by the companies that collect it.

The Center for Democracy & Technology led the working group.

 


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