Authors: Locquenghien, Kerstin von
Title: On the Potential Social Impact of RFID-Containing Everyday Objects
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a rapidly evolving technology. While industrialists hope that the use of RFID will bring about great benefits, civil rights activists warn against the dangers. Since RFID pervades everyday life more and more, this paper deals with its potential impact on individuals. Currently private persons are least included in the public debate, although perhaps they will be affected the most by potential negative effects. Critics are especially concerned about the potential violation of privacy. Due to its informational infrastructure RFID could be used for surveillance purposes. Many people therefore fear a surveillance state. Looking at the use of RFID on the product level, completely dynamic pricing and business models could be developed. If everyday objects record and send context sensitive information via embedded RFID tags, this might strongly influence our perception of these objects and our emotional attitude towards them. This relationship between man and RFID containing smart objects is expected to differ from the relationship between man and machines as well as man and computers, as a new function as well as a new significance are added to already well-known objects. Last but not least, this paper also points out RFID's potential impact on health and environment, which has barely been discussed in public so far. The analysis shows that, apart from certain opportunities, considerable risks have to be dealt with. However, panic, as suggested by some critics, seems unreasonable as the development is still wide open. This should rather be considered a great chance: it offers the possibility to play an active role in the shaping of RFID within a legal democratic process. In this process all members of society are likewise responsible for future developments.
Issue Date: 2006-03
Provenance: Technische Universität Dortmund
Appears in Collections:Issue 1

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