Relax, Don’t Do It: Why RFID Privacy Concerns are Exaggerated and Legislation is Premature

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The recent push to replace UPC barcodes on all consumer goods with RFID tags has resulted in a backlash by privacy activists. Legislation to regulate RFID technology has been introduced in several states. Such regulation could stunt this fledgling technology. While some concerns might have merit, most are exaggerated. This is so especially because the tracking capabilities of RFID have been overstated by both its detractors and proponents. Before we regulate, we should first confirm that privacy fears are not baseless and will not be constrained by market forces. We should be more concerned by government use of RFID—something to which privacy advocates have paid little attention.

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