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Wednesday, August 03, 2005
  big impact - Concern over data security with RFID

The need for legislation.

As RFID technology finds its way into important personal documents such as identity cards, passpors and credit cards, greater measures will be required to ensure data protection.

So far it is clear that the security mechanisms are already available (namely, data encryption). However, that doesn't mean that authorised RFID data collectors won't take advantage of their systems for malicious use or illegal activities.

One of the problems with data privacy is that there are no standards. For example, a company may have a privacy policy in place that prohibits the information from being shared with unauthorised third-parties.

But what if the management changes?. Is there any guarentee that the existing policies will still be in place?. By definition, an authorised third-party can be anybody - as long as the company-in-charge thinks that it's fine to share information with these third-parties.

The only way to control the use of RFID is through government legislation. In Germany, some sort of new legislation would required at the national or even European level. The current legislation is inadequate - there's nothing to prevent the data from being abused,and there's nothing that regulates the use of RFID tags and readers.

In most cases, the consumers can't choose whether or not to have RFID tags in their passports, identity cards or shoppong baskets. And in most cases they aren't even informed.

Indifferent menace

The collective dragging of feet among lawmakers probably stems from indifference - while there are people who protest against unsolicited RFID, the fact is that the majority of people aren't really bothered ast all. Some people don't know the value of the data that they give out - they would happily sign up for it as long as they get a 5% discount at the shopping centre.

These people aren't really concerned about their personal data being shared with unauthorised and authorised third-parties. RFID-related fraud is still a rarity, but may become a serious problem if the widespread adoption of RFID technologies becomes a reality. Until then, it's probably better for governments and organisations to brace themselves for the wave rather that being hit unexpectedly from behind.

-privacy and security are the main factor in technology-

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