Thursday, September 29, 2005 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

RFID - Starting to Come Around

I've always been a little suspicious of RFID technology because of the obvious privacy concerns. Today, I'm changing my tune.

At a previous job, I frequently had people calling me to pitch various versions of the same basic product - RFID tags that parents could have placed under their childrens' skin. I am not a parent but I can understand being concerned that something might happen to your child. Regardless, the use of RFID technology in this way has always totally horrified me. Think back to when you were... oh... lets say between the ages of 16 and 18. Would you have wanted your parents to have the ability to know where you were every moment of the day? Honestly? I thought not! And what happens when you turn 18? Do you rush to the doctor to have the RFID chip cut out, leaving you with a scar representing your parents' mistrust?

So, needless to say, I was pretty set in my opinion about RFID - until today.

While doing my daily news searches, I ran across a CNN article that described what I think is a perfect use for RFID technology. Coroners in two Mississippi counties are using RFID chips to quickly identify the deceased victims of Hurricane Katrina. Given the large amount of dead in a fairly concentrated area, the county coroners certainly must be overwhelmed. The use of RFID chips reduces the chance of mistakes in cataloging and processing remains. It also allows coroners to quickly identify remains without repeatedly opening up body bags.

I think this is the best use of RFID technology that I've heard. There are absolutely no privacy concerns that I can foresee and the tags make a pretty horrible situation a bit easier to contend with. So, today, I'm starting to see the light when it comes to RFID uses.

posted by Amy Smorodin @ 4:48 PM | Privacy