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>>RFID IS NOT THE REAL ISSUE...May Be Risky Business<<

Interesting articles, focusing on the privacy issues of RFID.  On the other
hand, maybe a bit paranoid.

One writer assumes that RFID tags will be integrated into sweaters so you
can "scan" an individual as they walk down the street. First, my readings
over the last 10-12 years on the subject point towards RFID tags as being
exactly that "tags".  I am not sure about the rest of you, but my wife
frowns on me wearing stuff that still has tags attached.

The other writer assumes that RFID tags used in retail will be able to track
a future visit by a customer to the store.  To do that, the RFID tag would
have to be unique to a particular item.  While unique tags for high ticket
items may be in the cards, I find it hard to believe that it will happen to
consumer items.  According to the Coca-Cola website, current sales are in
excess of a billion drinks per day.  That is a whole pile of unique id tags
if one was associated with each and every can or bottle.

Let's be realistic about the whole thing.  Does anyone besides these folks
really believe that anyone will individually tag every item with a unique
ID.  Lets consider the idea floated by the author of the article.  The
consumer buys a sweater and pays by credit card.  The sweater is associated
with the consumer.  The consumer later visits the store where the sweater ID
is read by scanners.  The consumer does not make a purchase.  The store uses
the information to send out a coupon to encourage the shopper to visit
again.

In my world it goes more like this.  My wife buys me a sweater and pays by
card.  I don't like sweaters so give it the local homeless shelter.  They
pass it out to someone who visits the store to get warm in the North Dakota
winter.  As if by a miracle I get a coupon to save 10% on my next sweater
purchase.

Now from the supply chain perspective.  I increase the price of sweaters by
25% to cover the cost of RFID technology to individually track sweaters from
manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer.  I spend additional
thousands on systems to gather and analyze the data to link the sweater
purchase to an individual.  I engage in a targeted campaign to individually
mail discount coupons to the sweater purchasers while worrying that they
might already have enough sweaters.

Of course there is alternatives.  I could put an add in the paper and for
$200 tell everyone that there is a sale on sweaters.  The retailer might
even buy sweaters from a RFID free manufacturer.  By avoiding the cost
associated with tags, data collection and analysis, the retailer could sell
inventory at a substantial discount.  Sounds like an opportunity for an
enterprising young man from Arkansas (RFIDFreeMart).

Retailers are not idiots.  Individual assignment of ID's would increase the
inventory data overhead by a factor of something like 50,000 times (not
scientific, just a wild imagination).

Frankly, I think there is a much bigger chance that the CBS memos are
authentic.

Bill Roach, CRM
Enterprise EDMS Coordinator
State of North Dakota
ITD/Records Management
701-328-3589

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