CityWatcher.com, a security company in Cincinatti, has embedded RFID chips in employees to control access to a secure room. Forget thumbprints or retinal scans, the company has turned to a form of digital branding, according to the Financial Times.
The article explains that the employees who have received the RFID chips believe it is not anAs security systems go, this is a weak one with huge personal privacy downsides. imposition on their privacy. “There’s nothing pulsing or sending out a signal,” said one employee who has a chip in his arm. “It’s not a GPS chip. My wife can’t tell where I am.”
Actually, an RFID chip does generate a signal when activated by an electromagnetic field, like the theft-detection systems at your local department store. It would be very easy to use such a system to track activity across many part of a person's life. Just as credit cards have become an aggregation point for personal information, embedded RFID could be used to begin gathering data that previously has been inaccessible: Where we have been, what we have been doing.
Defenders of the system say it is not compulsory. But it is easy to make living without such technology inconvenient over the long term, because, like credit cards or loyalty cards, benefits are created for RFID-tagged people.
One's spouse might not use RFID to track us, but institutions certainly could.
The rationale for using the RID chip, that it is more secure and convenient for the employee, is also deeply flawed. Here's how to defeat the system's security feature: Cut the arm off an employee and wave it over the RFID sensor. Because the system is not biometric, there's no ability to discern that the body part is living. Not such an enticing prospect for employees tired of wearing cowbell badges around the office.
As security systems go, this is a weak one with huge personal privacy downsides.