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The future of smart cards is uncertain, however, the technology is here to stay. Companies have many obstacles to overcome to make the technology a feasible option to be implemented. Privacy issues and will persist, although cost for RFID systems will decrease. In order for RFID to be successful, companies must work with privacy advocate groups to develop a fair way to implement RFID without alienating their customers.
Technology will continue to develop for RFID and many new applications will be realized. Automation will be a side-effect of combo cards development, in the supply chain and in everyday activities. Contactless payment methods are already available, as well as automatic keycards to open doors. RFID tags installed in cars with readers on the roads and freeways will alert the authority if you are breaking the law. Supermarkets will eventually be able to realize their shopping cart checkout system once prices fall to a more affordable price. Fresh foods, metals and liquids will all be contactless cardscompatible in the near future. If privacy issues are not watched closely, people will become tagged and there will always be someone watching and analyzing every person’s decisions.
Privacy issues are the number one pitfall for RFID CARD and retailers. As long as the tags are only affixed to pallets and cartons then the retailers would not have any specific information on the consumer. However, when RFID tag prices fall, companies like Wal-Mart and Target plan on using RFID tags on individual products which they can trace consumer’s buying habits and other information consumer’s wish to keep private. It was privacy issues that force Benetton to cease their pilot rfid inlay system. They wanted to embed a tag in articles of clothing to stop theft, determine consumer buying habits and keep their inventory at an acceptable level. Privacy advocate groups such as the Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion (CASPIAN) fight companies using RFID to track consumer behavior. A study showed that up to 78% of America was against RFID based solely on privacy issues. It will be difficult for companies in the future to tag individual items without a public outcry without some form of protection for the public’s privacy rights.
Consumers have the largest disadvantage of any other entities involved with RFID technology. There are five privacy issues that consumers must try to protect themselves from: Hidden placement of tags, unique identifiers for objects worldwide, massive data aggregation, hidden readers, and individual tracking and profiling. Hidden placement of tags by companies is an easy way to get information from consumers. The consumer will feel safe buying a product with no knowledge of an combo cardsembedded in their clothing. These tags theoretically could track a person around the world if there were readers in specific locations throughout the world. Personal information may also be embedded in these tags giving information as detailed as your medical history. Prada and Swatch use embedded tags in their clothing, and Benetton did as well, but a boycott of Benetton was successful and they removed their tags. There is no law against companies embedding tags, and only California and Utah have made official requests to change the situation.
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