The EU on the visibility of RFID

The EU is conducting a new online consultancy on privacy, data protection and information security principles in RFID applications.

I am happy to see that in Article 5 they begin to address the invisible nature of RFID readers in public space:

RFID applications can technically operate without any visible or otherwise perceivable action [...]”

They go further to recommend that there be mandated signage for RFID applications:

“Where RFID applications are implemented in public places, RFID application operators should inform individuals on the use of RFID by providing at least a clear sign, accessible by all, that signifies the presence of RFID readers. Information should include, where appropriate, that RFID tags and readers may broadcast information without an individual engaging in any active action, a reference to the policy governing the use of the RFID application and a point of contact for individuals to obtain additional information.”

While this sounds like a lot of information to get across in a sign, there may be ways of creating recognisable levels of security, various levels of private data use, and visible indications of the ways in which that data is stored or used (something along the lines of better food labelling examples). The success of this depends on creating a useful, user-oriented taxonomy of risks.

See also my work on the graphic language for RFID (paper, design brief).

Related things:

  1. Alternative RFID infrastructures This is a design brief, one of many themes that the Touch project is investigating. The landscape of RFID technology is focused on surveillance, efficiency and control. The near-future possibility of RFID implants, identity......
  2. Rob van Kranenburg at ‘How I learned to love RFID’ On the 20th May, Rob van Kranenburg talked at How I learned to love RFID in HMKV in Dortmund, Germany. This is a short summary of a huge presentation on RFID issues, that covered......
  3. iPhone RFID and NFC peripherals We are beginning to see RFID and NFC peripherals beginning to be released for the iPhone. Since our conceptual video prototype of the iPhone object-based media came out in April, we’ve had thousands of......
  4. RFID, logistics and material flow On the final day of How I learned to love RFID we visited the Fraunhofer institute for material flow and logistics. The institute concentrates on supply chain, logistic and robotic applications. They also foster......
  5. Everyware icons (visualising ubicomp situations) In December 2005 Adam Greenfield asked me to work with him on icon concepts for his book Everyware. Here is Adam’s description of his book: “The age of ubiquitous computing is here: a computing......

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  1. [...] Une occasion pour Timo Arnal, designer à l’Ecole d’architecture et de design d’Oslo, de rappeler son travail de conception de logos sur la présence et les usages possibles des systèmes pervasifs (voire La RFiD à portée de tous). Comment rendre visible l’invisible ? Comment prévenir les gens qu’ils peuvent télécharger ou déposer ici quelque chose d’invisible ? Pour Timo, il faut créer une taxonomie des risques orientés utilisateurs. Pour cela, il a imaginé un langage graphique pour signaler les usages possibles des étiquettes intelligentes. [...]

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