November 16, 2011
RFID and the end of cash?
Cash transaction cannot be tracked but, the more detailed recording of the RFID transfers could help Government track the flow of money as well as tax them (Angell, Ian). Auto identification technology feature of RFID was first used by the Royal Air Force during the times of World War II, which could differentiate friendly aircraft with the enemy (Angell, Ian). And, the time since then, the advancement and research in the RFID technology have eased people’s life as well as helped business succeed in many perspectives. But, at the same time, it created a question for us to answer about its future use, and the concerns about the privacy of the individuals.
Of all of the privacy issues about its future use, RF-emitting tags that are small enough to fit into the bank notes, so that, the Government would be able to track the cash transactions, seems to be on the top of the concern for most of the individuals. Most of the individuals are concerned about their privacy about being anonymous, as well as, not being able to enjoy the properties of cash as fungibility and stored value (Angell, Ian). The authors of the article seem to be outraged by the Government’s involvement in using technology to control the citizens of its Nation by introducing the RFID technology to end the cash.
The positive use of the RFID technology seems to be the answer by the Government for the individuals who are against it. This technology could be used to easily find the misplaced keys, phones, spectacles and any belongings of the individuals (Angell, Ian). But, it could be debated by the fact that private information about the individuals, and their belongings could be easily tracked creating the database of the individual, and their behaviors, which is a serious privacy concern (Angell, Ian). Authors of this article distinctly categorized the supporters of the RFID technology as the U.S. Department of Defense, Wal-Mart, and the mobile technology sectors, and seem to be outraged by their negligence towards the privacy of the individuals (Angell, Ian).
Even though, there are many advantages of using RFID technology by the Government officials, for instance to track the terrorist in the airports by reading the tagged passports in the proper range, the authors, smartly questioned about the use the same technology by the wrong person to gain private information, and using it to create chaos, or, benefit from it (Angell, Ian). We would soon be living in the world of tags and, the rate of identity theft could even increase which would be really hard to control, if the technology would be implied in our society (Angell, Ian).
The RFID technology would definitely end the cash we know of, in today’s world. With many disadvantages over advantages, in concern with the individual’s privacy, the use of RFID technology would enable the Government and the big corporations, to regulate taxation and control over the citizens. Also, this can definitely create many identity theft issues, and would directly affect the individual’s right to privacy.
Angell, Ian, and Jan Kietzmann. "RFID and the End of Cash?" ACM Digital Library. ACM New York, NY, USA, Dec. 2006. Web. 16 Nov. 2011. <http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1183236.1183237>.