A new price-scheme for public transport in London puts a high price on privacy. Bus and tube tickets in central London will rise up to 25% in price from January 2004. But passengers using the Oyster smartcard will be able to travel at 2003 prices. This plastic card, fitted with a contact-less microchip (RFID), was introduced earlier this summer for annual and monthly ticket holders and requires registration of name, address and photocard number. According to the official website, one of the scheme's advantages is that it will 'provide information that will help London to manage its transport system better. For instance, we will be able to identify where people, and how many, are transferring from bus to bus or from bus to Tube.'
For almost the same plans to register all travel-movements, the Helsinki
A few days ago, the Sunday Times revealed plans from British government officials to fit all cars in Britain with personalised spy-chips. The micro-chip will automatically report a wide range of offences including speeding, road tax evasion and illegal parking. Roadside sensors will be able to monitor all private cars wherever they travel.
But plans for Electronic Vehicle Identification (EVI) are not limited to the UK. The European Directorate General Energy and Transport aims to develop a standardised electronic, unique identifier for motor vehicles, interoperable all over Europe. In December 2002 the Commission gave a grant to the umbrella organisation ERTICO (made up of different stake-holders in the field of implementation of transport telematics systems and services) to do a feasibility study. Results are expected in
The US consumer group CASPIAN is calling for a boycott of Gillette products. CASPIAN is protesting against the use of Radio Frequency Identifiers (RFIDs) in Gillette products. UK supermarket chain Tesco used RFIDs in Gillette razorblades to test a controversial surveillance system that tracks and photographs customers.
In EDRI-gram number 14 the test and similar theft detection and theft prediction systems are discussed and explained (see link below).
Big Brother in the supermarket
The UK supermarket chain Tesco has confirmed that it is testing a controversial surveillance system that tracks customers in one of their stores in Cambridge. Anyone buying certain products will have their picture taken. Twice.
The system uses Radio Frequency Identifiers (RFIDs) to trigger CCTV cameras to take a picture of the customer. In the test RFIDs are embedded in Gillette razor blades. When the customer takes a package of Gillette from the shelf a RFID reader will trigger a camera to take a picture. At the checkout another RFID reader will trigger a second camera. The camera's are monitored by security personnel in the shop who will compare the two pictures. The system is supposedly designed to detect theft.
RFIDs are very small radio chips that transmit a unique serial code when a reader is placed in their proximity. Retailers hail the technology for its usefulness in logistics and supply chain management. Consumer groups and privacy advocates are campaigning for rules for the use of the chips to prevent the technology from becoming a covert surveillance tool to spy on consumers.
Developers of Radio Frequency Identification (RFIDs) are making plans to 'neutralize opposition' to their new technology. The strategy is discussed in confidential documents from the Auto-ID Center, in which RFID developers work together.
Japanese electronics maker Hitachi has told the Japanese press that it has started talks with the European Central Bank (ECB) about the use of RFIDs in euro banknotes.
RFIDs (radio frequency identification) are very small radio chips that transmit a unique serial code when a reader is placed in their proximity. RFID were originally designed for logistic purposes; to track and trace items in transport or stored in warehouses. But the mini-tags are also getting embedded in consumer products, as described in the previous EDRI-gram. This raises great privacy-concerns, since the technology makes it possible to track and trace individual consumption-patterns. The RFIDs have no access control. Anyone with a reader can detect them and read the serial number. The only possibility to protect privacy would be to remove or disable the tag when buying the product in a store.
Last month, during a congress on supermarket logistics, German supermarket Metro AG announced the introduction of RFIDs to boost store efficiency and eliminate long checkout queues. The announcement comes at a time of heightened public awareness of the negative privacy-implications of this new track & trace technology. In March, clothing designer Benetton announced plans to weave radio frequency ID chips into its garments to track its clothes worldwide. After massive protests the plans were postponed and Benetton made it clear that they will first do more research on the use of RFID technology for its garments including an assessment of the related privacy-effects.
RFID-tags are becoming smaller and cheaper everyday. In general the tags are passive.