Recent News Articles from around the web

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.: Are book tags a threat? - 5th Oct 2004

"Once upon a time, checking out an armful of library books could seem to take longer than writing them yourself. Today, however, using the technology that lets commuters zip through E-ZPass tolls, some libraries are offering quicker checkout, improved inventory practices, and better protection against theft.

But privacy advocates are already opposing use of radio frequency identification (RFID) in libraries. As RFID technology becomes more advanced, they warn, it could allow both the tracking of books borrowed by a reader and the tracking of the reader via his library books...."
[CS Monitor]

.: Privacy questions arise as RFID hits stores - 1st Oct 2004

"Proponents of radio frequency identification used to have a quick and easy response to consumer advocates charging that the technology posed an alarming threat to privacy.

Wal-Mart Stores, Procter & Gamble and other big companies pushing the electronic tracking tags said they’d use them only in warehouses to more easily locate and account for stock arriving in cases and palettes. By the time the merchandise hit store shelves, they’d have removed the tags. The placement of tags on items consumers actually take home was projected to be at least 10 years away, last year’s argument went. Some said it may never happen if costs remained prohibitive.

.: GAO: Fed Data Mining Extensive - 29th May 2004

"Just as the General Accounting Office released a report Thursday surveying the extensive amount of data mining conducted by federal agencies on individuals, a government watchdog group released its own report suggesting three steps the government could take to limit the invasiveness of such activity.

Data mining is the practice of using database software to compile and sift through large amounts of data, often of a personal nature, for the purpose of producing profiles of people, analyzing activity and deducing patterns in the information. ..."

.: California Crackdown on RFID - 16th May 2004

"Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology promises to speed the supply chain, but some fear it will tell retailers too much. A measure by Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach) to set privacy standards for the use of RFID (define) in stores and libraries passed the California Senate on a 22-8 vote Thursday.

The bill was the result of two sets of hearings held by California's Senate Subcommittee on New Technology, which Bowen chairs. "There's no reason to let RFID sneak up on us when we have the ability to put some privacy protections in place before the genie's completely out of the bottle," said Bowen..."

.: Icelandic DNA project hit by privacy storm - 16th May 2004

"It was meant to give Iceland a global lead in medical research and create one of the world's most powerful drug companies. But the launch of DeCode Genetics is threatening to become a national embarrassment.

One leading US biologist has called for an international scientific boycott of Iceland. Others say the company is profiteering. Now DeCode, which was set up to carry out pioneering work into genes and DNA, has been warned its actions may infringe the privacy rights of Icelanders. A unique experiment may be threatened, though DeCode angrily dismisses such fears...."

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