Read Any Good RFIDs Lately?


Sez here that some 300 libraries in the U.S. have adopted radio-frequency identification (RFID). The tags help libraries track books, but will they eventually make readers more trackable, too? According to the story, "Privacy advocates fear that books bearing the new tags might make it easy for government agents armed with subpoenas or hackers armed with know-how to find out who is reading what, and when."

The privacy risk is currently low; in fact, there's now more privacy because you can check out books without using a librarian. For the threat to rise, you'll need a world of linked databases and common RFID standards, among other developments.

Thanks to ArtsJournal

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  1. Uh, isn’t the same true with library cards and the databases of who checked them out? I’m a big privacy proponent, but this seems like much ado about nothing.

    People act like the data’s not already there.

  2. I don’t know, I sort of divided about this one. On one hand I can see who this can be used theoretically, used to track the individual who borrowed the book, assuming they are carrying constantly. But it’s still the libraries book and has a right to know where it is, or to track it down if it get’s lost.

    It might not be so bad if there were cast-in-irridium legal protections built into this. Of course, the government has shown that it has a much respect for “legal protections” as some have for library books.

  3. Someone who’d abuse the RFID chipping in this case would most likely have already abused the library’s database. If the Feds cared to see who was reading banned books in the library but not checking them out, they’d probably just stake out the banned books section rather than walking around with an RFID scanner. There’s a general problem with RFID, but I don’t think this is going to be the big issue that brings it to the public’s attention. For that, I’d look into RFID implants and the like.

    And, if you disagree, Get Chipped[TM].

  4. I know they are coming for my copy of “the catcher in the rye” I just know it!

  5. Don’t worry, Tinfoil. Once you see a Barnes and Noble, you’ll have an overwhelming urge to buy another copy.

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