Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) is a method of remotely storing and retrieving data using devices called RFID tags/transponders. An RFID tag is a small object, such as an adhesive sticker, that can be attached to or incorporated into a product. RFID tags contain antennas to enable them to receive and respond to radio-frequency queries from an RFID transceiver. Link
So why is it problem?
Well the technology itself is very powerful and useful and lends it self to all sorts of difficult tasks such as stock taking, that when tagged using RFID would allow the stock to simply pushed through a scanner and that would be it.
It also allows supermarkets to create super-simple self-checkout systems; put all your stuff in the trolley, push it through the checkout and pay. No scanning, waiting or weighing to make sure you’ve scanned everything.
But what if you lost the paper tag on clothes and other items and it was made straight into the product, what then. Well we save on paper, but all shops have readers for these RFID Tags. How much would it take to build up a complete picture of your life. All your clothes are tagged so you go in one shop they see your wearing a designer shirt, there’s a screen in-front of the door and that changes giving you an offer only you and you alone can use, for a particular designer shirt. You decide not to buy it and go to another store and they do the same. but all this data is store on a de-centrilised network of computers in each store. It wouldn’t take much for a person to go to each store ask for there details (perfectly acceptable under the DPA) and then piece it all together and what do you have?
A complete picture of what you bought, when you bought, for how much, and whether you paid for it with your RFID enabled Credit Card.
Thats another thing with RFID enabled credit/ID Cards you would be able to nab somebody’s card details by putting a reader near a persons pocket. The data would be encrypted but there would always be organizations that would fined away to get your details and run away with your cash.
We are putting so much information about ourselves out there on technologies that could easily give it all up to a criminal or anybody savvy enough to join the technologies up. The UK already has more camera’s per square mile than any other country in europe (possibly even the world) So will the vision of 1984 be realized or will become more aware of all these technologies and protect ourselves against theft and improper use of all this data.