AOH :: PT-1237.HTM

Jim Harper on how anti-RFID'ers harm immigrants, the poor (and public libraries)

Jim Harper on how anti-RFID'ers harm immigrants, the poor (and public libraries)
Jim Harper on how anti-RFID'ers harm immigrants, the poor (and public libraries)

Previous Politech message: 

My own views on RFID regulation, if anyone's terribly interested:'t+regulate+RFID--yet/2010-1039_3-5327719.html 

I also received a message from a library director at a public library 
that I've been asked not to post verbatim. To summarize it, they're 
planning to replace bar code and security tags with RFID tags within the 
next three years. That will let librarians check out a pile of books 
without opening each one -- and also put a scanner in the book return 
slot too.

One huge benefit is to staff ergonomics (that's a lot of book handling 
eliminated). The RFID tag does not contain any information about the 
book or patron, just a unique ID like a barcode -- only numbers.

A boycott-worthy "spychip?" Or a way to help librarians avoid carpal 
tunnel injuries, save money, and use their budgets to actually buy more 


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: [Politech] RFID protesters target Wal-Mart, demand new laws 
and regulations [priv]
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 12:18:38 -0500
From: Jim Harper  
To: Declan McCullagh  

I have long taken a (risky) stance in favor of RFID (but not in 
government-issued ID cards) because of the benefits to consumers.  No 
anti-RFID activist probably has this problem, but saving nickels and 
dimes is important to many people on the margins of our society.

Rather than painting the debate in such broad brush-strokes, thoughtful 
people should study the technology and the alternative chip and data 
designs that blend consumers' interests in privacy, low price, 
convenience, and so on.

Just yesterday, I read about another of dozens of such innovations, an 
antenna that can be shortened by the consumer to correspondingly shorten 
the read range. 

Each such alternative has its benefits and drawbacks and I won't predict 
the appropriate design for each potential use of RFID. A variety of 
factors will influence it.,04217.cfm 

I don't think picketing in front of a store that uses RFID on pallets 
and cartons helps the process very much.  It probably does chill the 
supply chain efforts that would make immigrants and the poor just a 
little bit better off.

Jim Harper
Director of Information Policy Studies
The Cato Institute

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