Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Smart chips in your clothes, groceries, e-tickets

One of the worries with regards to consumers' privacy protection is that consumers often remain unaware of their data being gathered and processed by a specific party. This lack of awareness and/or knowledge reduces the consumers' ability to control their own data. With this in mind, a new EU-wide logo is being introduced that is meant to inform consumers which products/services they buy or use include a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which means they contain a smart chip that allows traders' to track them. This technology is useful to traders since it benefits stock management and theft prevention. Still, it was questioned whether it sufficiently protected consumers, that is whether, for example, these smart chips were always successfully deactivated upon purchase and, therefore, consumer tracking was excluded. The new logo and data protection impact assessments that developers of RFID applications need to comply with are meant to ensure consumer privacy, pursuant to EU Data Protection rules. In general, the products will have to be more clearly labelled as containing these smart chips, consumers should be informed which data of theirs is being gathered and what devices could access it, etc. (Digital privacy: EU-wide logo and "data protection impact assessments" aim to boost the use of RFID systems)

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