The term RFID is used in two different contexts. Sometimes it is applied to the system of routinely identifying individual objects using wireless transmission. This includes everything from the tag to the software that manages the data. At other times, the term RFID is used only to refer to the tags themselves, which can be referred to as RFID tags or RFID labels.
Use of RFID as a tracking tool
RFID (Radio-frequency identification) is a cheap, portable way of tagging and tracking things. It’s used in warehouses, supermarket checkouts, and bars, where it can help keep tabs on how many drinks your customers have bought and how much money they’ve spent, but there is no reason to think it won’t work fine for tracking people.
It might be a good idea to use rfid to track people. There are some obvious advantages to this: because the tag is discreet, you don’t have to put up with those awkward questions in the pub or the annoying questions from your boss about why you didn’t turn up for work, and you don’t have to have all that equipment hanging around your neck or sticking out of your wallet. But if we start using RFID tags, we need to think about what it means for us as individuals and society as a whole.
One of the reasons we should be worried about this technology is that it will make it harder for us to organize groups. If everyone is tagged, there won’t be much point in joining a crowd or a party unless everyone else is tagging along too.