Depending on who you ask, RFID is either the best thing to ever happen to retailers, the worst thing to ever happen to privacy, or both. Wired’s Josh McHugh has written a great article that takes an in-depth look at the ramifications of RFID, beginning with a visit to the Extra Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany.
When I pick up the cheese, sensors in the pad notify the store’s database that the box has been removed. I exchange the plain for the mit Kräuter (with herbs) then, wracked with indecision, snag the low-fat version. It turns out it’s not really all that low-fat anyhow, so I put it back down. My waffling will produce a flurry of data back at Kraft Foods headquarters. The company, which gets this information in return for subsidizing the smart shelf and the microchips attached to the packages, will use the data to analyze my behavior.
A well-written account that provides equal time to both sides of the issue. Worth the read.