Julie Manning Magid
Associate Professor of Business Law
RFID and Privacy: An Integrative Approach
Privacy law is a confusing concept for everyone. For consumers who receive privacy statements in the mail or agree to privacy rules before using a web site, for businesses who collect information for marketing efforts or supply chain efficiencies, for anyone who is interested in new technology but aware of the tradeoffs in identity protection. Typical concepts of privacy in the law seem inadequate in light of emerging technologies, such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Regulation of technology with privacy implications often fails in two crucial ways. The first is that privacy concerns limits the operational use of the technology and discourages developing the full potential of technological advances. The second is that the legal theory does not incorporate adequately a range of important understandings about privacy gleaned from economic, behavioral and sociological research. We advocate for an integrative privacy approach utilizing the three crucial Integrative Considerations gleaned from integrative theoretical research: 1) individuals expect to own, control and share personal information even after disclosing it; 2) advancing technologies raise concerns about bounded rationality and ineffective analysis, by the individual, of the costs and benefits of disclosing personal information; and 3) the significant threat to personal privacy comes not from the initial disclosure of personal information but from the subsequent re-use, transfer to third parties and aggregation of that information. We apply the Integrative Considerations to RFID.