PC World reports that IBM is deploying RFID name tags for visitors at its Information on Demand conference in Las Vegas. It is no secret to registrants, who are offered the option of a non-RFID enabled tag via large signs. The chips’ data is gathered using systems from AllianceTech (Austin, Texas), and will generate a lot of raw data, some of which IBM doesn’t even know what to do with yet.
The chips themselves contain 24-character identifiers including the name, title, and company of the attendees. Data is logged by RFID readers as visitors walk through doors into sessions and meal rooms, and sent to on-site DB2 collection systems in real time. (More details at report.)
The implications of this illustrate the very 1984-ish oversight RFID could provide if misused. Personally, I’d probably opt for the non-tracking name tag, if only for privacy’s sake. If IBM offered me access to my own log data, with an option to review it for a certain period after the conference and delete unwanted data before they analyzed it, I might be much more comfortable with the tracking. Supposedly, only about 2% of the visitors didn’t want to be tracked, but some of the takers just might not have noticed. This technology is getting somewhat scary.