RFID and the future of social networking

RFID tagResearchers at the University of Washington are curious to see what effects RFID technology could have on social networking. To see what happens when the tags become ubiquitous, they installed two hundred antennae in and around a campus building and gave tags to twelve researchers. The results? Their every move is recorded by computer. [image by akaalias]

If that sounds sinister, that’s the entire point. The experiment is designed to see if the negative implications for privacy can be balanced by the more positive functions. [via Roland Piquepaille]

It’s good to see these sort of implications being considered in public … maybe we’ve started to learn from our mistakes and keep an eye on the road ahead?

2 thoughts on “RFID and the future of social networking”

  1. RFID seems a case where we won’t have explicit tracking by the authorities, but anyone will be able to track you based on some random bit of detritus you forgot about – a pack of gum, book, cell phone, etc. All the more sinister, I s’pose.

    Anyone who’s not wanted to tell their spouse their out drinking with whoever(guys or gals) is probably now quaking in their boots.

  2. I think RFID Technology is excellent for improving and developing new ways of doing everyday things. This means it has applications in a myriad of aspects of life; Business, Healthcare, Entertainment, and many other sectors. Privacy issues are a main concern. RFID evolution will mainly depend on the regulations that countries all over the world impose. This means that every country should implement different regulations. The problem is that there are vested interests between what country government and companies want and what consumers want. For sure regulations are a must and external organizations are key players to find a win/win solution.

    In relation to RFID and the future of social networking I found the following extract:

    “The DeaiExplorer RFID application helps colocated conference participants discover interpersonal connections by letting them mutually reveal their social networks on a large display device. The system responds to nearby participants and uses algorithms to dynamically derive interconnected social clusters from a publication database. The system was deployed at a recent international conference, providing quantitative and qualitative data. Analysis of this data reveals interesting implications for designing such RFID-based systems, highlighting new opportunities and key design challenges. This article is part of a special issue on Real-World Deployments.” at:


    Its an analysis that you have to pay if you want to read it, I have nothing to do with the organization that sells it, I simply found it was a very interesting project related to RFID and the future of social networking.

    I also read more about this experiment known as the RFID Ecosystem; as every single object had an RFID tag this means that The Ecosystem can alert users when they have left something behind. E.G. You forget your skateboard in your office and Ecosystem alerts you before you leave the building!

    I agree with you Jeremy about the privacy issues it brings but there is a very positive side if privacy issues have a way to be managed.

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