News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinesecuritybigbrotherdatabases — Viewing Item

Rfids on sanfransisco library books

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Posted on Fri, Mar. 05, 2004
S.F. library officials grilled on plan to put trackers in books

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco library officials hosted a public forum Thursday to hash out the thorny issue of radio frequency identification tags - small, paper-thin devices known as RFIDs that the city librarian wants to put in books to improve inventory control.

Critics of the idea say there are serious privacy concerns about exactly what information would be contained on the tags and how secure the devices would be. They fear third parties, bored hackers or the federal government might find a way to surreptitiously find out who's reading what.

"Privacy is really the handmaiden of the First Amendment," said Ann Brick, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. Brick stressed that while libraries are historically trustworthy about protecting with patron information, the prying technology of others may not be so kind.

"It's the rest of the world that we're really worried about," Brick said.

Several large city libraries throughout the United States use RFIDs for inventory control. And retailers are increasingly adopting the technology to streamline their operations and cut down on theft.

The system that the San Francisco library envisions would identify which items were checked out to whom, and then special gates installed at the exit doors would detect whether the book had physically left the premises.

Kathy Lawhun, chief of the city's main library and a proponent of the RFID proposal, described the technology as benign by design.

"RFID is simply a chip with an antenna," Lawhun said. "You can have as little or as much as you want on that chip."

San Francisco library administrators insist the information that would be contained on the RFID chip would be the same that currently exists on the barcode system.

Others at the forum raised concerns about whether adding RFIDs to the many radio-powered devices that have proliferated throughout the city, such as cell phones, could cause health problems for their users. At that point city librarian Susan Hildreth held up her main library access card dangling around her neck, containing similar technology.

"We have it by our chest everyday. We're not dead yet," Hildreth said to chuckles from the panel.

Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said it's not the power of the chip, but those who would choose to exploit such devices in the future, that should be of concern.

"Now is the time to seriously worry about the government using RFIDs to track people," Tien told those in attendance.

Insecure RFIDs, which retain data that can be linked to personal information, are a danger, Tien argued.

"Insecure RFIDs ... make secret things possible," he added.

San Francisco's RFID plan still must pass muster with the mayor's office, the board of supervisors and the city's seven-member library commission.

RFID-enabled devices are expected to abound as the cost of RFID readers go down. Stockholm-based Cypak, AB Tuesday that it has developed a disposable computer made of a small RFID tag and printable sensors on paperboard.


3 million americans dna in federal dabase { June 3 2006 }
Aclu warns big brother
Bookstore record seizures { June 22 2003 }
British company offers homeland security database { December 12 2004 }
Everychild in england on safety list database
Expand dna databases
FBI broke law when collection domestic data { June 14 2007 }
Fbi reach in citizens financial records { November 12 2003 }
Fbi terror watch list has half million names { June 13 2007 }
Fbi wants fingerprints iris scans in database { January 15 2008 }
Federal plans database for all college and university students { November 29 2004 }
Feds sift americans banking records for terror { June 23 2006 }
Florida new counterterrorism database { August 6 2003 }
Immigration database lawsuit
Lexisnexis database personal information hacked
Medical info { August 13 2002 }
Minn state run police database shut down { December 18 2003 }
National crime information center database
New computer communcation homeland security network { February 24 2004 }
Nsa mines millions ordinary americans phone records
Parents shoot down statewide immunization database { March 31 2005 }
Pentagon creating student database { June 23 2005 }
Pentagons data collection jetblue
Pre crime
Rfids on sanfransisco library books
Single terror watch list
South carolina storing baby dna { June 25 2002 }
System use 50 times data loc { May 19 2003 }
Terror databases
Terror list denies citizens economic services { March 27 2007 }
Terror list has 5 million { January 20 2004 }
Us fingerprint british and other allies { April 2 2004 }

Files Listed: 32


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple