Jaap-Henk Hoepman, TNO
Increasingly, products for sale in shops are being tagged by RFID tags. These tags contain a unique product- or item number, which can be read out wirelessly over a short distance by an RFID reader. Their function in shops and supermarkets is similar to the ubiquitous paper barcode, except that RFID tags can also be read out if the tag is not in plain sight of the reader. This means these tags can also be read out surreptitiously when walking around the store, or afterwards when the items are in your shopping bag and you are walking on the street. This also holds true for payment cards and travel passes (e.g. the OV chipcard in the Netherlands) that people carry with them. This has raised concerns about the impact for RFID technology on the privacy in our society [Rathenau].
That is why there are currently several initiatives [ISO] that try to inform consumers about the presence and use of RFID tags in the items that they buy or the cards they carry with them. The aim is to allow producers and shop owners to inform the consumer about what information they will collect, what they will do with it, and with whom they will share it. It is up to the consumer to decide whether to go ahead and buy the item, or not to buy the item after all. Consumers in these initiatives are informed through signs or logos in the shop or on the items themselves.
Goal of the project is to develop a demonstrator of a different way to inform consumers about the RFID tags on the items they buy or the tags that surround them in their environment. Main idea is to use a mobile phone to display information about RFID tags in the vicinity.