The use of RFID in the retail sector is truly diverse: tracking products to improve supply chain efficiency and increase visibility of inventory are just two benefits. Back office software and processing capabilities allow the handling of increasingly large banks of data obtained from RFID. However, retailers must take care to manage the legal risks of RFID implementation. Civil liberties groups and those concerned with the implications of RFID technology on consumer privacy, liken it to 1984 type surveillance. Retailers must ensure that the personal data collected is secure and is not kept any longer than necessary by incorporating RFID into existing data protection and compliance programs. With some consideration and hard work, RFID data can be implemented lawfully in all such data usage scenarios.
auto ID rfid – dealing with the data Ian Sampson, partner in the technology and outsourcing team at Addleshaw Goddard, warns of potential legal risks in retail RFID implementation T he use of RFID in the retail sector is truly diverse: tracking products to improve supply chain efficiency and increase visibility of inventory are just two benefits. The potential exists for enhanced and concerns were raised. When information security is thrown into the bargain, it’s clear that there are copious legal hurdles to be considered. Responding to these concerns, the Information Commissioners’ office issued a Addressing Privacy Challenges and Gaining Commercial Advantage RFID technology offers enormous data possibilities for retailers. However, adopters of accurate information flow — refreshed faster statement that confirmed that “where the use RFID must communicate openly and comply than ever was achievable before. Large retailers of such tags involves the collection, generation with the guidance issued to date if they are to (reportedly Wal-Mart and the UK’s Marks & or disclosure of personal information, then avoid or at least reduce the risk of consumer Spencer) are using RFID with substantial returns the Data Protection Act 1988 will apply. This and regulatory backlash. Retailers would be at many levels. means that individuals must be aware when wise to consider the following: Back office software and processing information is being collected about them The requirement of ‘fair and lawful capabilities allow the handling of increasingly and what for.” However, the Information processing’ is broad and means that large banks of data obtained from RFID. Commissioner goes on to say: “Even where deployers of RFID tags may need to label As such, companies are continuing to build personal information is involved, it is perfectly those products containing tags, provide comprehensive profiles of consumer behaviour, possible to comply with the act.” To do this, information on how to disable or remove tags spending habits, preferences, and the and inform consumers when RFID readers movement of goods — and using these for a range of intelligent data activities including with some are within range. Retailers must also ensure that the highly targeted marketing and dynamic pricing. However, retailers must take care to manage consideration personal data collected is secure and is not kept any longer than necessary the legal risks of RFID implementation including • RFID Technology Contracts and hard work, by incorporating RFID into existing data
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