Radio-frequency ID and human tagging: newer coercions

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Kakabadse, NK, Kouzmin, A & Kakabadse, A 2010, ‘Radio-frequency identification and human tagging: newer coercions’, International Journal of E-Politics, vol.1, no. 2, pp. 29-45.

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Technological innovation continually shifts boundaries of possibilities and at the same time challenges ethical dimensions. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology challenges both what is possible and what is ethical. On this basis, this paper incorporates an analysis of RFID development and provides penetrating insight concerning the ethical issues society faces and will face. Attention is given to the burgeoning and challenging field of human-centred RFID technology and its impact on the individual’s privacy, safety, civil liberty and on society in general. The paper briefly outlines the history of RFID and identifies three broad themes concerning the application of RFID tags for the purpose of human “branding”. In particular, the social rights impact of implants in humans, the potential and actual damage of implants to the physical health of the person, and the ownership, use and miss-use of information collected through implant technology, act as the central themes. In conclusion, the authors identify the critical areas surrounding human branding that require research and public deliberation.

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