Privacy, or the right to hold information about oneself in secret (Masuda, 1979; O’Brien & Yasnof, 1999), has become increasingly important in the information society. With the rapid technological advances and the digitalization of information, retrieval of specific records is more rapid; personal information can be integrated into a number of different data files; and copying, transporting, collecting, storing, and processing large amounts of information is easier. Additionally, the advent of the World Wide Web and the fast-paced growth of the Internet have created further cause for concern. The vast amounts of digital information and the pervasiveness of the Internet facilitate new techniques for gathering information—for example, spyware, phishing, and cookies. Hence, personal information is much more vulnerable to being inappropriately used. This article outlines the importance of privacy in an e-commerce environment, the specific privacy concerns individuals may have, antecedents to these concerns, and potential remedies to quell them.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): A radio-supported identification technology typically operating by saving a serial number on a radio transponder that contains a microchip for data storage.
Savant: Normed interface between commercial RFID middleware and its target application; used for aggregating RFID identification events into custom-designed events.
Transponder: Mobile information carrier consisting of microchip, antenna, and coupling unit, which can be attached to an object and store data identifying the object or its (transport) history. Term originated from both transmitter and responder.
Edgeware: Control software that transforms the raw data of radio communication into events compatible with the respective application and also reformats application commands into transponder-legible data.
Middleware: Software residing on a server between readers and enterprise applications to filter data and pass on only useful information to applications. Some middleware is able to manage readers on a network.
Electronic Product Code (EPC): 64- or 96-bit code based on current numbering schemes (Global Trade Item Number [GTIN], etc.) containing a header to identify the length, type, structure, version, and generation of the EPC, the manager number, which identifies the company or company entity, the object class, similar to a stock keeping unit (SKU), and a serial number, which uniquely identifies a specific item of the object class.
Reader: Reading device or interrogator communicating with both the transponders (reading/writing) and the external target application; format can be stationary (gate or vehicle-bound), compact, or mobile.
Coupling Unit: Allows the modulation of coded commands onto a magnetic or electromagnetic alternating field; can vary in size and form.
Bar Code: An automatic identification technology that encodes information into an array of adjacent varying width parallel rectangular bars and spaces, which are scanned by a laser.