63% of RFID-Aware Consumers Are Concerned about Invasion of Privacy

Fears about use of information by government lead concerns


COLUMBUS, OH -- In a recent study of over 8,000 consumers conducted by Artafact LLC and BIGresearch, 63% of consumers who are aware of RFID reported feeling very or somewhat concerned about invasion of privacy issues. Those most sensitive to the issue surprisingly are men (65%) and they tend to be older (35-54 years of age), better educated and higher income than the general population.

Government tops the list of bad guys as the organization most likely to abuse consumer privacy information with 88% of those people concerned with privacy believing that the government is the biggest threat to using their information without explicit permission. The government is followed by "crooks and bad guys" according to consumers as well as banks, insurance companies and credit card companies as additional threats.

Consumers express being more concerned with privacy issues today than ever before. And with many forms becoming electronic, they are cautious about divulging personal information and are taking active steps to protect themselves such as checking to make sure websites are secure before submitting information and shredding paper and mail received unsolicited at home. Many believe their personal information is easily obtained by companies through magazine subscriptions and frequent buyer programs implemented by grocery stores and airlines.

Although consumers recognize the "perks" of being rewarded for loyal shopping behavior, they are also concerned that their information is not protected and will be shared without their permission. "Almost everyone knows somebody lately who has had a bad experience with privacy invasion, credit card abuse or identify theft," said Linda Stegeman, President of Artafact. "In online focus groups, they recount stories of friends or families who have been affected by institutions or crooks and bad guys getting access to their personal information."

Only 35% of consumers concerned about protecting their personal information believe that RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a "good idea." However, they also recognize the business benefits of easily tracking merchandise and preventing theft. Many consumers think they will not reap any benefit from RFID technology and are concerned with the potential for misuse, given the "lack of safeguards."