Lobby groups could hijack the RFID debate if retailers don’t take the issue of educating people about the technology more seriously, according to the first major survey of consumer attitudes to RFID.
Individually tagged products are already hitting stores and retailers could risk a GM-style consumer backlash if they don’t do some serious PR before wider rollouts begin, predicts a survey of 2,000 European consumers conducted by consultancy Capgemini.
Most consumers have a favourable perception of RFID or are blissfully unaware of it, according to the survey.
However, more than half believe retailers could use the tags to track shoppers’ movements after exiting stores, target them with unsolicited direct marketing or pass on their data to third parties.
Capgemini European RFID head Ard Jan Vethman said: “Should the industry fail to educate consumers, the role will default to consumer groups, which have already raised the issue of privacy.”
Many consumers were unaware that RFID tags did not actually contain any data, but served instead as reference codes, he said.