New mobile phones have been designed to include delivery of mobile advertising and other useful location-based services, but have they also been designed to protect consumers' privacy? One of the key enabling technologies for these new types of phones and new mobile services is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), a wireless communication technology that enables the unique identification of tagged objects. In the case of RFID-enabled mobile phones, the personal nature of the devices makes it very likely that, by locating a phone, businesses will also be able to locate its owner. Consumers are currently testing new RFID-enabled phones around the globe, but the phones are not yet in general use by consumers in the United States and Europe. The incorporation of RFID into cell phones in order to deliver mobile advertising and other location-based services raises a host of important privacy questions that urgently need to be addressed before the phones become widely available. Analyzing the risks to consumer privacy in this new context, this paper offers a comparative law analysis of the applicable regulatory frameworks and recent policy developments in the European Union and the United States and concludes that there are many privacy concerns not presently addressed by E.U. and U.S. laws. This article also offers specific ideas to protect consumers' privacy through applications of fair information practices and privacy-enhancing technologies. When mobile phones are RFID-equipped, consumers will need new privacy protections in order to understand the risks and make knowledgeable decisions about their privacy.
Nancy J. King,
When Mobile Phones are RFID-Equipped - Finding E.U.-U.S. Solutions to Protect Consumer Privacy and Facilitate Mobile Commerce,
Mich. Telecomm. & Tech. L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mttlr/vol15/iss1/3