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Panel on privacy and security

21 November, 2005

The US digital rights organisation EPIC organised a panel with a preview of their annual privacy and human rights report, with 7 panellists from all continents, from China to Argentina, and from Israel to the Arab Human Rights Watch. Speaker Alberto Escudero-Pascual from Sweden/Spain focussed on the RFID badges given to every participant. Some participants were given badges in which the mini-chip was included, others were given a cheaper add-on RFID-sticker on their badge. Escudero-Pascual briefly explained the results of his earlier research into the RFID badges handed out to participants in Geneva in 2003.

Though he said the mini-chip could probably not be read at any significant distance and the tags were probably only used at the entrance where everybody had to hold their tag against a reader to match the picture on their badge with the picture of the computer screen, he strongly objected to the fact that nobody was told about the badges. He also protested against the fact that the WSIS organisation failed to produce any privacy statement, in spite of repeated requests from civil society.

Free source software champion Richard Stallman did not let the RFID badge go by unnoticed. He demonstratively foiled the badge in tin foil, preventing any secret scanning, but alerting an immense crowd of security employees to his odd behaviour.

Public Voice Symposium (18.11.2005)

Highlights from the Privacy & Human Rights 2005

Research: the physical access security to WSIS: a privacy threat for the participants (December 2003)

Richard Stallman Gets in Trouble with UN Security for Wearing a Tin-Foil Hat (18.11.2005)



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