Håkan Djuphammar, VP of Systems Architecture for Ericsson, made a prediction recently that all new mobile phones sold after Summer 2010 would have two-way RFID chips in them that would allow them to act as a tag or a reader.
If what you just read sounds like technobabble, watch this short news excerpt to get up to speed. Even if you’re not interested in technology, you should learn about the possibilities and the dangers of RFID:
Back to the mobile phone: yes, it would be perfectly easy for all mobile phones on the planet to have an RFID tag/scanner in them. The possibilities for making use of RFID, like the numbering scheme itself, are practically endless. People in Asia use their mobile phones to buy drinks from vending machines all the time, and according to Djuphammar:
the chip might also be used by credit card companies to track the location of cardholders to cut down on fraud.
This was followed up on the Wired Magazine article about this story with a great user comment:
So, the myriad of privacy concerns aside, does this mean I won’t be able to use my credit card if I leave my phone at home?
RFID doesn’t inherently scare me. I already use one in the keyfob for my car when unlocking the door and starting the engine. It raises ethical concerns, and I think we should plan our next moves carefully. We don’t have a great history of moving carefully forward (people still drive without seatbelts all the time), which is one of the reasons I’m hoping you’ll educate yourself and your friends about this starting today.
If you have the means and the time, I highly recommend the book Everyware: the dawning age of ubiquitous computing, which not only details many possibilities for taking advantage of RFID, it also contains a great starting point for a positively ethical “post-PC” future (including some really neat new icons).
RFID-Enabled Phones Could Let Credit Card Companies Track Users, Kim Zetter, Wired Magazine, June 25, 2009
Updated June 23, 2016 and originally published June 26, 2009.