Business & Finance
Commentary
2/15/2004
10:54 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
Commentary
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Editor's Note: RFID Passes The Mom Test

Back when I started covering the IT industry, you knew a technology had become mainstream when daily newspapers wrote about it. These days, technology is such an integral part of our lives that it isn't unusual to hear anyone talking about it. Now, my "mainstream indicator" is whether or not my mother has either heard of the technology or actually uses it. She's not very familiar with radio-frequency identification, but she's not concerned it will let Big Brother track how many boxes of Cheerios she buys. I don't think you should be concerned either. That doesn't mean I don't take privacy seriously. I do. And, hopefully, the more consumers learn about it, the more comfortable they'll feel.

Early adopters realize they need to tackle the privacy issue head on so that customers are clear on what type of data will be collected and how it will be used. It's a good lesson for any company thinking about using RFID to enhance the supply chain.

Speaking of mainstream, it seems that emphasis to protect data and networks from viruses, worms, and other nasty creatures is finally becoming widespread. My colleague George V. Hulme and I chatted with Amit Yoran, the Feds' cybersecurity chief, last week about the state of public/private collaboration in thwarting cyberattacks. He noted that in less than two weeks since the National Cyber Alert System has been operating, it already has more than a quarter of a million subscribers who'll receive security alerts. And more public-awareness campaigns are coming. While Yoran candidly admits that it's not realistic to expect cyberthreats to be eliminated, we applaud the entrepreneurial spirit he's bringing to his department. He wants to increase partnerships with the private sector and exchange tactical and operational methods of securing systems. You can read more about his plans here.

Stephanie Stahl
Editor
sstahl@cmp.com


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