Skip to content

Technologies collide when RFID lawyers begin blogging

RFID. It is an acronym seen more and more frequently in news from around the world. It has been connected to everything from public schools to pet ownership to mass transit. There’s even a LexBlog blog dedicated to it.

But just what, many consumers may be wondering, does RFID exactly mean? And how does it impact me?

That ignorance is one that the lawyers and attorneys at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP are helping clear up with their RFID Law Blog, which provides insights about government use of RFID technology.

To put it as simply as possible, RFID is short for Radio Frequency Identification, a technology that uses radio frequency signals to store and transmit data. (A more detailed description is provided in the RFID Journal’s article “What Is RFID?”). RFID has an almost endless number of possible uses, and in many countries outside of the U.S., the technology plays a more prominent part in citizens’ everyday lives than most Americans see domestically.

But the United States, it seems, isn’t too far behind. Though much of the general public remains unaware of it, RFID already plays a (sometimes unseen) role in their daily lives, as was pointed out by the blog RFID Lowdown in their post late last year, aptly titled “33 Ways RFID Has Invaded Your Life.”

Wow, a layman might think after reading the list. RFID can’t get any more integrated in my life than it already is. Right?

Wrong, according to the RFID Gazette, another RFID blog that just last week published a list of their own that detailed the changes RFID will have on our lives this year.

“Do I think that the general public needs to know more about RFID? Absolutely,” says Douglas Farry, chair of the RFID practice at McKenna Long and blogger at the RFID Law Blog. “I think that more and more companies – as well as government agencies and entities – are using the technology for an increasing variety of uses, and people ought to learn about it and understand it.”

The blog was started after McKenna Long saw that an increasing number of clients were posing questions about RFID and how it related to their business. Though there were already blogs posting news about the various facets of RFID technology – a research analyst at McKenna Long’s Washington D.C. office estimated there are “at least a hundred of them” – none of these provided reliable information on government use.

Five or six people contribute to the blog on a regular basis, Farry says. It has been live since December 2006, and despite being updated only once or twice a week, has had almost 12,000 visitors (with between 1000 and 2000 logging on each month).

According to the research analys, who handles the physical updating of the blog, it was started “as a way to promote our growing interest in this area.” The fairly infrequent updates are not uncommon for a blog with this particular focus.

“We don’t update it as much as we thought we were going to,” he says. “In my opinion, there’s just not a daily need to update this blog because of what it’s talking about (the privacy and security issues). Something doesn’t change every day; it’s not necessary to update it every day.”

Still, he says, when the blog is updated, they’ll usually get some comments from readers.

Farry agrees.

“We’ve definitely gotten emails and phone calls from people interested in the services that we’re providing based on the blog,” he says.

As RFID becomes more integrated into the public sphere – which postings in the RFID Law Blog and recent articles in publications like the Computer Business Review seem to suggest – it is almost certain that interest in it will also increase. Luckily for the public (and for anyone whose business may be impacted by the technology), the lawyers from McKenna Long’s RFID practice group will be there to provide assistance.

Posted in: