Use information, hide the trace: CItizen’s Privacy in RFID and IoT contexts. Exploratory study for the socio-technical viability of the ‘silence of the chips’ concept (CIPRIoT)

Is the “silence of the chips” concept (Benhamou, 2009) – as defined and used for RFID tags in the Internet of Things (IoT) perspective – still relevant and timely? With the large public use and implementation of RFID systems and their application in the IoT context (and also Wearable and Big Data), the ‘silence of the chips’ concept is at the center of a public and scientific controversy related to its relevance and sustainability. Indeed, stakeholders, such as policy makers, entrepreneurs, scientists (e.g. engineers and some researchers from Humanities), suggest the concept is ‘obsolete’ due to the technical impossibility of erasing citizens’ digital traces and to “the paradigm shift” in the technology-society interactions.

The motivation of the CIPRIoT project is twofold: 1) In a hyperconnected era where the pervasiveness and use of ICT  question the concept of privacy (due to the user digital footprint and trace), assessing the socio-technical sustainability of the concept of ‘silence of the chips’ which technocratic positions would prefer to forget for the benefit of a juridical modification of the concept of privacy ; 2) Creating/consolidating an international and multi-disciplinary research group on the socio-ethical aspects and issues raised by IoT and RFID (as a data vector technology to IoT) in order to support responsible research and innovation in the fields it involves.

Positioned in the field of responsible research and innovation, its results will be consolidated in order to draft policy recommendations and industrial guidelines embedding “privacy (or ethics) by design” perspectives, with the final objective of supporting and promoting an industrial responsible innovation in the RFID and IoT contexts.

The project is conducted in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre (European Commission, Ispra, Italy) & the CNRFID.

Stefano Crabu, PhD, conducted the research as a post-doc fellow.

See also: Le silence des puces, une option pour la maîtrise du chez soi? entretien avec Caroline Rizza, correspondante Leroy Merlin Source