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Rock Street, San Francisco

By Implementing RFID technology, loyalty cards, electronic toll collection, digital video recorders, and online bill payments – all these things made people’s lives better, and more convenient. Dante expected to see new products that made people’s lives better at the Live Wireless conference, organized by the Silicon Valley consultancy Cybrum. He had presentations in the morning, and later he would spend the day in the exhibit hall scouting for partnerships, competitive intelligence, and inspiration. One exhibitor particularly captured Dante’s attention. That was the company ChildWare.

It is a startup behind a egistered-user initiative being tested in two major U. S. cities. Parents in designated school districts provided local police with their children’s names, addresses, school information, medical histories, and fingerprints. The police gave each child an electronic ID tag (inserted directly under the skin), so their location can be tracked by readers mounted in classrooms, lunchrooms, playgrounds, etc. After presenting this new idea to the public, questions and concerns began to flood from all sides. People were very concerned about privacy and safety. Dante was very skeptical about this whole idea.

He asked: You really believe that parents are going to buy into this? The sales representative of ChildWare tried to persuade him by stating that this technology will significantly help in finding lost children. Dante was intrigued where this technology could find its application. Since Raydar was in the tracking business, this new technology could be the future of tracking. He thought how his company can find a better application for this technology. In the meantime, outside of the conference rooms, there were dozens of people protesting against this new technology, because they feared that it will invade their privacy.

Thinking about where RFID technology could find its application, Dante noticed the marketing director of KK Incorporated, a clothing company which was a major customer of Raydar. The company, formerly known as KoolKids, manufactured shirts, pants, sweaters, hats, visors, etc. , and sold them in through its own Outlets with little earnings. After the advice Of a branding consultant, the company changed its name to KK, redesigned its clothes, and remodeled its stores. These stores were designed as teen hangouts, and became very popular among teenagers. Sales jumped to 77%.

But this sudden growth had its downside. Theft and miscounts in the warehouses increased, and the company began to experience stock outs (shortage of supply). So, that’s when Raydar stepped in and had been working on upgrading KK’s supply chain: equipping its warehouses with tags. The goal was to give KK a clearer picture of how many items were moving out of the warehouses, and to create a database that would show KK and its supplier when they were running low on some items. The marketing director presented Dante a great idea of how they could implement RFID technology in their clothing.

The idea was to put flat tags in the bills of the caps and isors, so when customers will enter the store, the readers will show customer information: amount spent, size of clothes, method payment, etc. Dante was in a dilemma what to do next. He was concerned about invading the privacy of the customers, but at the same time this was an excellent opportunity to strengthen Raydar’s cutting-edge reputation. He needed to make his decision and advise KK what to do about tagging its products. What should Dante advise KK to do about tagging its products?

In my opinion, Dante should not implement the idea and should try to convince KK that this echnology is pushing too far and invading customers privacy. To really believe that such a practice of putting tags on clothing to keep customers coming for more in a store is a really ill-advised thing to do. It is an ethical issue that should be avoided entirely. The KK Company has not discussed anything about safety and protecting the privacy of their customers. They clearly don’t care about the security of their customers. Therefore, they should consider the ethical, moral, legal, and political implications of their actions.

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