France Telecom, Hewlett-Packard and five other companies got a go-ahead from the U.S. government to form a patent consortium to share high-frequency radio technology used in tracking and identification, according to the Justice Department.
Each of the companies holds at least one patent that a standard-setting group had judged essential to create a type of system that uses a radio frequency to track tagged items. The system is used by stores to track merchandise, in ID cards, and by airlines to track baggage.
“The consortium’s proposed pooling arrangement appears reasonably likely to yield efficiencies,” Thomas Barnett, the assistant attorney general for antitrust, wrote in a letter to the companies’ lawyers.
“It includes safeguards reasonably tailored to minimize the risk of harm to competition,” Barnett wrote.
Regular readers [and commenters] know I don’t find any technology inherently evil. Human beings are needed to turn processes and products to a criminal end – or equally backwards political use.
Still, given the questions raised from most of the political spectrum about governments considering “tagging” citizens – you might expect this consortium to include a bit of language that supports individual privacy in their manifesto. Or don’t they care?