If not, we wouldn't been aware of the issue, lawmakers wouldn't be holding hearings, Woz wouldn't get his buzz, and spinmiesters wouldn't have come up with such nonsense as RFID as a homeland defense technology.
Esther Dyson points out that RFID raises new questions because enables identity for products ("object identity") -- and that privacy concerns may be overstated:
...Despite the obsession with tags, both among investors and among self-styled consumer advocates, the real issue around data and RFID is more with the data it generates than with what’s on the tags. Most tags don’t carry much more than their own identity: what kind of thing they are, plus a unique serial number. The interesting data comes from the context: where the item travels, who purchases it, and so forth. The directory of what things are is public; it will be the EPC. But that’s like a domain name; it gives you the pointer, but it doesn’t necessarily give you access to the data. That is, I can find out what kind of product a certain number refers to, and I may have the unique serial number. It’s like a license plate… I know you are Fred Jones, but I don’t know anything else about you. What good is that? at least product categories are helpful…
So the problem is not with the tags themselves, but the systems that manage them. In whole, however, they represent a tracking technology which impells the need for political, industrial and social oversight.
Whenever a technology of control is created, it calls for oversight and oversight can be accelerated by empowering a broader base of developers. The more people hacking it, the more open it is, the more oversight is fostered.
Today it is the IBMs of the world developing RFID systems, mostly for large companies with large inventories and supply chains. But RFID can be an accessible technology. Active tags operate in the same band as Wifi. Syncan sells a $150 RFID reader for your laptop and the tags themselves are dirt cheap.
Ben Hammersley points out how people are hacking cognitive radios. If you didn't know already, air and what passes through it is terribly political, and object identities will be even more so. With every hack, there is the risk of regulatory intervention, such as with iTrip transmitters being banned in the UK. But the absence of hacks in a class of technology should concern consumers and lawmakers alike.
What Saffo called "Smartifacts" are components that support a larger model of social interaction (in the shift from Processing to Access to Interaction). Today most RFID development is in support tracking physical assets. But if we can reach resolution on privacy issues (without saying its a necessary invasion to fight terrorism), to embrace open use -- social sensors can support a variety of interaction models.
So the more people you have hacking this cheap and accessible technology, the lesser the risk of technology abuse and the quicker we reach the stage where we interact with our objects in ways we wish.