While acknowledging the benefits of radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies concerning inventory control, faster checkout at retailers across the country and—potentially—the war on terrorism, U.S. House members today expressed concern that the privacy rights of consumers might be compromised unless precautions are taken.

In a House subcommittee hearing, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), noted the ability of sellers or their agents to track RFID-tagged products bought by consumers, which he said “raised questions about how to ensure the privacy rights of buyers.” However, Barton added that lawmakers would be careful not to jump to “Orewellian conclusions.” Representatives from Wal-Mart, Proctor & Gamble, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Privacy Information Center testified.