Re: Barcode Email
From: Ari Silversteinn (abcarisilverstein_at_yahoo.comxyz)
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2005 17:07:00 -0400
> In article <email@example.com>,
> Ari Silversteinn <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>:The point is that there is a market for low level "encryption" that is
>:easily understood by the general public who sees barcodes every day of
>:their lives. They really don't understand how a barcode is made or read,
>:necessarily, but they trust them.
On Tue, 26 Jul 2005 17:05:11 +0000 (UTC), Walter Roberson wrote:
> Vendors still haven't been able to stomp out the "truth" that
> "All barcodes contain 666, The Number Of The Beast".
Not ours, we sued Symbol and had them remove it.
> What would it mean for the general public to *not* trust barcodes?
> The UPCs on boxes and other prepared goods are clearly identical for
> most products that consumers encounter. Some deli counters and so on
> put individualized barcodes on custom-cut/served goods; it often
> only takes a few seconds to see the price written into the code.
> I would thus suggest that consumer trust in commonplace barcodes is
> at least partly reliant on the barcode identifying the class of
> object rather than the individual object -- feelings about barcodes
> might be different if, for example, the tracking were down to the
> level of "this customer prefers to pick up objects from the front left
> row" (something that could be done with RFID.)
I think you seriously over rate the general public's knowledge of barcodes.
> The consumer trust in barcodes is not based upon the reliability of
> the reading technology -- in my experience, at least 1 time in 3, there's
> a package that won't scan. Consumers *will* remember that, and if the
> scan failure rate on the proposed system isn't miniscule, the system
> won't become popular.
I don;t have the same experience and the PDF417 is highly readable with a
cheap MetroLogic scanner. Most scans are not read b/c the scanner is in a
> The consumer trust in barcodes is not based upon anonymity of -what-
> is purchased: every item gets listed on the receipt and it would be
> assumed by most people that the store would keep copies of the receipts.
> And items such as fruit that doesn't usually have barcodes has
> cash-register codes and gets entered on the receipt anyhow.
> The trust is also not based upon anonymity of who buys what: anyone
> who pays by credit-card would tend to wonder whether their itemized
> purchases are being recorded against their ID, and discount cards
> such as those from Safeway (grocery store) don't hide the fact
> that the cards will be used to track individual purchases -- it's
> in the Terms and Conditions. The companies don't usually publicize
> the tracking in big block letters, but they do say, "Well, if you
> don't like being tracked, you don't have to sign up." The tracking
> is open knowledge (though perhaps not "common knowledge"), and
> consumer advocates don't seem to have much success in convincing people
> that they don't want to be tracked ("But using the card saves me money!")
> [Sure, but going to the next supermarket down the street would usually
> save even more money... Brand loyalty can be pretty powerful.]
All true with loyalty cards, yes.
> In locations (e.g., US States) that use bar codes on Drivers License
> and other such ID, is there general trust that the information is
> securely encoded? Not having lived in any such area, I don't know
> what the attitudes are; my reading suggests that there is *not*
> a general trust that the information is secure. I gather that the
> trust is rather that the information is machine-readable and that
> it is "all right there" for anyone who has the right equipment...
> with it being expected that not so many people have the necessary
DL barcodes are all over the place when it comes to what the state does or
does not do. A few encrypt, most don't the info is from everything to a
sample of the front side data. They are practically useless. Hence, the
> I -hypothesize- that the general reaction to Ari's proposal would
> be that people would perceive that "anyone with the right equipment
> could read this". I don't wish to speculate at the moment as to
> whether that would prove a significant market detriment or not.
That's an interesting comment and I would tend to agree, of hand, but how
many people own a barcode scanner?
-- Drop the alphabet for email