Interview Filming: Mark MacCarthy

We just wrapped up filming a quick interview with Georgetown University professor Mark MacCarthy! Dr. MacCarthy is the vice president of SIIA (Software and Information Industry Association) and one of the adjunct faculty at CCT. He has taught various courses on information privacy and security policy, internet freedom, development of electronic media, privacy and ethics, and public policy. You can check out his SIIA blog, or follow him on Twitter.

Look forward to more of our production updates, including a 10-minute sample transcript of the interview and a short film about signal-blocking fabrics. 

Why I RFIDon’t: Three Reasons Why Consumers Buy Signal-Blocking Products

Perusing various sites that market RFID-blocking products, such as OFFPocket, Das Keyboard, Amazon reviews, and even personal blogs about DIY RFID cases, there are several themes as to why consumers want to shield their personal items and devices from radio signals.

  1. Privacy is the main reason cited. This means keeping one’s information restricted to the owner, or perhaps a small group of people–but certainly not the public, or in the case of these devices, organizations who might be tracking radio signals (governments, businesses, even criminals).
  2. Security, closely coupled with privacy, is another major reason cited. Security means keeping one’s data protected from outsider individuals or organizations. While this may include keeping the data out of sight (and therefore private), it also includes various obstacles to outsiders–in the case of these fabrics, a very simple structure that blocks incoming electromagnetic waves. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get an encrypted, signal-scrambling shield case…
  3. Convenience is another major factor, and arguably the reason these products exist (because if you wanted your devices private and secure, you could certainly turn off your phone or laptop and achieve the same effect as buying one of these products). Purchasing one of these products is the alternative to turning off the phone, removing the battery, putting it into airplane mode, or even putting the phone in the fridge.


And then there’s some other reasons people like these products — or at least why marketers think consumers like these products. Other reasons cited are the cost – an affordable price for privacy, and style – most of the products are described as “sleek” and “modern,” and even a bit “futuristic.”

Diplomatic passport

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