by Thomas Wailgum

RFID Cards Irk Some at MIT

May 01, 20041 min
Internet of ThingsRFID

Not everyone at MIT is thrilled with the state-of-the-art Stata Center, set to open this month. It’s not the Frank Gehry design, however, that bugs Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and a researcher at the university. It’s the security system. At night, Stata Center visitors will need to use an RFID proximity card to enter. This choice incenses Stallman.

“There is no legitimate justification for keeping track of who opens these doors,” Stallman says. “You can just leave these doors open, and the building would have the same amount of security as most of the rest of the campus.” MIT says most buildings use the RFID cards.

Stallman says that MIT could have implemented a different system that protected the visitors’ privacy. Instead, he says, the Institute chose only convenience, and he’s ready to call it a day and take his research elsewhere. “The big sacrifice is leaving MIT,” he says. “I am prepared to make that sacrifice.”