Zip down your jacket so that your ski pass can be checked.What a hassle. Carry money while you ski or ride, and forget which of the 27 pockets you put it in. Why bother? We want convenience, we want simplicity, and we assume security.

I shall go on record to say I love the “idea” of RFID on the ski slope. The pass around my neck or in my pocket without having to pull it out from beneath layers of clothing. Fantastic.  And if that was all it was I would be fine with it.  However, having  knowledge of the information to which the ski pass is linked, I am less enthusiastic.  Name, address, birthdate, billing information, etc is only 2 steps away from having the RFID code. This code can be easily skimmed.

Some of the largest ski areas in the world are doing it.  Under the banner of customer benefit and convenience.  And why not, even the top consumer financial firms are driving RFID and consumer tracking.  What they don’t share, is how the market data you provide adds to their customer behavior models.  Nor do they share how easily this information can be skimmed without your knowledge.  No need to worry about the bandits taking skis and snowboards off the racks at the bottom of the mountain.  There are much easier, and profitable endeavors to be had in the age of RFID.

Secondly, the thought of being tracked as I ski around the mountain and offering information of when I take breaks in the lodges is too “big brother” for me.  I want the ability to opt-out of this tracking.  I don’t have anything to hide, I just don’t want to give this information to a corporate marketing team.  And if you think I am being a little over the top, just wait until you hear the RFID announcements for a few major ski resorts this fall.  Lifts, lift towers, and lodges will have a digital eye to keep track of your RFID pass.  You will hear the benefits, and indeed there are few:

  • iPhone App so that you can track your vertical feet.
  • Ability to find where your friends are on the mountain
  • If your child is lost, he will be easily findable if he is in a restaurant or on a lift.
  • And perhaps even a Facebook-like game with rewards
  • It will also probably link to FB and Twitter in the form of GeoTagging and Geolocation

These have the potential to solve a number of issues during a ski or ride vacation.  However, I prefer to have the option to opt-out or opt-in on a daily basis.  There may be days when I feel as though I want to track my vertical feet, or be tracked by a friend as I ski around the mountain and he is stuck in the office.  But there are days in which I do not welcome this.  I use the Ski Pass Defender for those days, it takes me 5 seconds to secure my pass.  The cost is less than $17 for the Ski Pass Defender.  I can opt-out of constant scanning, and only use my pass for what I intend it to be used, as a LIFT PASS!

You have the right to protect your privacy, it simply takes time to educate yourself.  We are here to help.

Jonathan Lawson has been an expert in the field of Identity Theft Risk Management since 2005.  Mr. Lawson has held dozens of education seminars for minors, adults, and seniors regarding identity theft and risk mitigation.  Mr. Lawson has also worked in the Ski Resort business since 1988.

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