The Sunday Telegraph reports that several councils in Australia want to add radio frequency identification (RFID) technology (which transmits data wirelessly from a chip or tag to a reader) to library books, CDs and DVDs in order to deter thieves.
The microchips, which are designed to prevent theft and improve stock management, are set to revolutionise library operations.
Instead of polite letters requesting the return of overdue books, the chip will lead council staff straight to the borrowed items.
But civil libertarian groups believe the system could be an invasion of privacy.
Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesman Geordie Guy said the technology could be used to spy on people.
“If these systems are implemented on the cheap, you wind up with situations where someone can cobble together a reader, stand outside a library and detect what books people have borrowed,” he said.