Joe Schmoe, a young electronic engineer, has developed a microchip that can be implanted in pets. His microchip design celebrates a state-of-the-art size and considerable information storage. Such information includes the pet owner’s name, address, and phone number; as well as the veterinarian’s name, address, and phone number. The chip uses a passive radio frequency identification technology that allows reading stored information with a basic scanning device. Such devices can be acquired by veterinarians and humane societies.
Joe’s marketing strategy involves targeting humane societies in locations where local ordinances encourage or require pet owners to implant such microchips in pets. Such a strategy would mount to a technological breakthrough given the fact that there are over 200 million pet dogs and cats in the United States. Joe has aspirations to sell tens of millions of microchips in the U.S. alone since his innovation presents no controversial or animal cruelty issues. Given that production costs are modest, Joe invests heavily in marketing the chip on the web, in print media, and at national animal shows. Eventually, Joe’s strategy becomes a success, and he actually sells millions of microchips to the point where his production capacity is stretched too thin. The product growth overwhelms Joe’s ability to produce and distribute the microchip on his own. Joe started seeking multiple production channels, including overseas companies, to keep up with the U.S. market demand. Joe is increasingly ambitious to reach his economic goals.
Case Study Questions
1. Does Joe Schmoe’s ambitious marketing strategy present any privacy concerns with respect to customers’ private information? If so, why? Please, elaborate.
2. How do aspects of electronic information raise legal and ethical issues?