Wednesday, May 03, 2006

RFID, Privacy and Room 101

Less than 20% of Americans have even heard of RFID. That in itself is a shocking statistic, since RFID has the potential of becoming the Big Brother tool that everyone has been wary of -- or should have been wary of -- for years.

When we adopted the cats, the animal shelter wouldn't let them go without an ID chip implanted in the backs of their necks. And that's what I thought we'd eventually come to with people: Parents would be convinced, after an epidemic series of bogus "missing child" alerts, that it would be to their panicky benefit to have their children chipped, and after a couple of generations it would be second nature to everyone except the lunatic fringe, who would still complain about their privacy concerns.

Well, it turns out that "they" can do it surreptitiously, clandestinely, without any kind of invasive procedure, by just planting so-called "inventory control" RFID tags in our clothing.

The Levi Strauss Company is just the latest corporation to jump on the RFID bandwagon, which bodes ill for me, since there is not a time that I can recall in my now-lengthy lifetime when I did not own at least one pair of Levi jeans.

Oh, sure, the technocrats behind the whole RFID movement continue mouthing the usual platitudes about protecting our privacy, blah blah blah, but as we all know, if a technology -- or anything else -- can be used for evil, it will be used for evil.

Evil in this case being Big Brother tracking our every movement with radio frequency detectors, following us wherever we go, using the tags in our clothing. And the neocon koolaid drinkers on the right see nothing wrong with this: If you aren't doing anything wrong, why worry about someone watching you? Just like they say they don't care that Baby Doc is listening to their conversations because they are not saying anything "wrong".

And that is the mindset that has allowed our freedoms to be chipped away, eroded, destroyed, bit by bit over the last several years. It's the classic frog-in-boiling-water syndrome. Our water has been heated up so slowly that most people can't recall what it was like to have those personal freedoms and liberties that have been stolen quietly away from us.

Only those of us out here on the lunatic fringe can remember, and we're all destined for Room 101, sooner or later.


Zombie Hunter said...

RFID could become the stuff of nightmares and nobody has even heard of it.

Puma said...

Oh god, not Levis too? What has scared me the most so far about RFID is the idea of putting them into passports, driver's licenses, and a possible "national ID card."

And they are building those gulags for....what?