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IEEE Spectrum cover & satan’s mouthpiece

I wrote a quick article (pdf / scan) detailing my life with RFID implants for IEEE Spectrum magazine a while back and today I got my own personal print copy. I remember the photographer setting up a shoot in a church of all places to take the source photos for this article. He was a fun guy to work with, but I was still surprised by the use of a film based camera, especially with all the digital artist work that’s done to all the photos. The art (pdf) they did for explaining how an advanced one-time-use style RFID enabled lock works is pretty good too.

Lately I’ve been getting more emails from people saying I’m the devil and I’m a government puppet… “the basics” as I’ve begun calling it. For now I’m responding politely, but I’m not getting into drawn out converstaions filled with spirited debate as I was before… I’m rather busy lately doing a ton of coding and learning new programming methods. I’ve not done much in flash before, but now I’ve stumbled across Adobe Flex 2.0, which really shows how mature ActionScript is becoming.

I think the article (pdf) that follows the one I wrote in the magazine is rather interesting… it covers the ethics of RFID, paticularly implants. Personally, I still think this is a moot point as biometric systems get better at detecting fakes and eliminating false positives. It is much easier to identify people based on facial structure, chemical scent, finger print, iris scans, and eventually real-time DNA scans than to get them to concent to an implant proceedure, and it is infinately easier to enroll people in these types of programs… sometimes without their even knowing it. People in the UK are tracked all the time using facial recognition via the huge network of city-wide video cameras, even though the people being tracked have never surrendered their picture to the system.

On just about every level, it makes no sense to me why an RFID implant would be better at identifying a member of the public over biometric scanning, especially when biometric scanning can be done at a distance, without any real concent given by the target. RFID is probably a big issue to people simply because the clothing tag or implant is tangible. Implants are something that goes into the body, and something that people can work with mentally. While at the same time, everyone seems to give up their fingerprints and blood and things like that all the time with no thought to big brother or having any privacy concerns. They navigate through a virtual gauntlet of video cameras from the second they step out their front door, all without giving much thought to who is watching or what computer imaging systems are doing with the images being gathered and stored… sometimes for years.

Really, the only reason this issue of RFID implants keeps cropping up is the current CEO of VeriChip, Scott Silverman. Like all CEOs, this guy has a legal responsibility to ensure his company, which deals in controversial RFID technology, makes money. In other countries, VeriChip is setting up programs where implanted people can pay for drinks and gain access to VIP rooms in clubs using their implant and other kinds of similar programs. This wouldn’t work in the US… it would flat out flop… and they know that. So, the best way for his controversial product to get to market in the US is to work with the government to ensure the government can enforce implantation programs on non-US citizens who want to enter and work in the US. That way, they can generate revenue while at the same time begin to break down the social barriers to market here in the US. People email me all the time, saying I’m a puppet of government and that I’m trying to help the government enslave people. The truth is, this isn’t a giant government conspiracy, this is a corporate marketing strategy plain and simple. Of course, the government is taking an interest as well… I’m not saying they won’t leverage the technology for potentially sinester uses… what I am saying is that there is no grand plot… all that is at work here is just people with their adgendas.

Scott Silverman, who has no ethical qualms about implanting every man, woman, and child with his product, wants VeriChip to prosper. Certain members of the government probably feel the public is better off (sometimes read “safer”) being tracked and managed like cattle than they are without government micromanagement… and what’s worse… some people FEEL like they would be safer or better off if big brother was micromanaging their lives. It’s almost like prisoners that get out and can’t function in real life, so they commit more crimes just to get back into prison. The master plan that everyone fears is only stealing focus from the real fact that individuals themselves are the problem.

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2 Responses to “IEEE Spectrum cover & satan’s mouthpiece”

  1. […] century. So, if RFID scares the crap out of you, try befriending an RFIDer instead of calling them satan’s mouthpiece. Bookmark […]

  2. […] it comes to more tangible identification devices like RFID tags and implants. I’ve posted a couple times about how RFID is attacked while biometric technologies skate due to this tangibility issue, […]

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