Sunday, January 27, 2008

RFID Panopticon - Kurt Nimmo

RFID Panopticon

Kurt Nimmo
Truth News
January 26, 2008



It’s sold in the Washington Post — the CIA’s favorite newspaper — as a wonderful world of convenience come true for consumers:

“RFID-enabled refrigerators could warn about expired milk, generate weekly shopping lists, even send signals to your interactive TV, so that you see ‘personalized’ commercials for foods you have a history of buying. Sniffers in your microwave might read a chip-equipped TV dinner and cook it without instruction… Companies say the RFID tags improve supply-chain efficiency, cut theft, and guarantee that brand-name products are authentic, not counterfeit. At a store, RFID doorways could scan your purchases automatically as you leave, eliminating tedious checkouts.”

Excuse me, but I’ll take the tedium.

The problem, critics say, is that microchipped products might very well do a whole lot more.

With tags in so many objects, relaying information to databases that can be linked to credit and bank cards, almost no aspect of life may soon be safe from the prying eyes of corporations and governments, says Mark Rasch, former head of the computer-crime unit of the U.S. Justice Department.




By placing sniffers in strategic areas, companies can invisibly “rifle through people’s pockets, purses, suitcases, briefcases, luggage — and possibly their kitchens and bedrooms — anytime of the day or night,” says Rasch, now managing director of technology at FTI Consulting Inc., a Baltimore-based company.

In an RFID world, “You’ve got the possibility of unauthorized people learning stuff about who you are, what you’ve bought, how and where you’ve bought it … It’s like saying, ‘Well, who wants to look through my medicine cabinet?’”

He imagines a time when anyone from police to identity thieves to stalkers might scan locked car trunks, garages or home offices from a distance. “Think of it as a high-tech form of Dumpster diving,” says Rasch, who’s also concerned about data gathered by “spy” appliances in the home.

Forget identity thieves and stalkers — a distinct minority — and worry about the government using this technology, not to discover what’s in your medicine cabinet per se — by way of HIPAA and Section 215 of the Patriot Act, they may already know this — but rather to keep track of pesky enemies of the state, or would-be enemies of the state, the sort who actually believe they have a right to challenge the government, or even mildly petition it.

For autocrats, a world embedded with a constellation of ubiquitous RFID sensors would be ideal. “A Panopticon Singularity is the logical outcome if the burgeoning technologies of the singularity are funneled into automating law enforcement,” writes Charlie Stross. “Previous police states were limited by manpower, but the panopticon singularity substitutes technology, and ultimately replaces human conscience with a brilliant but merciless prosthesis.”




As Stross notes, the state will use this technology to go after the malcontents and troublemakers, but they will also use it against pedestrian criminals, those minus political persuasion:

If a panopticon singularity emerges, you’d be well advised to stay away from Massachusetts if you and your partner aren’t married. Don’t think about smoking a joint unless you want to see the inside of one of the labor camps where over 50% of the population sooner or later go. Don’t jaywalk, chew gum in public, smoke, exceed the speed limit, stand in front of fire exit routes, or wear clothing that violates the city dress code (passed on the nod in 1892, and never repealed because everybody knew nobody would enforce it and it would take up valuable legislative time). You won’t be able to watch those old DVD’s of ‘Friends’ you copied during the naughty oughties because if you stick them in your player it’ll call the copyright police on you. You’d better not spend too much time at the bar, or your insurance premiums will rocket and your boss might ask you to undergo therapy. You might be able to read a library book or play a round of a computer game, but your computer will be counting the words you read and monitoring your pulse so that it can bill you for the excitement it has delivered.

In a totalitarian society we “are all criminals,” or at least easy marks ready to be fleeced by a sociopathic elite.

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