Once a week, the BBC allows "radical, inspiring, or controversial" ideas to be presented to their audience on BBC Forum. Last week's forum proposed the idea that every camera should only be allowed to take one photo per day, forcing you to "really have to think" before shooting (as a professional photographer, that idea sucks!). This week's idea is that EVERYONE SHOULD BE MICROCHIPPED FROM BIRTH. This idea comes from American science fiction writer Elizabeth Moon. She argues that this will aid the military in combat and non-combat situations:
“If I were empress of the Universe (emphasis mine - JG) I would insist on every individual having a unique ID permanently attached - a barcode if you will; an implanted chip to provide an easy, fast inexpensive way to identify individuals.
It would be imprinted on everyone at birth. Point the scanner at someone and there it is.
Having such a unique barcode would have many advantages. In war soldiers could easily differentiate legitimate targets in a population from non combatants.
This could prevent mistakes in identity, mistakes that result in the deaths of innocent bystanders. Weapons systems would record the code of the use, identifying how fired which shot and leading to more accountability in the field.
Anonymity would be impossible as would mistaken identity making it easier to place responsibility accurately, not only in war but also in non-combat situations far from the war.”
With all due respect, Elizabeth, don't you or anyone else ever come to my home telling me I have to take a microhip.
Of course, this is not new. The idea of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) has been around for quite some time. The driver's license in your pocket, as well as your passport, are embedded with RFID. While its supporters say it adds convenience to our everyday lives, others say the technology makes it easier to steal someone's identity, as well as track their every movement. The Wall Street Journal ran an article in 2010 where they detailed Wallmart's plan to put RFID tags on all clothing. Although the tags can be removed from the clothing, they can never be turned off. Creepy.
Similarly, CIA Chief David Patraeus declared in March of this year that the "next generation" of home appliances will be able to track items and persons of interest. According to Wired magazine:
Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an “Internet of Things” — that is, wired devices — at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus enthused, “particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.”
All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the “smart home,” you’d be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room’s ambiance.
“Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Petraeus said, “the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.”
Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices “change our notions of secrecy” and prompt a rethink of “our notions of identity and secrecy.” All of which is true — if convenient for a CIA director.
Wired also reported this year that the NSA is building a $2 Billion, 1 million square-foot data spy center in Utah. One intelligence official involved with the project is quoted as saying "This is more than just a data center....Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”
The video is a compilation of clips from lamestream media that actually sheds some light on not only the privacy concerns surrounding RFID, but also the physical dangers:
All of this adds up to an Orwellian nightmare. The people in control of the system are dying to know everything you do, not because they think you are dangerous, but because they are interested in power, and knowledge, in this case a detailed profile of a "person of interest", is power. All those with power want more power, and will stop at nothing to attain that power. RFID is one giant step closer to hegemonic dominance.