John Galt's Blog

I am, therefore I'll think

John Galt

John Galt
December 23
John Galt is not my name. That is not me in the pic. I am a frustrated American who, like the character in the Ayn Rand book, is witnessing his society crumble around him. I'm not so sure how to change things, but like John Kennedy once said: "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try"

Editor’s Pick
MAY 23, 2012 12:59PM

BBC: ‘Barcode Everyone At Birth’

Rate: 6 Flag

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.

Just say NO.

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I think this is fascinating, but I pity the fool who wires our house. They will be so bored. "You mean, all they do is sit and read and watch TV and eat?"
This idea has been swirling since The Manchurian Candidate was written. It's just a matter of time. Scientists pioneering the birth of the computer age were working on chips in the 70s to insert into humans' brains and they haven't stopped researching ways in which to manipulate our thoughts or mobility.
Welcome to the new world of robotics! One day ALL quadraplegics and patients who've lost limbs will be able to control prosthetics with their minds.
I'm old enough to remember the complaining and whining of a few decades ago when they required everyone to get a social security card. At that time it wasn't necessary until you got your first job, but the carrying on over human beings being reduced to numbers! It was an offense to personhood.

The level of monitoring of our lives now was unthinkable then, and would have been absolutely horrifying if suggested. We're all so used to it now. This would just be one more thing.
I second Amy's comment. Pity the poor typists who have to transcribe all this bullshit.
One more damn thing to make me glad I'm old. Or a whole string of them.
Gee, back when I was growing up I didn't realize that Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 were actually instruction manuals...

So does the "Inner Party" (a.k.a. "the one percent") get tagged too, or is this just for us proles? Just wondering...

Obviously I'm not the first person to realize how much this is like 1984 or the fact that there was something about this in the final chapter of the bible but I can't help but wondering if they would allow "radical, inspiring, or controversial" ideas if they actually involved improving the quality of democracy or creating it in the first place. Perhaps something that involves educating the public in the most effective way possible and allowing them to have the information they need to participate in the decision making process.

What was it that Steve Martin said over thirty years ago?

Hummm...not to mention, on top of everyone else's ideas on the subject, that judeo-christian belief is that this is an end of the world, mark of the beast issue. Not good, especially the cyanide dose.
Mmm-hmm. Yeah, brand everyone so they'll be easily identifiable.

Didn't a crackpot in Germany try that once?