Tuesday, November 19, 2013

RFID nation





I have been doing a bit of ghost writing off and on.

It's for a series of books by a chap named Jake Timber and hopefully you'll get the chance to meet him soon (well, perhaps not so "hopefully." I need to let you reserve judgement on that.)  The books are basically adolescent male fantasies bathed in the paranoia of the far right-wing set.

Envision our nation in the future, willingly duped into enslavement under the New World Order.  We are under constant surveillance by x-ray machines, retina scans, and secret police in black combat fatigues.  Saucer-shaped robot drones hover and scan the streets for anyone suspicious.  Those who step out of line are tagged with stun darts and then carted off for "re-education"...or worse.  And that's all before the aliens get involved.

One of the prime tools employed by the NWO to keep the "sheeple" under control is that of the RFID tag.  Radio Frequency IDentification.  Since Jake just hands me the basic story (what he asserts is a true story, no less, but that is for another time), I decided that I needed to do a bit of research on RFID chips in order to give the story a bit of authentic flavor.  Or try to anyway.

The technology behind RFID chips is rather simple (it does not even require a power source) and has been around for a quite a while now.  If you have dogs or cats and are responsible parents, you probably have RFID chips implanted in your pets right now.  That way, should your babies ever (God forbid) get lost, it will be easier to find them and bring them home safely.  There are those who have argued that in light of this, we actually take better care of our pets than we do our kids.  I have no problem with that, but that's another story.  Anyway, with the number of children who are kidnapped or go missing every year, there are those who have expressed interest in "chipping" their kids.

Then there's the elderly.  Senior citizens with dementia or Alzheimer's can and do wander off and get hurt or worse.  Surely they and their families could benefit from chipping so that they could be found and brought home safely as well.

Oh what the hell?  It might be a good idea if we all had an RFID chip just in case, right?

Or so that's the progression of dominoes that conspiracy theorists allege will fall.  One day, it will be mandated that we all be implanted with RFID chips and the more rebellious among us, like Jake, will carve them out of their very skin in a proclamation of "Give me liberty or give me death,"  throwing them to the ground and stomping on them with their combat boots in righteous indignation.

In my research, I came across a book called Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID. On the surface, it appeared to be more conspiracy-heavy talk such as RFIDs causing cancerous tumors and how school kids were protesting RFIDs being placed in their school IDs and whatnot.  Then, I saw it.

The book has an introduction by Bruce Sterling.  Bruce, in case you don't know, is one the highest authors in the pantheon of cyberpunk fiction writers, up there with Gibson, Shirley, and Rucker.  He is also a lifelong tech journalist and writes the blog Beyond the Beyond for Wired magazine.  When he says something, I listen.

So I read the intro (you can too at this link.)  Here's a quote:

"This is an industry with some deeply schizoid doublethink problems, which come directly from its wacky origins in the spy and security communities."
  
Sterling then goes on to rattle off all of the corporations that have invested in RFID tech and ways to bug their customer's clothes, shoes, and other products.  These are moneymakers like Wal-Mart, Proctor & Gamble, Exxon-Mobil, and many other names that I simply don't trust.

I hate to say it.  There could be something to this.  I need to read more, but the idea that Jake might have a point about something...well, it's disquieting to say the least.

One day when you meet him, you'll know.





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