Friday, September 18, 2009

A post about RFID.

I have slowed down a bit--life has intruded. I have an impressive backlog of things to discuss, though, and I intend to follow through. Until then, though, here is what I posted to an online discussion forum concerning RFID technology. I will follow up later with a more thorough explanation.

My post is part of a discussion concerning the growing trend of governments proposing the placement of RFID transponders in things like inspection stickers and license plates, ostensibly to measure travel down to the mile and tax people on their movement. That's annoying, to be sure, but it doesn't take much imagination to think of even more nefarious uses of these devices.

Well, there's a way to fight back--figure out where the chips are and shield
them so they can't be read. Fairly easy to do, FOR NOW. But we shouldn't even
have to fight back--people should be asking our consent and explaining what the
benefit is *to us*.

FOr instance, I *consent* to having an Enhanced Drivers License so I can go to
Canada with a minimum of hassle. (Of course, few bother to ask why I need
permission to cross a boundary that exists only in people's minds and not in
reality, but asking those sorts of questions is clearly too much for most

I *consent* to having an ORCA pass, because using one allows me to use transit
in order to save money (more unasked questions there, too, but you're tired of
hearing them by now).

I *consent* to having a RFID-readable debit card, because I am both too lazy to
demand a debit card not containing a chip, and I can also see how it might
occasionally save me 30 seconds, which might be important in some cases (don't
even get me started about the questions concerning this).

But I only *consent* to having my chips read *when I want them read*, and at
*no* other time. This is why I want an RFID-shielding wallet so badly (and
hopefully I'll have one soon, it's supposedly en route).

Here's one more unasked question, though: I am educated concerning these
issues, but SO FEW other people are. Walk into a Nordstrom and ask someone if
they sell RFID-shielding wallets. Most of them will be like, "wat?" The
people who make these devices fucking *know* this, too, so what do you think
they're going to do with the pervasive availability of this technology?

Not to mention the increasing frequency in which these devices are foisted
on us against our will. We have very limited ways of fighting back, too, but
there are ways, and I suggest we avail ourselves of them and tell as many
people as possible.

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