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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Maybe A Chip in a Goat Doesn't Worry You

But maybe this story on the AP will.

Microchips Everywhere: a Future Vision


Here's a vision of the not-so-distant future:

Microchips with antennas will be embedded in virtually everything you buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to track consumer items - and, by extension, consumers - wherever they go, from a distance.

A seamless, global network of electronic "sniffers" will scan radio tags in myriad public settings, identifying people and their tastes instantly so that customized ads, "live spam," may be beamed at them.

In "Smart Homes," sensors built into walls, floors and appliances will inventory possessions, record eating habits, monitor medicine cabinets - all the while, silently reporting data to marketers eager for a peek into the occupants' private lives.

Science fiction?

In truth, much of the radio frequency identification technology that enables objects and people to be tagged and tracked wirelessly already exists - and new and potentially intrusive uses of it are being patented, perfected and deployed.

Some of the world's largest corporations are vested in the success of RFID technology, which couples highly miniaturized computers with radio antennas to broadcast information about sales and buyers to company databases.

Already, microchips are turning up in some computer printers, car keys and tires, on shampoo bottles and department store clothing tags. They're also in library books and "contactless" payment cards (such as American Express'"Blue" and ExxonMobil's "Speedpass.")

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.

At home, convenience is a selling point: 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.

"We've seen so many different uses of the technology," says Dan Mullen, president of AIM Global, a national association of data collection businesses, including RFID, "and we're probably still just scratching the surface in terms of places RFID can be used."

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


Gina said...

The scariness continues...

Maybe if chipping our animals doesn't scare the general, non-livestock owning population, something like this will.

I am thinking that all homesteading skills we can (re)learn are going to come in handy in more ways than one. This includes sewing (including weaving from flax and wool), shoe construction and ways to preserve foods without appliances (i.e. refrigerators/freezers).

I find it especially "funny" that the companies creating these systems would say that customer concern is their highest priorty. We already know this is not true when it comes to marketing. Case-in-point: I ordered online a picture from a major catalog company (I had never received the magazine and saw the item on the 'net). Mistake. Now I have been receiving catalogs from every company you can think of (e.g. Victoria Secrets, Anthropologie [the offender, BTW], and others I can't remember). I don't have the money, the physique or the notion to buy from any of these businesses. I certainly never signed up to get the catalogs.

I know they would sell us out after privately profiling us by the chips they put in the items we buy.

They obviously think we are fools.

lisa said... surprise to me! I tried like hell to get another old-fashioned, analog "bag phone" when my old one broke, but no luck! Now they know where I am....rats.

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