Sunday, March 06, 2005

Informed Consent

Radio frequency identification (RFID), is a developing technology poised to impact all of our lives. I will explore this topic through a series of posts about the science and ethics of RFID.

Sally Bacchetta - Freelance Writer


At 10:40 AM , Anonymous RFIDSTER said...

We consumers are at a point in life where we will move from the simple task at the market place of purchasing supplies for home, office, motor home or where ever else. We walk into the store and purchase our items, using cash or card to pay for the scanned items, under the UPC (Universal Product Code) system, commonly referred to as the bar-code. It seems simple enough and not threatening to our privacy, right?

Well, that first step in the times to come is now about to give way to the next step by a system that could later be used not only as a marketing tool, but as a device used by governments to keep track of and control the lives of their citizens. In fact, you might say this Trojan Horse, containing big brother and all of his friends, is knocking at the door right now trying to get a foot in, and it's very likely that at least 70 percent of consumers worldwide don't even know it.

Could it be that if those who are unaware knew what lies at the end of this road, this atrocity could be stopped in it's tracks? Because of the nature of the beast within, it stands to reason that consumers would not want to allow whats in store to take place.

Wal-Mart, the "super power" monster store, has found a new direction in how they will run their conglomeration, and have accordingly informed their global supply chain for the purpose of forcing cooperation concerning this new method for all products bought by and for Wal-Mart's Corporation. Having so mandated, the suppliers complied, firing the shot that is now being heard around the business world: All retail competitors will now have to follow Wal-Mart’s new high-tech lead just to be able to compete.

The mandate is that all items sold by Wal-Mart will now have a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip implanted in all products they sell.

What is an RFID?
Radio frequency identification, or RFID, is a generic term for technologies that use radio waves to automatically identify individual items. There are several methods of identifying objects using RFID, but the most common is to store a serial number that identifies a product, on a microchip that is attached to an antenna (called an RFID transponder, or an RFID tag).

Soon, as we see with the bar-code, no one will be able to buy or sell any products without the RFID. This chip will go home with consumers and one day our homes with products containing these RFID chips.

Why should we be concerned?
At this time it seems that there is nothing we can do about this Trojan horse banging at the door, but we can and need to learn everything possible about the RFID movement in order to be able to maintain our Constitutional right to privacy.

Many individuals are apathetic about the RFID chips, chalking it up to technology while not realizing why they should be concerned. How would these individuals feel if their home items were made public knowledge? Anything, from that steamy romance novel sitting on their nightstand to the style and size under pants they wear can be found and monitored.

Hypothetically speaking, if a vehicle with a RFID transponder were to pull up out side ones home, those inside that vehicle would have electronic access to the entire inventory of the private lives of that houses occupants, and who knows what could take place once that knowledge leaked out, especially into the wrong hands. We have all heard the saying, "keep and honest man honest; this certainly gives us something to think about.

The RFID market has not stopped here; it will continue to transpire to greater levels beyond our comprehension. There is a RFID chip out now called the Verichip. This chip is implanted into the human body, and may store your Visa Card, bank debit card, and social security and other private information that takes the place of your purse.

The perfect storm: What will become of the Verichip by means of how we see progress continue to unfold? Will the Verichip soon be required to be placed in all people as the RFID chip will be required for all products marketed?

Let the buyer be aware.


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