As with many new technologies, people fear what they don't understand. In the case of RFID, consumers have many fears, some of which may be justified. This debate may be one of the few in which you'll find the American Civil Liberties Union and Christian Coalition on the same side.
Human chipping has seemingly higher stakes than merchandise tagging, and RFID critics are concerned that human chipping may one day become mandatory. When the company CityWatcher.com chipped two of its employees in 2006, these fears spun out of control. CityWatcher.com insisted that the employees were not forced to be chipped -- they volunteered for the microchip implants for easier access to secured vaults where confidential documents are stored. Other employees declined the implants, and their positions with the company were unaffected.
Aside from the limitations of VeriChip scanning discussed in the last section, human chipping has profound religious and civil liberty implications for some people. Some believe that human chipping is foretelling a biblical prophecy from the Book of Revelation, interpreting the chip as the "Mark of the Beast." To others concerned with civil liberties, the chip is bringing us one step closer to an Orwellian society, in which our every action and thought will be controlled by Big Brother.
While we can choose whether or not to put RFID chips in ourselves or our pets, we have little control over tags being placed on commercial products that we buy. In the book "Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID," Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre describe the most extreme implications of RFID tags. They describe how RFID tags could be used to gauge your spending habits and bank account to determine how much you should be charged for the products you buy. This may sound paranoid, but hackers have proven that some RFID tags can be tampered with, including disabling their anti-theft features and changing the price that corresponds to their product. Better encryption is needed to ensure that hackers can't pick up RFID frequencies with super-sensitive antennae.
What's more, some critics say that relying on RFID as the primary means of security could make human security checkpoints lazy and ineffective. If security guards rely solely on the RFID anti-theft devices in merchandise and RFID technology of government-issued identification to screen for criminals or terrorists, they might miss the criminal activity happening right in front of their eyes.
To scan more information about RFID technology, blip to the links below.
More Great Links
- Albrecht, Katherine and Liz McIntyre. "Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID." Chapter One. LFB.com. 2005 (10/17/2007). http://www.lfb.com/index.php?stocknumber=PV9017
- C.A.S.P.I.A.N. Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering. (10/17/2007). http://www.nocards.org/
- "Chipped Passports Coming Monday." WIRED. 8/11/2006 (10/16/2007). http://www.wired.com/print.techbiz/media/news/2006/08/71583
- Collins, Jonathan. "RFID Labels for Less." RFID Journal. 1/26/2004 (10/17/2007). http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleprint/770/-1/1/
- Department of Homeland Security. "E-Passports." (10/16/2007) http://www.dhs.gov/xtrvlsec/crossingborders/gc_1161636133959.shtm
- Department of Homeland Security. "REAL ID." (10/17/2007). http://www.dhs.gov/xprevprot/laws/gc_1172767635686.shtm
- Department of State. "Department of State Begins Issuing Electronic Passports to the Public." Office of the Spokesman. 8/14/2006 (10/16/2007). http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/70433.htm
- Digital Angel Corporation. (10/17/2007). http://www.digitalangelcorp.com/da/default.aspx
- Ferguson, Renee Boucher. "Symbol's Future with RFID Uncertain Under Motorola Umbrella." eWeek.com 9/21/2006 (10/17/2007). http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895, 2019097,00.asp
- Google.com. "Google Wallet." (5/3/2011.) http://www.google.com/wallet/
- Heim, Kristi. "Privacy concerns attached to RFID tags." Seattle Times. 7/19/2007. (10/16/2007). http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgibin/PrintStory.pl? document_id=2003795541&zsection_id=2002119995&slug=rfid19& date=20070719
- Hook, Brian R. "RFID Tags: Preventing or Promoting Identity Theft?" CRMBuyer. 7/5/2007 (10/16/2007). http://www.crmbuyer.com/story/44320.html
- Lewan, Todd. "Chips: High-tech aids or tracking devices?" MSNBC.com. 8/23/2007 (10/16/2007). http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19904543/print1/displaymode/1098
- Lewan, Todd. "Chip Implants Linked to Animal Tumors." WashingtonPost.com. 9/8/2007 (10/17/2007). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/ 09/08/AR2007090800997_pf.html
- Lettice, John. "First people injected with ID chips, sales drive kicks off." 6/10/2002 (10/16/2007). http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/06/10/first_people_injectedwith_id/print.html
- Mott, Maryann. "Pet Microchip IDs Need Standardization Tech, U.S. Government Says." National Geographic News. 11/15/2005 (10/22/2007). http:://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/11/1115_051115 _pets_chips.html
- O'Connor, Mary Catherine. "U.S. Bill Include RFID Provision for Pets." RFID Journal. 11/10/2005 (10/22/2007). http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleprint/1976/-1/1
- RFID Journal. (10/17/2007) http://www.rfidjournal.com
- Scheeres, Julia. "ID Chip's Controversial Approval." WIRED. 10/23/02 (10/16/2007). http://www.wired.com/print/politics/law/news/2002/10/55952.
- Sieberg, Daniel. "Is RFID tracking you?" CNN.com. 10/23/2006 (10/17/2007). http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/07/10/rfid/index.html
- Sullivan, Laurie. "RFID System Prevented a Possible Infant Abduction." InformationWeek. 7/19/2007. (10/17/2007). http://www.informationweek.com/ story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=166400496
- Swedburg, Claire. "Researchers Use RFID to Fight SIDS." RFID Journal. 4/17/2007 (10/17/2007). http://www.verichipcorp.com/news/1121749200
- West, Karen. "Vegas bets on radio chips for luggage problems." MSNBC. 10/13/2006 (10/17/2007). http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15235999
- "What the Motorola-Symbol Deal Means for RFID." RFID Update. 9/20/2006 (10/16/2007). http://www.rfidupdate.com/articles/index.php?id=1207
- Witteman, Marc. "Is e-passport security effective yet?" Keesing Journal of Documents and Identity. 2007 (10/16/2007). http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:R0IT_Z7HScJ:www.riscure.com/ 1_general/articles/KJD23_Witteman.pdf+identity+theft+with+chipembedding &hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us
- Yu, Roger, Danielle Belopotosky, Dan Caterinicchia, and Dibya Sarker. "E-Passport."