Spychips by Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre

Recent reading: Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Purchase and Watch Your Every Move
by Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) “tags” are small wireless devices that emit unique identifiers when interrogated by RFID readers or sensors. Today, both government and the private sector are using and promoting the use of RFID tags for many applications, from consumer items to government ID cards. EFF believes, however, that society is moving too quickly to adopt RFID technology. Used improperly, RFID can jeopardize privacy, reduce or eliminate anonymity, and threaten civil liberties.

Want a book that will give you some serious paranoia? This is definitely it. Albrecht and McIntyre are privacy advocates who research and report on Radio Frequency Identification microchips that corporations and governments have patents and plans to embed in nearly everything – consumer goods, credit and loyalty cards, identification, money, even under your skin:

“As you walk down the street, a tiny microchip implanted in your tennis shoe tracks your every move; chips woven into your clothing transmit the value of your outfit to nearby retailers; and a thief scans the chips hidden inside your money to decide if you’re worth robbing. This isn’t science fiction; in a few short years, it could be a fact of life.”

When the book was written in 2005, there were only handful of companies using RFID technology, but through patents and leaked corporate documents, the authors were able to find some of big businesses very disturbing plans, including embedding permanent RFID chips in clothing and even human beings.
In the two years since, some of the books predictions have come to pass – Passports now contain an RFID chip, as well as many toll booth ez pass cards, and some schools are tracking students. IBM has advanced to patent applications for “Identification and tracking of persons using RFID-tagged items.”

And even more disturbing – the chips have been show to cause tumors in animals who have been chipped for identification purposes.

The books draws some very nightmarish scenarios – it’s hard to tell whether they’re paranoid or just extraordinarily cautious, but it’s a subject that seems to be flying under the radar of much of mainstream media and the average person.

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