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The RFID- Micro-chip Privacy Problem; No End in Sight

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The RFID- Micro-chip Problem; No End in Sight

By: Sara Scafe Toole

Ever since the passport issue came up, many of us have wondered when this invasion of privacy will end. Well, I'm here to tell you folks that it's only beginning, and what is to come will be very intrusive, and invasive to all of our privacy; here in the US, and everywhere else.
First, the State Department has moved up their date from Dec. 31st to Oct. 26th for all passports to be embedded with the RFID chip.(1) Washington Post Staff Writer-Jonathon Krim; Oct. 2005
I heard that it was to be in Dec. just a month ago, in The Austin American Statesman, and then I saw in the paper that the date moved up. How the guys at The Washington Post had it right the first time, I'll never know, but one can get a passport in one day in most major cities, so I suggest that you do it now, as the Federal Driver's Licenses, with RFID are due in 2008, and passports are good for 10 years. I do have good news.
California voted down the RFID bill that would've allowed RFIDs in driver's licenses, and other forms of ID just last week in a 29 to 7 vote. The bill next moves to a State Assembly, which voted it down last year. CA. Senator Joe Simitian, (D-Palo Alto) introduced the Identity Information Protection Act of 2005 in Feb. 2005, following public outcry over a Sutter County school's plan to outfit elementary school children with badges containing RFIDs. How this will stand up to the Real-ID Act, the new Federal law that will require states to issue these IDs, will be the real question, as other states are bound to fight this invasion of civil liberties (2)

Unfortunately, after I wrote this article, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill. This is a very distressing turn of events for all Americans, as many states were looking at California to see how the Federal government would respond if the bill had passed. It doesn't look good for those of us who think that the technology has not been tested enough in the field, and especially those who cherish their privacy! Hopefully, other states will have the courage to stand up against the federal government in fighting this outrageous invasion of our civil liberties.

Corporate giants tout the merits of RFID, as they can install them in products to prevent theft, and also learn about consumer's buying habits. They can be installed in clothing, paper products, cabinetry, and just about everything that one can imagine. The issue is whether the tags will be deactivated once they leave the store. Imagine that RFID receivers are installed in airports, seaports, highways, retail stores, exercise equipment, and even pointed at one's home! This is a scary thought, and companies, in an attempt to soothe consumer's fears, have argued that items tagged with RFID chips can't be tracked beyond about five feet. There is a major problem with this reasoning; these receivers can be made stronger to receive lesser waves, so their thinking is inept, at best. (3)
Eric Blossom, a veteran radio engineer, said it would not be difficult to build a beefier transmitter, and a more sensitive receiver that could make the range far greater. "I don't see any problem building a sensitive receiver," Blossom said. "It's well-known technology, particularly if it's a specialty item where you're willing to spend five times as much."(6)

Verichip is the company that makes RFID tags for humans. Supposedly, the idea came around on September 11th, when firefighters were writing their badge numbers on their arms, in case they were found in the rubble. (4)
They are now working on a chip that has GPS capacity; this can be a good thing, in case of a missing child, or a bad thing, if your insane ex-husband is in the military, and wants to find you. (4)

Now, Verichip Corp wants to place their RFID chips in all US troops, if they have their way. They just might, as they have some major political clout on their side. Former US Secretary of the Dept. of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, is on its Board of Directors. In an interview with the D.C. Examiner, the company's spokeswoman, Nicole Philbin, said that Verichip and the Pentagon are "in discussions." These chips would be inserted in the right arm, and the Examiner was assured that any serviceman that didn't want the chip wouldn't be forced to receive it. (5)

I have already heard of unofficial reports that the American Special Forces, and other elite troops have already had their implants inserted near their right collarbone. This may have devastating consequences, as you will find out as you read below.

The problem with this is what if the enemy has a receiver, and can pick our troops out? What about infection issues; there's also a possibility that the RFID can move through the body, as it's the size of a grain of rice. If you've ever had glass in you due to an accident, and I have, it comes out in the darndest places! Could it be the same with RFID? One certainly hopes not. Liz McIntyre, co-author with Katherine Albrecht of "Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to track your Every Move with RFID," said that Verichip is "a huge threat" to public privacy. "They're circling like vultures for any opportunity to get into our flesh," McIntyre told the D.C. Examiner. "They'll start with people who can't say no, like the elderly, sex offenders, immigrants, and the military. Then, they'll come knocking on our doors."(5)

I have read that they have already implanted about 1000 chips in willing subjects; some are elderly folks with Alzheimer's that have wandered off in the past, others are parents that want to be able to find their children in case of kidnapping. The other category is those with health problems; they wanted their chips installed in case they are unable to communicate in a medical emergency. These all sound like good ideas, but when these things are forced on the public, then it is truly an issue of invasion of privacy.
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SARA SCAFE TOOLE Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I am deeply saddened and ashamed of what our country has come to stand for, as we are losing our civil liberties each and every day. The Bush Administration's history of corruption, abuse, and lies are no longer being tolerated by the majority of (more...)
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