The title to this post is a slight rephrase of a BBC news story. I’m using it as a lead-in to a post on implanting RFID chips in people (known as chipping) and as a follow up to my New Security Cameras: A Boon to Marketers, a Nightmare for Citizens.
I mean, if we’re going to be concerned about security cameras and someone digitally stealing your face (aka Michael Chrichton’s Rising Sun) then we really want to be concerned about someone hacking off our fingers, our hands, carving a piece out of our side, cracking our skulls, etc., in order to get some microchip that’s being used to start our cars, enter our homes, log onto our computers, access our bank accounts and medical records, pass through security, …, right?
Wisconsin passed a bill in 2006 that forbids anyone or any group from requiring someone to be chipped (that’s the term we use for such things). There is talk about laws that make it illegal to read the code from a chip you’re not allowed to read. This reminds me of a lecture I attended on computer security. One presenter explained that software firewalls installed on computers were nice but only worked once an intruder had already gained access to the computer. The ideal is to stop an intruder before they intrude, isn’t it?
Such laws are nice and the concerns of Big Brother and The Mark of the Devil (because you know somehow ‘666’ is going to be part of the code or the frequency used or something, don’t you?) are still going to prevail for a while. We (in the United States, anyway) are a superstitious and hyperphobic lot.
But what happens when chipping is so ubiquitous that laws are irrelevant? Did you know that in Othello’s Europe there was no such thing as prejudice? I didn’t and asked my Shakespeare professor why. “Because there weren’t enough Moors walking around for prejudice to exist towards them.” One outsider is an oddity, when there’s enough to form a voting block they become a problem. Do we chip the Moors so we’ll know who and where they are or do we chip the non-Moors so we’ll know when a Moor passes through our gates?
Chipping as just another form of identification — the footprints of newborns, the fingerprinting of children for their own protection, GPS enabled collars on pets, RFID (yes, the same technology we’re discussing here) on high-value sports animals to keep track of them — and as such has many uses.
Many, many uses.
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