Breaking news! Just in from /.
According to this article, there is a Cincinnati-based company that just had two of its employees implant glass-encapsulated RFIDtags in their biceps as a part of the access control system to their datacenter.
And we’re one step closer to the artificial linking of identity verification to body parts.
I see two aspects to discuss here. One is of the inherent security problems with the solution, and the other is about the sci-fi feel and possible problems and antagonists.
So let’s start with the second aspect. I can remember a lesson in eight grade, discussing in our social sciences class, where I suggested use of passive radio transmitters to implant small chips in people that would work as a central for identification and verification. The implanted chip would be used as ID card, as credit card et.c. et.c. and you wouldn’t have to juggle cards at all any longer. I was quite taken by the vision I had – until my baptist pastor of a teacher started quoting relevations on me, claiming that such an implant would be a perfect example of how the Mark of the Beast would manifest.
And even if you don’t take the christian whacko-angle on it, there is a teeensy problem with a big brother society inherent in the construction. All of a sudden, all you’d need are RFID readers with loggers placed all over town, and everybody with a tag could be tracked. Why not tag everyone convicted for a crime, so that we can check if they had been present at new crime scenes. Better yet, why not tag everyone accused of a crime so that even if we don’t get them the first time we could get them the second time! Or .. I know! Let’s tag EVERYBODY! I mean, it’s not like you’d get into trouble unless you did something wrong, citizen.
Hrm. No, that leads down the slippery slope. Far too quickly.
How about inherent security? If you carry the chip in your biceps, you should be home free? Right? Right?
Wrong. As seen in the article above, there are already methods out there in the wild to copy RFID chips, including the model used here. So you get an implant, with all that means of infection risks and what not. And you go shopping a few weeks later. In the scuffle at the mall, someone is carrying a RFID scanner/copier – and then promptly produces a non-body internal tag that is (to a scanner) indistinguishable from yours. And look at that pretty security barrier go. Going … going … gone!
In end-effect, I find it somewhat cool that my childhood dreams and visions are coming into the world, but I don’t think I’d take on a bodily carried RFID any time soon.