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 ...
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.