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09/05/2003 Archived Entry: "Monkeywrenching assignment"

GOOD MORNING, YOUNG MONKEYWRENCHERS. Here is your assignment for today. Build an RFID disabling device small enough to wear or discreetly carry down the aisles of a store, but powerful enough to blitz the tracking tags on items still on the shelf.

Everybody says RFID is easy to screw up using magnets, microwaves, even a jiggered device made from an old TV tunner. Good. Well, let's be ready when the day comes. The tiny tracker tags aren't in most products yet because the cost of them is still too high. But industry groups and companies all over the world (Gillette, Benetton, and Wal-Mart to name a notorious few) are working toward the goal of having a chip in every product. EVERY product ever made, anywhere in the world. That's the industry's stated goal. Once the chips are in, it simply won't be good enough to bring home our own bras or jockey shorts or jars of peanut butter and give them a quick micro-zap. It'll be up to us to make sure the whole system doesn't work.

And to do that -- if in-the-system fighters like CASPIAN can't stop them before they get started -- we must kill millions of tags at the source. We must break the whole system. We must make sure corporate Little Brother gets no reliable result from his investment. Let them put the tracking tags on pallets and cartons in their warehouses. Shipping and inventory control. Fine. (Wal-Mart has backed off to say that's all it plans to do, and Gillette, too, has "postponed" its plans. For the moment.) But the instant they try to put their tracking devices in our hands, SIZZZZZZZLE!

There may be an added benefit to a discreet tracker-zapper. We're now also getting ID cards that can actually be scanned while still in our purses and wallets. (Sounds like some bad SF movie, but it's true.) The same doodad that remotely fries the RFID in our Fritos might create freedom-loving havoc to Big Brother wherever it goes. All you'd have to do is stroll casually among the crowd, zapping away. And in pants pockets, the little ID beacons quietly wink out, all around the world.

Posted by Claire @ 08:59 AM CST

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