Fat Steve's Blatherings

Saturday, December 03, 2005

More News of the Obvious

        As you may know, there's a technology called RFID, in which tiny microchips can be built to pickup radio signals, and use the power from the reception to rebroadcast different signals, such as a number embedded in the chip.  This would be a powerful anti-shoplifting technology, and would allow stores unprecedented knowledge of who is buying what.

        And now, Prof. Reynolds notes a new book that says corporations will use this new information gathering technology to — gather information.  After which they will use the information to — well, to make money it seems, but also somehow to do something that will be harmful to us.  Just what that harm will be isn't clear.

        The other day, I ordered the new King Kong video from Amazon.  Amazon isn't going to try to blackmail me (already a felony) by threatening to expose my purchases to the world, but even if they did, how is the threat to make this public supposed to harm me?.

        Of course, Amazon will use that information: it will try to use it to sell me something else.  So?  With RFID, I might not be able to go into a local store, pay cash, and hide the fact that I am one of those who just purchased a copy of the new collector's DVD of Kong.  Why this is supposed to terrify me, I can't quite figure out, though.

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