RFIDs Part 1

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an ever present danger to the privacy of the individual.  Years ago I heard an interview with a Dr. Katherine Albrecht who just so happens to be a Privacy Advocate and is the co-author of the book SPYCHIPS.  After hearing the interview, my interest was piqued and ordered the book, which was written in 2006.  Even today, as technology has taken over a greater portion of our lives the information between the covers of that book still resonate within my mind.  The technology is a good technology, provided it is used for its original target…product management; however, that is not where it left off.  RFID technology (and variants) are used in various ways within our daily lives and, unfortunately, are becoming more entangled within our lives without our knowledge – either due to ignorance or lack of care on our parts.

RFID tags are being used in Passports, Enhanced Drivers Licenses, EZ Pass, Euros/Dollars to prevent counterfeiting, Credit Cards, animals, and people.  Another variation of the RFID is those commonly used club cards for our purchases.  An interesting video to bring the point home is the Big Brother Pizza Shop Youtube Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zh9fibMaEk), which is a depiction of a fictitious pizza shop of the future where Big Brother infringes your privacy while ordering a pizza.  It is both funny and concerning at the same time.  There are many YouTube videos which will show you the uses of RFID chips and implanting.  Many of which have religious implications – it is not my position to make this into a religious argument, or debate, but the information is quite valid.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0z9J5E9lto, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P9xs2yyv8Q, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC_hPlH_Fb0, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr0ozY2HWdM ).  During Hurricane Katrina they used RFID tags in the cadavers which were left to float so they could be identified at a later time after the living were taken care of.  We know what kind of fiasco that wound up turning into.

One thing that many people do not seem to understand is that the effective reading range of these chips is 30-60 feet.  They are purportedly going to make our lives much more safe and convenient; however, what is the price of that convenience?  What about your privacy?  Many people I have spoken to usually and nonchalantly say, “Well, if you don’t have anything to hide…”  My position is, it is not about hiding anything and it is about my right to privacy!  I do not have to prove a thing to anyone.

Consider, and I hate to use the reference, the conspiracy theorist side of it:  If all your personal information (financial, medical, legal, etc.) and biometric data (fingerprints, retina scan, voice print, etc.) are installed on this RFID chip; and let us go a little further to say there is a dirty cop who needs to close a case – is it that far of a stretch to say that your data could be accessed via the cloud or primary server from the Department of Homeland Security and be planted at the scene?  Many cases throughout the United States have toppled because of planted evidence.  (Please note that while I do live in the real world and believe that there are some bad officers, just like the rest of us mortal beings they are not all bad – I believe the good outweigh the bad.)

You think that is very farfetched?  Consider what Comcast is experimenting with, the use of digital cable boxes which have cameras that view the room, determine who is near, and then place a listing of shows that you, or some other person, have a history of watching.  With that digital box you already have a two way connection to the source.  How much longer until the box automatically starts feeding a stream of live video to the NSA, FBI, DHS, or your local Police or Sheriff’s office?  Sometimes those people deemed to be conspiracy theorists just have a differing view than you or I; unfortunately, they just happen to be the ones that are playing the Devil’s Advocate.

Now you must consider historical facts, such as: The branding of property (chattel, cattle, and slaves), the Nazi branding of the Jews during the 1920s and 1940s, and some would even go as far to say that we in the US have been marked by the use of the Social Security Numbers assigned to everyone who applied for one.  Think about this statement made by Colin Powel made (as the Secretary of State on 6/17/2001) “Finding the Russian scientists may be a problem
being that Russia does not have a Social Security System, as here in America, that allows us to MONITOR, TRACK DOWN and CAPTURE an American citizen.”
  There are a number of references to this on-line if you search.  It was an interview between Colin Powell and Tony Snow on June 17, 2001 in reference to some missing Russian Scientists.

Now, think about the REAL ID ACT OF 2005, which was a mandate by the Federal Government to use these RFID chipsets in your state driver’s licenses.  It was to expire at the end of 2008, but lucky for us that the government was looking out for us by volunteering each state to extend their invitation to accept or opt-in to the program.  When they saw that the states were pitching a fit over this, they (your representatives in the District of Criminals) slipped this mandate into a DHS Appropriations bill.  HMMMMMM!

Consider the ramifications of such a society which violates our basic American Principle!  What will be next?

SEE ALSO:  RFID Part 2, RFID Part 3, RFID Part 4

References

Albrecht, C. (2008, 03 18). Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You? Retrieved 01 27, 2012, from GIGAOM: http://gigaom.com/video/comcast-cameras-to-start-watching-you/

channel, z. (approximately 2008). The Big Brother Pizza Shop . Retrieved 01 25, 2012, from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zh9fibMaEk

Katherine Albrecht, E. &. (© 2003-2007). index.html. Retrieved 01 25, 2012, from SPYCHIPS.COM: http://www.spychips.com/

Katherine Albrecht, E. (© 1999-2004). Retrieved 01 25, 2012, from C.A.S.P.I.A.N.: http://www.nocards.org/

Reed Exhibitions. (2011, 09 15). Significant growth ahead for mobile biometric security market. Retrieved 01 27, 2012, from infosecurity.com: http://www.infosecurity-us.com/view/20771/significant-growth-ahead-for-mobile-biometric-security-market/

Techie Tips

The Staysafeonline.org site has a plethora of interesting tips and strategies for the kids, high school and university students, and especially for the parents – just so they can be in the know.  It is all so basic that it could not be so bothersome for the IT professional to review them; perhaps, save a copy of these pdf files for themselves.  They are great information to be passed out to all.  The old adage stands true, “repetition is the mother of skill!”

Whether in the home, at a business, in the classroom, whatever and where ever – the information is intended to protect you, your devices, networks, and most of all YOUR DATA!  It is through Social Engineering where hackers gain most of their information to gain access to your network, computer, or data.

Many people that I went to classes with spoke of some of their roommates and their antics when they left their computer unattended and wide open, they would change his password and log out.  He of course would not have access to his homework which was due the next day.  In this aspect, this is what you must concern yourself with on a daily basis.  Hackers are always pinging and searching for an open network.

Check the site out for basics in the protection of your network and data.  You keep ever vigilant in the protection of your property, your most prized possession is your personal information and the data entrusted to you!  Considering the fact that there are an estimated 175 million users on Twitter and an estimated 800 million user on Facebook worldwide (these are estimated Registered Users, which indicates active accounts not necessarily active users.)  Keep that in mind while you consider the fact that there are an estimated 6.9 Billion people in this world.  Someone has got to be up to something fishy, don’t you think?

http://www.staysafeonline.org/sites/default/files/resource_documents/