11/05 Spychips


Larry Pratt


The potential for invading each American’s privacy every minute of the day is now about to be put into place.

This makes registration of guns on a paper list (such as the gun purchase records at dealers’ stores) or on a computer list (in FBI computers which collect information from the instant background test) look like a Model A compared to a Corvette.

Katherine Albrecht and co-author Liz McIntyre have written an extremely important book, Spychips. They have studied the commercial applications of the Radio Frequency Identification chip (RFID).

These chips are presently in use to keep merchandise from leaving the store without removal by a clerk at the point of sale. Fine. But it is becoming apparent that the chips can also be imbedded in clothing, all kinds of merchandise, ink — anything. You leave the store and the RFID chip can be read any time you pass within range of a reader. Right now, that could easily mean a snooper passing by your garbage on the curb on trash day.

The companies involved with the technology — and that includes everybody from IBM to Proctor and Gamble — insist that there is no threat to privacy. Well, that is a real whopper. McIntyre went to the website of the RFID association, the MIT Auto-ID Center. By simply typing in “confidential” into the Center’s search engine, some 70 documents marked “confidential” popped up. The documents made it clear that 24/7 surveillance is on the drawing board — and their assurances of “Your privacy is our first concern” were clearly not their first concern.

The MIT Auto-ID Center’s confidential documents are corroborated by the industry’s patent applications. There is simply no doubt that the technology is workable, some is in place, and more is on the way.

Right now, Smart Pass technology is used to keep tabs on cars sporting the passes as they circle the loop around Houston. Proposals have been made to include reader/transmitters in building materials so that movements and consumption by those inside their homes can be monitored. What a great way to “take care” of aging relatives! Let the RFID’s keep track of when and how often they take their meds. Sure frees up the rest of us to live a “meaningful” life free of caring for a bunch of tottering old geezers.

Now, the State Department has begun putting RFID chips in passports. What a great idea for terrorists! Why blow up a bus load of fellow Muslims when you can wait for the busload of Americans to kill?

Schools here and there have tried to get kids to wear RFID tags — for their own good, of course. Happily, they have been discontinued upon discovery — for now.

The chips can be injected into a person’s body, and work is underway to implant them deep enough that you would need major surgery to remove them.

Kidnappers in Mexico look to remove the chips rumored to be in wealthy people to avoid their being found by police (assuming the Mexican police were not involved in the crime). One auto owner in Malaysia had a carjacking security device. The car would not start without reading an RFID in his finger. Well, that was no problem. The owner now has one less finger, and one less car.

Of course, if the police can try to find a victim, so can a stalker. This technology has no guarantees, as we have seen, that it will only be used by the intended user and kept out of all other hands.

It would be child’s play right now to imbed an RFID in one or more parts of a gun. That is bad enough, but the military’s battle rifle, the M-16, has been targeted for the next level of technological improvement — the ability to “turn off” the gun from a remote location. The patent has been applied for. This should also help enemy forces at least as much as our guys. Suppose that the gun is turned off on purpose because a man, or a unit, is down. That’s great — unless another soldier needs the “off” gun(s) to continue fighting. And, how do we know that a hostile group on the battlefield will be unable to turn the gun off themselves? Or, think of home invaders doing the same to a homeowner’s gun.

There are a number of practical things that shoppers and others can do and Albrecht and McIntyre discuss some of these in their book. They are also working with inventors to try to zap the RFID chips that could be implanted in anything you buy in the future.

Walmart has been pressuring its suppliers to imbed RFID’s in their merchandise. That suggests that consumers need to employ one of many possible tactics to protect themselves against this high-tech snooper technology. It is essential that everyone read this book to get a complete picture of the threat so that this might be stopped before it is in place and thus too late. Otherwise, our tendency will too likely be, “Well, it’s already here; what can anybody do about it now?”

I interviewed Katherine Albrecht on my Live Fire radio show. It can be heard at http://www.gunowners.org/radio.htm. Albrecht has established a citizens’ action group, CASPIAN, with a website at spychips.com.