Big Brother RFID

Big Brother RFID

Artigo de Todd Lewan na Wired News mostra como as novas etiquetas de radiofrequncia (RFID) ameaam vida privada. Esses chips de comunicao por rdiofrequncia esto se disseminando nos mais diversos objetos criando um verdadeiro monitoramento da vida quotidiana. O problema nem tanto as RFID passivas (que esto substituindo os cdigo de barras) mas as ativas. Para mais informaes vejam o RFID Journal.

Abaixo alguns trechos do artigo “Microchips Everywhere: a Future Vision”:


RFID implantando na orelha do animal

“-Microchips with antennas will be embedded in virtually everything you buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to track consumer items – and, by extension, consumers – wherever they go, from a distance.

-A seamless, global network of electronic “sniffers” will scan radio tags in myriad public settings, identifying people and their tastes instantly so that customized ads, “live spam,” may be beamed at them.


RFID implantado em humanos

-In “Smart Homes,” sensors built into walls, floors and appliances will inventory possessions, record eating habits, monitor medicine cabinets – all the while, silently reporting data to marketers eager for a peek into the occupants’ private lives.

Science fiction?

In truth, much of the radio frequency identification technology that enables objects and people to be tagged and tracked wirelessly already exists – and new and potentially intrusive uses of it are being patented, perfected and deployed.

Some of the world’s largest corporations are vested in the success of RFID technology, which couples highly miniaturized computers with radio antennas to broadcast information about sales and buyers to company databases.

(…)Companies say the RFID tags improve supply-chain efficiency, cut theft, and guarantee that brand-name products are authentic, not counterfeit. At a store, RFID doorways could scan your purchases automatically as you leave, eliminating tedious checkouts.

(…) The problem, critics say, is that microchipped products might very well do a whole lot more.

With tags in so many objects, relaying information to databases that can be linked to credit and bank cards, almost no aspect of life may soon be safe from the prying eyes of corporations and governments, says Mark Rasch, former head of the computer-crime unit of the U.S. Justice Department.

(…) In an RFID world, “You’ve got the possibility of unauthorized people learning stuff about who you are, what you’ve bought, how and where you’ve bought it … It’s like saying, ‘Well, who wants to look through my medicine cabinet?'”

Presently, the radio tag most commercialized in America is the so-called “passive” emitter, meaning it has no internal power supply. Only when a reader powers these tags with a squirt of electrons do they broadcast their signal, indiscriminately, within a range of a few inches to 20 feet.

Not as common, but increasing in use, are “active” tags, which have internal batteries and can transmit signals, continuously, as far as low-orbiting satellites. Active tags pay tolls as motorists to zip through tollgates; they also track wildlife, such as sea lions.

(…)However, “once a tagged item is associated with a particular individual, personally identifiable information can be obtained and then aggregated to develop a profile,” the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded in a 2005 report on RFID.

(…) As RFID goes mainstream and the range of readers increases, it will be “difficult to know who is gathering what data, who has access to it, what is being done with it, and who should be held responsible for it,” Maxwell wrote in RFID Journal, an industry publication.

The recent growth of the RFID industry has been staggering: From 1955 to 2005, cumulative sales of radio tags totaled 2.4 billion; last year alone, 2.24 billion tags were sold worldwide, and analysts project that by 2017 cumulative sales will top 1 trillion – generating more than $25 billion in annual revenues for the industry.(…)”.