One Small Step for Hand

Of all the fears associated with the technological advancements of the computer age — and there are many — the most long-standing and pervasive is, arguably, humans being tagged and monitored in some fashion, often either by bar codes or microchips. And it’s not an entirely unfounded fear; outfitting pet animals with chips has become standard procedure for identity purposes, and has generally met with great success. Small, low-frequency RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) tags are encoded with information about the subject and are subsequently embedded in them, rendering their details available to anybody within arm’s reach — who happens to have an RFID reader. Even with basic knowledge about the technology, it’s quite easy to imagine the potentially frightening implementations of it. Needless to say, convincing humans that an RFID implant is right for them can be a hard sell; even ostensibly useful applications of the technology, such as Spanish clubs offering their VIP customers the option of receiving an implant that acts as a debit card — so as to avoid carrying a wallet or purse — can be revealed for their sinister capabilities.
One Small Step For Hand [The Present Tense – BME/News]

2 Responses to “One Small Step for Hand

  • The fact is, it’s common that people think the RFID tags in pets hold details of the owner, and that the tags in Spanish club goers hold payment information… but it is simply not true. The tags only hold a random ID key, such as 1s5t8195 or something of that nature. People armed with RFID scanners cannot gain access to your information simply by reading the data contained on the chip.
    For pets, the data about who owns the pet is not stored on the chip, it’s stored in a national database that the vet uses to look up the pet’s owner… by supplying the unique tag ID. The ID itself is meaningless without access to that database… and as such, the tags in pets and people only hold meaning to the systems that leverage those ID numbers… but are otherwise meaningless.
    Fear abounds, while knowledge is scarce. So what’s new?
    Amal Graafstra
    CEO – Morpheus Inc.
    CTO – Wirecutter LLC

  • Neat. So, in effect, it’s the same as having a barcode or an ID number tattooed on your skin.
    I have a couple of cats from the Humane Society, and they have tattoos in their ears instead of the RFID tags. Old tech, but still as effective as RFIDs, I suppose.