Epilogue on RFID tags and the Coming New Fascism
The man with grue hair raises some valid technological issues with regards to the RFID issue in my last post, and I was happy to read his analysis. Yet I find that there are three main points of misunderstanding on his part regarding my position that need correcting.
First, grue hair man improperly reads my analysis as a result of a fanatical attitude. I am not saying that the "black helicopters" are coming, nor am I saying that RFID is an evil technology which we should abandon or restrict at all costs. I merely point out that the political implications of a technology can sometimes be seen before the fact, and that the trend of RFID devices gives one pause as those devices mature.
Second, I disagree that the "comparison of UPC to RFID is erroneous" and that "RFID is another beast altogether," as grue hair man charges. This is an overstatement, since these technologies are both tracking mechanisms that can be databased and subsequently accessed.
Grue hair man is no fool, however, arguing that the bigger the database, the less likely said database will be centralized. Unfortunately, grue hair man, size does matter. Even a namespace with 7.92 * 10^28 bytes is not large. Today a fairly robust 500 GB drive is nice. But double this every 18 months for 40 years years, and there is more than enough space to cover that many bytes. (And this assumes current trends in storage tech., which might change suddenly with quantum or holographic 3D advances.) Thus, I obviously don't find the probability of abuse having "high chances of it happening before 2008", as grue hair man charges; but, I just might be willing to say the probability of abuse IS worrisome by 2048, and I have every intention of being around that year.
Finally, grue hair man takes a position whereby RFID is no worse than social security numbers, so we should not grumble against RFID. He rhetorically asks, "how have social security numbers been abused in the last 7 decades?" However, I disagree that RFID is not worse; in fact, I think it has the potential to be FAR worse. Moreover, the spate of identify theft shows us that with even the use of social security numbers, one can easily ruin another's economic life in short order. Thus, how much the more cautionary should we be with RFID!
Grue Hair man is a Gentoo security professional of some note, and I appreciate his comments. If you, my reader, are still unsure which person holds the best argument, I suggest defaulting to his view.