July 23, 2006

July 23, 2006: If you read nothing else ...

This is a must read article.

Who's watching the watchers? -- They're invisible, infallable -- and a scourge to privacy. As Dawn Rae Downton reports, RFID tags embedded in shopping carts, drug packaging, even the walls in public washrooms are recording every step we take Dawn Rae Downton [misspelled in the Globe and Mail paper copy as Downtown], Focus Section, F6, July 22, 06, Globe and Mail

A silicon chip in ....

[....] In the U.S., patients are RFID-equipped on admission to hospital. [....] Johns Hopkins University engineers say RFID is hackable; health and credit particulars can be plucked from the air. Tags will soon be read from long distances, making systems leakier.

But consumer profiles built "legitimately" might hurt you more than hackers ever could. In 2003, a New England grocery chain developed ... dietary profiles. To recoup expenses, the grocer said it planned to share its data with a selection of health maintenance organizations wanting to know which of their clients "had had too many steaks" and brought their ill health on themselves: no more coverage for them.

In a study last year of six private companies, the Rand Corporation found [....]

... caught red-handed describing ways to use RFID to spy on the rest of us."


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