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"As government tags passports, licenses, critics fear privacy is 'chipped' away" by Todd Lewan (AP)

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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-11-09 06:34 PM
Original message
"As government tags passports, licenses, critics fear privacy is 'chipped' away" by Todd Lewan (AP)
(via July 11, 2009 Chicago Tribune)

"Climbing into his Volvo, outfitted with a Matrics antenna and a Motorola reader he'd bought on eBay for $190, Chris Paget cruised the streets of San Francisco with this objective: To read the identity cards of strangers, wirelessly, without ever leaving his car.

It took him 20 minutes to strike hacker's gold."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/nationworld/wire...

Fair use cited.
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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-12-09 01:28 AM
Response to Original message
1. RFID chips in passports, drivers, licenses, and identity cards is the biggest threat to freedom...
and democracy, and will decrease security, not enhance it.

This is Big Brother coming to a country near you.

This will make identity theft easier and more inevitable, NOT more difficult and NOT less likely.

The cavalier attitude to security of the public by the promoters of RFID chips shows that the people pushing it do NOT understand the technology.

How will identity theft become easier? The proliferation of RFID chips and the assembling of large detailed databases will allow identity thieves to read and cross-reference information on thousands of people at a time and create fake ID chips that will be indistinguishable from the original. The powers that be are already so smug in their misplaced confidence in the technology that they will never question that someone's ID had been stolen. Therefore, they will never protect a person whose identity was stolen because they would claim that it couldn't possibly happen.

Practically every computer system has been hacked, some repeatedly. This includes government databases, including the Department of Defense, as well as thousands of business databases, including those operated by Microsoft. There is NO such entity as a secure computer network. I worked as a programmer for many years and was amazed at how ubiquitous viruses were, including in the computer networks of a bank that I worked for.

When car companies came out a few years ago with "transponder" keys to "prevent" auto theft, I read that a computer engineer rigged together a "reader" from easily available electronic parts. The transponder key contains a computer chip that is read by a scanner behind the ignition switch. The car won't start unless the key with the correctly encoded chip is inserted in the ignition switch. The engineer was able to read the key codes while the keys were in the auto owner's pocket, and then he programmed a key that the car's computer accepted as legitimate.

In the same way, identity thieves will be able to make fake RFID chips to mimic authentic chips, and the powers that be, in government or business, will never admit that they were hacked, but will insist that no ID theft was committed (because that is "impossible"). Victims will have a much harder time proving their innocence than they would without RFID chips. In fact, this is very likely one reason why RFID chips are being pushed.

RFID chips are easily defeated and will allow any one with electronics and computer knowledge to read these chips. Proliferation of RFID chips and the proliferation of massive databases (any of which could be hacked) will negate any security that might have been provided by encryption. It is the proliferation of the technology that will enable its use for nepharious purposes.

Besides identity thieves, the public will be at risk for harm from stalkers and blackmailers. If terrorists can get fake passports, what would prevent them from getting fake RFID identification cards? The exaggerated and unwarranted confidence about RFID by the people pushing this technology indicates grave danger to the public if it proliferates.
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Grinchie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-12-09 04:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. They are already testing the NAIS, by portraying it as "Food Security"
The National Animal Identification System or NAIS is a controversial, currently voluntary program, due to a loud outcry against mandatory requirement. The NAIS is stated to be a system that tags all animals with an RFID chip in early life, and then that animal is tracked through life until it enters the food chain. Proponent claim that this system will allow the USDA to quickly track to the source, the outbreaks of disease.

However, the benign sounding nature of this obscures the fact that we currently have a food system that is almost entirely centralized, and hundreds of thousands of animals can be processed in a single plant in a single day. Most of these animals are aggregated into ground meat in huge batches containing thousands of animals from all over the world. In the case of E.Coli contamination, tagging would not help because E.Coli contamination is usually produced within the slaughterhouse. E-Coli contamination is common in many high density feedlots.

RFID has also been subverted by the big growers in that they are allowed to used one unique RFID tag for a chicken barn that contains 100,000 chickens, as long as they never leave the barn. As soon as chickens are allowed to leave the barn, every animal must be tagged, and every animal that dissapears must be accounted for.

Large producers are not required to maintain logs of chicken mortality.

In reality, the NAIS is just a test program enabling the funding of the tools, techniques and software suitable for use with any livestock. Considering that the softwware could esily be used for Humans tagged with an RFID tag. The technology is the same... Scanner, unique ID which is the Primary key in a database in various orders of complexity and depth.

Make no mistake, a primary key is a dangerous thing, especially when it can be used to access any data in any database. Once a RFID is associated with a Drivers License number, or SSN, you can see how quickly the avenues for exploitation open up.

The scary part of all of this is that the NAIS is funneling money into Corporations that are deveolping this technology for mass deployment. Nothing says the NAIS can't be exported to Darfur, or Somalia for a price, and then used on humans for the benefit of some dictator who likes to keep track of the population.

Americans are too trusting.. It took quite some time before wireless routers had rudimentary security, and even more before consumers actually learned how to enable it.

Even now, I disable the wireless aspect, not due to concern about the government or whoever monitoring the carrier, of which the encryption is a mere annoyance to a determined party, but I didable it out of concern for the microwave radiation that has been proliferating at exponential rates without any real scientific study. Electronic Smog is a real problem, and it has serious implications to human health. It's not a biologically friendly wavelength.

Anyone remember the Smart Shopping carts that were used a few years ago. They were really groundbreaking. They used an IR detector and transmitter to identify areas in the supermarket and track the shopping habits of people as they wandered through the store, spitting out coupons when they were near a product. Thats was the first baby step of tracking. Now they just use a Safeway card, which just track shoppers buying habits by capturing a unique id in exchange for a few dollars in savings.

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AdHocSolver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-12-09 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
3. In the hands of an authoritarian regime, RFID technology would ensure dictatorship for decades.
Of course, we in the United States have nothing to fear of an authoritarian regime ever gaining power, lying to the people, spying on its own citizens, starting unnecessary wars, or savaging political opponents.

However, there is a not so distant example of a dictatorship using the data processing technology of its time to wage wars of conquest, terrorize its own citizens, and exterminate its enemies.

(snip)

..........

IBM and the Holocaust is the stunning story of IBM's strategic alliance with Nazi Germany -- beginning in 1933 in the first weeks that Hitler came to power and continuing well into World War II. As the Third Reich embarked upon its plan of conquest and genocide, IBM and its subsidiaries helped create enabling technologies, step-by-step, from the identification and cataloging programs of the 1930s to the selections of the 1940s.

Only after Jews were identified -- a massive and complex task that Hitler wanted done immediately -- could they be targeted for efficient asset confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, enslaved labor, and, ultimately, annihilation. It was a cross-tabulation and organizational challenge so monumental, it called for a computer. Of course, in the 1930s no computer existed.

But IBM's Hollerith punch card technology did exist. Aided by the company's custom-designed and constantly updated Hollerith systems, Hitler was able to automate his persecution of the Jews. Historians have always been amazed at the speed and accuracy with which the Nazis were able to identify and locate European Jewry. Until now, the pieces of this puzzle have never been fully assembled. The fact is, IBM technology was used to organize nearly everything in Germany and then Nazi Europe, from the identification of the Jews in censuses, registrations, and ancestral tracing programs to the running of railroads and organizing of concentration camp slave labor.

..........

Of course, every American can be assured that no government could ever come to power in the U.S. that would be devious, vindicative, or ever willing to use technology for such nepharious purposes.

However, once you let the technology proliferate and become ubiquitous and widespread, there is no controlling how it is used and abused.


http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com /

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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-12-09 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. kick...
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