Life keeps getting easier – and scarier

“We’ll put a radio frequency ID tag on everything that moves in the North American supply chain.” -Steven Van Fleet

Jake Perron

There’s a new version of the UPC arriving soon in your town. EPCs, Electronic Production Codes, are galaxies beyond their product code predecessor; and the technology behind them has the potential to entirely decimate whatever civil liberties you still have.

Corporations such as Wal-Mart, Philip Morris USA, and Pfizer are only a select few among the top sponsors of a miniscule device called RFID, or radio frequency identification, which uses radio waves to send and receive data information.

RFID tags assign a unique identification number to every object in which they are embedded. This allows manufacturers to track and monitor their entire inventories from the production line through the supply chain.

“We’ll put a radio frequency ID tag on everything that moves in the North American supply chain,” said Steven Van Fleet, an executive at International Paper, another sponsor.

To better understand the capability of these devices, suppose for a moment you’ve been pulled over by a police officer. The officer suspects you’re hiding something. Rather than asking you to open your trunk, he will be able to determine the entirety of the trunks’ contents from its RFID signals.

You ask, “what if I have suitcases stuffed with dirty money?” Not a problem (for the police officer). Europe has developed the technology to mix RFID tags within the fibers of banknotes, and thus, they can track and monitor the history of transactions in every single banknote.

Soon enough, supermarket checkout lines will be like driving through an E-Z Pass toll way (which are already equipped with RFID technology). That’s right – no more waiting in line or interacting with a cashier.

“We now envision a day where consumers will walk into a store, select products whose packages are embedded with small radio frequency codes, and exit the store without ever going through a checkout line or signing their name on a dotted line,” said Jacki Snyder, manager of Electronic Payments for Supervalu Inc., and chair of the Food Marketing Institute Electronic Payments Committee.

Procter and Gamble boasts videos on its Web site that demonstrate this “Store of the Future,” as well as the “Home of the Future.”

The latter video depicts a future where the contents of your refrigerator will automatically report to supermarkets when it’s time to reorder. They’ll also communicate with interactive televisions that select commercials based on what’s in your house.

RFID technology isn’t limited to supermarkets and supply chains. As of August 2006, all newly issued passports have been equipped with an RFID tag, containing a small database of your personal information.

Applied Digital Solutions is the leading manufacturer of a human implantable tag known as the VeriChip. VeriChip received FDA approval in 2004, despite ongoing studies projecting high percentages of cancer in implanted test animals – a fact that is all too often overlooked by the FDA and VeriChip Corporation.

At the time of the FDA’s approval, former Republican Presidential candidate Tommy Thomson administered the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the FDA. Two weeks after the FDA approval went into effect, Thomson resigned from his Cabinet position and became a board member at Applied Digital Solutions within five months.

Thomson claims he had not heard of VeriChip at the time of his resignation.

But VeriChip was tangled in controversy even before Thomson’s surreptitious arrival. Residents of Chattanooga, Tenn. were already protesting the corporation when VeriChip attempted to implant devices on patients at Orange Grove Center, a facility for the developmentally disabled.

“The potential risks to health associated with the device are: adverse tissue reaction; migration of implanted transponder; compromised information security; failure of implanted transponder; failure of inserter; failure of electronic scanner; electromagnetic interference; electrical hazards; magnetic resonance imaging incompatibility; and needle stick,” responded the FDA in a letter to an RFID petitioner.

The forces behind this osmotic transition into a police state are no governmental conspiracy – they’re going public. In order to assimilate this technology into the majority of society, lawmakers and corporate executives know they must make Americans ask for it.

Tommy Thomson stated during a television appearance, “Everyone in America should receive a VeriChip to link his or her medical records.”

VeriChip says they’re talking with the Pentagon about replacing dog tags with RFID tags in all military personal. Congressional records indicate that the President of Columbia, Alvaro Uribe, told Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) he would consider implanting all guest workers before they leave Columbia.

Former “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel warned in an opinion article in the New York Times, “We cannot even begin to control the growing army of businesses and industries that monitor what we buy, what we watch on television, where we drive, the debts we pay or fail to pay, our marriages and divorces, our litigations, our health and tax records and all else that may or may not yet exist on some computer tape, if we don’t fully understand everything we’re signing up for when we avail ourselves of one of these services.”

Jake Perron welcomes comments at [email protected]