Despite what some people may think, I am not all about government intrusion in our lives, but the government is supposed to be there to protect the people, especially from the likes of monolithic corporate giants that have nobody’s interest at heart but their own.
Why isn’t that the case any longer?Â Why do special interest groups always get their way?Â (Yes, I know it is all about the money and re-election funds… it was a rhetorical question.Â Just follow… OK?)Â An excellent example is the recent first in the country RFID laws passed in Washington State.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, RFID chips are being put into and used in “everything” now, or at least they will be very soon.Â That “touch-less” Gas-N-Go card you have from the Station?Â RFID,Â Those new “intelligent” passports that are coming?Â RFID, the new digital Drivers Licenses that are being rolled out?Â RFID.Â Even some of those frequent shoppers cards.Â You have a lot of information that is now accessible, just by walking past an RFID reader set to grab that information.
Now rightly, there is cause for concern, and the laws they were pushing in Washington made sense.Â There were basically two parts; the first is making it illegal for anybody to attempt to access your information for fraudulent purposes.Â Rather obvious, and somewhat redundant, since fraud is already illegal, but I guess this would be another tacked on charge, or perhaps you can simply be arrested for “attempted” fraud.Â Whatever, I don’t have a problem with that.Â If somebody is “skimming” my information, then sure he should get in trouble for it without me having to be an actual fraud victim.Â But then there is the second part of the law, or more correctly, the original bill… because it never made it into the law.
That part, required retailers and other businesses to only gather information about you on an opt-in basis.Â As is always the case… it seems, the retailers and their lobbyist fought this part of the law, and eventually got it pulled out.Â So, now skimming is only illegal for an individual; corporations that are skimming are free to gather information about you, how long you shopped in their stores, where in the store you went, how much time you spent in each section, just by strategically placing some RFID scanners, and you will be none the wiser as they gather this information.
But don’t worry, I am sure some company will come out with some sort of RFID blocking wallet, that will be ugly, cumbersome and expensive, but will “protect” you from the “snoops.”Â Yup that is right, to have the privacy you should expect by default… you will have it.Â As long as you pay for it.Â (Maybe!)