« May 2007 | Main | July 2007 »

June 12, 2007

Open window brain download

As I prepare to shut of my computer and leave for Seattle (for an ACLU conference) and then on to Washington, DC (to address the March for America), I am realizing I have an awful lot of windows open -- as usual. Any one of these could be a blog entry in its own right, but for now all I want to do is download them off of my desktop into a digital holding space. This blog seems a good place to do that.

Here, in no particular order, are a few of the non-RFID issues I've been reading and thinking about lately. (RFID issues are in the post below.)

Flying the Precarious Skies
Time magazine tries to convince us that holding the airline industry accountable to passengers through a "Passenger Bill of Rights" would do more harm than good. Time magazine does nice work here for its corporate sponsors from the airline industry, but does the rest of us a disservice with this slanted hit piece. I've been on the receiving end of this sort of industry-media propaganda, and it's no prettier here.

Passenger Bill of Rights
Now for the non-corporate version from an actual passenger turned consumer advocate. Kate Hanni is right on target with her call for airline passengers to receive at least the same decent level of treatment as POWs. (Seriously - prisoners of war have better rights than airline passengers). Kate's organization, Coalition for a Passenger Bill of Rights, now has over 15,000 members. It is apparently feared and loathed by the airlines, as the Time magazine article above attests. If you've got them that scared, Kate, you're doing something right.

You can listen to my radio interview with Kate Hanni here:


A Race to the Bottom: Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies
A new Report out from Privacy International (Simon Davies' group out of the UK) ranks Google at the bottom of the pack when it comes to privacy. It's time to dump your gmail accounts, folks. Seriously. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-553961

Church of England Calls Sony Game 'Sick'

This one is stomach-churning. From the AP writeup:
The Church of England accused Sony Corp. (SNE) on Saturday of using an English cathedral as the backdrop to a violent computer game and said it should be withdrawn from shop shelves. The church said Sony did not ask for permission to use Manchester cathedral and demanded an apology. The popular new PlayStation 3 game, "Resistance: Fall of Man," shows a virtual shootout between rival gunmen with hundreds of people killed inside the cathedral. Church officials described Sony's alleged use of the building as "sick" and sacrilegious."

Venezuela - Chavez goes on offensive against opposition media

Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez is taking a page from the dictator playbook and shutting down media outlets that he accuses of undermining the stability of the state. Will we soon start seeing the same tactics here in the U.S.?

Black Box Voting

Bev Harris has long been exposing the issues around electronic voting, vote fixing, and corruption. Bev was here in New Hampshire last night, but due to a communications mixup, I wasn't able to see her in person.

CEOs vs. Slaves
Recent findings shed new light on the increasingly unequal terrain of American society. The new "top" involves pay in the hundreds of millions, a private jet and a few acres of Nantucket. The new bottom is slavery. Literally.
Barbara Ehrenreich at her finest.

Aftermath News

An awesome new blog I stumbled across. Every time I hit reload on this window, something new and fascinating pops up.

Man found underground, took 2 years to build bunker
BUFFALO (AP) — A city fire investigator says he found a man living in a well-equipped underground bunker.
James O'Neill, an investigator with the city fire marshal's office, said the man, a 47-year-old veteran, uses car batteries to light the 16-by-20-foot space, which is six feet underground. He cooks food in a hot pot...
The walls are covered with insulation and plastic tarps and the ceiling is made of wood and roofing material, said O'Neill, who discovered the home over the weekend while investigating a nearby fire. The man sleeps on a foam bed, O'Neill said.
"Some people would call him homeless, but he's a clean, well-spoken guy. When I spoke to him, he was reading a novel by Joseph Wambaugh," O'Neill told The Buffalo News.
The fire investigator declined to give the man's name or say where the bunker is located to protect the man's privacy. He said the man earns money doing occasional odd jobs.
"It's not the Marriott hotel by any means, but this man has made it comfortable down there," O'Neill said.
The man said he has been living in the bunker for about six years.
"He told me it's a peaceful and tranquil place to live," O'Neill said.

MPs quiz Tesco and Nectar card executives on data privacy
Committee continues investigation of 'surveillance society'
MPs are set to grill executives from supermarket giant Tesco and Nectar loyalty card firm LMG on how they use customer data - and how privacy is protected.

Wireless energy transfer
Just what we need - a way to wirelessly transfer the energy needed to power RFID readers everywhere.

NYC Mayor Pushing for London Style Vehicle Tracking
And so it begins.

DHS Wants your Cell Phone snooping and sniffing your surroundings
At the 2007 DHS Science and Technology Stakeholders Conference, S&T Director of Innovation Roger McGinnis outlined how the system could work. Cell phone sensors would continually test the air for harmful compounds and digitally relay any information to a central monitoring system if they find anything amiss.
“It’s a great way to get millions of detectors out there,” McGinnis said.

- Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 7:38 PM | Comments (0)

RFID brain download

Today's open windows related to RFID from my desktop, in no particular order:

Staples Trials Reusable RFID Tags
Staples crossing dangerously close to the item-level RFID-tagging line that could bring on boycotts and/or protests. The tags are removable and not meant to leave the store, if that's any consolaton.

Search Teams Put RFID to the Rescue to Help Find the Missing
"Rescue agencies in the United States and Canada are leveraging RFID wristbands and readers to cut the time needed to locate lost individuals."
Yep. You can definitely use RFID to track people. (But nobody would ever abuse that, right?)

Belgian Biometric Passport does not get a pass...Your personal data are in danger!
"...I think [Belgium is] probably going to be the best in all of Europe in terms of security of passports..."
James Sensenbrenner, Congressman, April 21st, 2004, [link]
Bzzzt! Wrong again, as this report shows.

RFID News: SCDigest Unplugged Interview with Procter & Gamble on RFID
"We Have EPC Questions; P&G’s Dick Cantwell Has Answers"

If you've read Spychips, you know Dick Cantwell is not your friend.

NY Electronic Tagging Device Bill - An Orwellian Measure
Assembly Bill 5424, recently introduced by State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), is a draconian measure which will victimize many innocent New York men and fathers. The bill requires “any person against whom an order of protection is issued…to wear an electronic monitoring device.” The device will allow pinpoint tracking of the wearer, and tampering with the device will be a felony.

Need intellectual ammo against this? See my earlier blog entry on tracking criminals here:
Be Careful what you Wish on your Enemies

New report examines RFID in the postal system
"The report, entitled 'RFID For The Postal And Courier Service', published by IDTechEx, also projects that the sector's value could be much greater if current efforts to tag individual items gain widespread acceptance."
Will postal anonymity be the next thing to go?
[Site requires subscription]

Fish with built-in chips - the aquarium of the future?

> The Underwater World aquarium in Singapore has implanted approximately 20 fish in its Living Fossils exhibition tank with low frequency 23mm glass RFID transponders .
[Site requires subscription]

- Katherine Albrecht

Posted by Katherine Albrecht at 7:37 PM | Comments (0)