Recently, I teamed up with other activists to speak to the board of San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District to express our objections to the use of RFID-chipped lanyards starting in the 2012 school year. There’s already been plenty of coverage of that so I won’t go into detail except to say that I felt really good doing that and also met some really cool people!

I was watching an interview of Jesse Ventura by Abby Martin of RT and later into it he disclosed that 1 of the upcoming episodes of his TruTV “Conspiracy Theory” TV show, mainly about the TSA, was being shutdown. He let it slip that in the show, the TSA is planning to introduce bracelets where one can pass through the checkpoints without hassle. The catcher that Ventura disclosed {the veracity of which I’m still determining} is that the TSA can enable it to “DISABLE” you, meaning it’ll taser you if they determine that you’re a threat, or perhaps you’re wearing the bracelet illegally or something. That really struck a cord in me. That reminds me of those dog bark collars that shock the dog when it barks.

So, I emailed my favorite privacy advocate, Dr. Katherine Albrecht, about this. She replied that I ought to read her book from 2006, “Spychips”. I felt rather sheepish since I should have read it already. So, I zoomed by Brave New Bookstore during my daily routine and picked up a copy. What an amazing little book! I am not even finished due to extensive cross-referencing, it’s that rich.

A few pages in when Albrecht made a reference to how anxious RFID manufacturers and their clients are about keeping their plans mum until it’s too late, I remembered 1 of the best presentations I had seen at the Black Hat USA Briefings in 2005. I put Spychips down momentarily and dug through my bookcases for my print copy of the Briefings so I could read the presentation slides. Hmm… subverting Windows undetected with rootkits… Michael Lynn’s epic Cisco IOS buffer overflow fiasco… nope no RFID… Paul Vixie on DNS… Phil Zimmerman on a PGP voip phone… Mudge’s excuse to get drunk and ramble about whatever… WHERE IS IT

I know damn well I attended that presentation. So, I looked online for any clues and after reading this article, remembered why it wasn’t in the print copy of the Briefings presentation – HID Global Corporation “requested” that the presentation by IOActive be canceled.

What I can’t seem to find is that the presentation was done anyway. Much of it was about how easy it was gather data off of an RFID chip from as far away as 30 feet and the presenter demonstrated accordingly.

The most profound takeaway that I had from this presentation {it’s hard to parse and grok all the info at these conferences because it’s 3 days of nonstop cutting-edge research} was that someone in a foreign country looking for US citizens with passports could conceivably easily broadcast a simple RF signal in a crowd of people and determine who was carrying a US passport {since RFID tags were slated to go into US passports I think by 2008 at that time} and execute whatever badness they wanted.

Black Hat is largely funded by In-Q-Tel, which is a CIA-funded front company. They are wise to do this in order to attract the best and brightest in high-tech to stay relevant. So, this had particular application to spies in the field carrying passports, legitimate or no.

Anyway, I mainly wanted to highlight the fact an RFID company went out of their way to stifle disclosure about security weaknesses of RFID technology. They don’t want the “plebes” to know jack squat about the Grand Plan of RFID tech deployment EVERYWHERE, ubiquitously pervasive in every aspect of human lives.

Fast forward 6-7 years later and the tentacled beast that is the modern surveillance state incorporates RFID along with live stream cameras, personal data monitoring and so on RIGHT NOW. And that’s just what is public knowledge.

God help us.

Advertisements