What do you all think of this technology? It is obviously pretty advanced. What do you think about the potential of it being used by law
enforcement agencies and the like?
This appears to be a battlefield adaptation of existing technology more than a new threat. The potential for abuse of "smartdust" is of a different
nature than the conventional RFID threat.
The nice thing about smartdust is that it's not necesarily tied to one person, it just tracks an "annonymous" target. For instance, we've got Bin
Laden trapped at Tora Bora yet again, but this aint our first rodeo and we know what's going to happen. So we drop smartdust, it gets in everyones
gear, and hopefully causes a lot of chafing in some really unpleasant places on Bin Laden's body... and now when they're sneaking out, we can see
where people are moving out of Tora Bora and call in airstrikes accordingly.
From an abuse standpoint, this is mainly useful for counter-insurgency by a police state, for the same reason. When they set a curfew, you better take
a real thorough shower or they'll know when someone is out and about. etc.
It also may have legitimate law enforcement uses though. For example, there's a riot and you don't have the manpower to respond to looting in a
given area. You airdrop smartdust, watch where they go, and when things have calmed down again you can go arrest the looters at home.
The RFID/other tracking devices I'm worried about won't be secret. Walmart's new inventory control system, where all of their merchandise will be
electronically tagged, is going to lead to no-stop checkout. You'll fill up your cart and walk out the door, the tags will all scan simultaneously as
you exit, and the RFID in your credit card and drivers license will ID you and authorize the withdrawl from your account.
This means that you'll have a homing device in your pocket 24/7, by your own consent, because you never really thought they'd use it against you.
But what happens when you're moving down the freeway too fast? If they put RFID beacons along the freeway, they can speed-check every single car, and
ticket you every single time you offend- fair enough, though annoying.
But they also know where you're going that means. Once we get to that point where they have the system in place for "traffic safety" that means
they'll know what roads you were on at what time, and what neighborhood you stopped in. And we're not even talking about a massive system yet.
We're only talking about putting up a few short-range radio becons- 1 at every freeway exit, and maybe 1 at certain key intersections in major
cities. Nevermind what happens when it gets extensive enough that you're never out of range.
I've heard that they'd like to put these the tags in the products we buy, and sensors in our homes, so that they can automatically know when we need
groceries and schedule delivery either to the store or to us, to avoid overstocking or temporary run-outs (it would also ensure customer loyalty by
locking you into one store's supply chain).
Give it 10-15 years till phase 1 is complete, and by the time I'm retired, they'll be watching it all.
I'll be 60, I'll be at home with a woman 1/3 my age who's hoping to get put in my will, and the gestapo downtown will be watching their monitors-
they'll see that I've moved the bottle of viagra, then they'll see that my wallet has gone from waist height to the floor, then the RFID in my
matress will start to move up and down slightly...
This will give the guys down at the police station an idea, they'll check the RFID logs for my partners drivers license position, find out who's
with me, look up known photos in the data base, and have a police sketch artist animate the events for them, and pretty soon I'll be on ametuer porn
sites and not even know it.
OK- maybe it won't go quite that far, but long story short, I'm not worried about the smart dust. I'm worried about the tracking devices they TELL
me I've been given, but don't give me any alternative to. You can't run around with no drivers license or bank card afterall.