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Media Cranks Up Hard Sell of Biometric and RFID Microchipped Future

I don’t watch a lot of television. But no sooner did I flip on MSNBC last night a coiffured talking head appeared gabbling about the insecurity of ATM machines. If we are to believe Algorithmic Research, an Israeli company, there is a flaw in the average ATM regarding PINs, account numbers, encryption, and decryption, that is to say there is a window of opportunity to snatch this information—over the internet, of course—by an unscrupulous hacker...


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Media Cranks Up Hard Sell of Biometric and RFID Microchipped Future

Kurt Nimmo

December 2, 2006

I don’t watch a lot of television. But no sooner did I flip on MSNBC last night a coiffured talking head appeared gabbling about the insecurity of ATM machines.

If we are to believe Algorithmic Research, an Israeli company, there is a flaw in the average ATM regarding PINs, account numbers, encryption, and decryption, that is to say there is a window of opportunity to snatch this information—over the internet, of course—by an unscrupulous hacker.

Mind you, nobody has actually exploited this alleged flaw and stolen information, MSNBC admits, but it is conceivable, never mind the Secret Service, responsible for this sort of crime, and the American Bankers Association dismiss it as unlikely.

It is also conceivable "al-Qaeda" will attack, as we are told on a nearly weekly basis, but the fact they have not over the last five years never seems to get worked into the equation.

Not to worry, though. Biometric authentication, according to the MSNBC talking head, will save us.

In a day not too far off in the future, fingerprint analysis, iris recognition, voice recognition or combinations of these technologies will come to the rescue. DieBold, the friendly voting machine folks, are working on this for us. Standard Bank in South Africa has fingerprint verification ATMs manufactured by DieBold in use and the company is fast at work figuring out what technology works the best. Once they do, you may see biometric ATMs in your neighborhood.

According to Citibank, biometric ATMs "have been tailored to meet the needs of the under-banked, lower income segment" and will feature "voice-enabled navigation facility aimed at illiterate customers," Moneycontrol reports. "Citibank plans to establish a network of 25 to 35 such ATMs within a year," for now in Mumbai and Hyderabad.

But Citibank it isn’t simply targeting "illiterate customers" in rural areas of India. "The latest—and arguably biggest—player to enter the biopayment game is none other than Citibank Singapore, which has been quietly distributing fingerprint readers to area businesses for the past month," reports Portalino. "Right now only Clear Platinum card holders have the option of going biometric, and since this group includes heavy representation from the tech-savvy 25 to 34-year-old demographic, it seems that Citibank is taking the right approach to ensure widespread adoption."

Note how forking over your biometric data is characterized as an "option," a lifestyle choice for the sake of convenience.

Surrendering to Big Brother is now cool, as even James Bond, in the remake of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, has himself a microchip—for the sake of safety, of course. In the film, this little device saves Bond’s life. It will save your life, too, as you can now be scanned like a cocker spaniel.

Lest we believe America has been left out of the biometric loop, consider the following: "Although biometric payment systems are still pretty rare… recent trials at stores like Albertsons and Cub Foods and even the school lunch line would seem to indicate that more pervasive rollouts are just around the corner."

Increasingly, it would seem that if you want to eat, you will be forced to surrender your biometric data. Acceptance begins at the grade school lunch line.

Acceptance, however, does not seem to be much of a problem. "Ever get to the supermarket only to realize you forgot your wallet? For the more than 3.3 million consumers who’ve signed up for biometric technology, that’s no longer a problem," reports ParadeNet, the internet version of Parade magazine. "Customers at several retailers can now literally pay by touch. By placing their finger on a scanner at the checkout and entering their home phone number, these tech-savvy shoppers can deduct the cost of a carton of milk directly from a bank account or credit card."

Again, it is "tech-savvy" to get plugged into the Big Brother Matrix.

In Chicago, climbing aboard the biometric bandwagon, according to TMCnet, will make the Christmas season less stressful.

"One of the most frustrating things that occur at holiday time is the over-crowded stores and long wait times in line just to make it out of the store. However, thanks to Pay By Touch’s biometric payment solution, shoppers now have a fast and secure way of moving through those shopping lines…. And for any customer who used or enrolled in their biometric payment system between November 1 and December 31, 2006 Pay By Touch will also enroll them into a drawing to win a year of free groceries."

Free groceries?

No doubt this one is designed to lure in the "under-banked, lower income segment" facing a bleak Christmas, as every passing holiday season becomes more and more bleak as the American labor market is slowly but surely walmartized or sent over to the corporate slave plantation in China.

"In continuing to spread the holiday cheer, Pay By Touch will also donate $10,000 dollars to The Greater Chicago Food Depository, a non-for-profit food distribution and training center aimed at ending hunger in the community."

No word if they are required to surrender biometrics at the door.

Britain, Sweden, Greece, Germany, and other nations are jumping on the biometric bandwagon. It’s all the rave. It’s "tech-savvy" and cool.

Even Disneyland wants your fingerprints. Scanning of fingerprints at entrance turnstiles outside of the Magic Kingdom "enhances the experience of the park," according to Disney IT security. For now, "customers, who still have concerns about using their fingerprints, can choose to continue using a photo ID card as a form of identification," reports ZDNet. No guarantees down the road, however, as in the near future all turnstiles will have scanners, designed to enhance the Disney experience, of course. Not scanning will de-enhance the experience, as you will likely be relegated to the end of the line.

It seems the biometric folks are covering all angles. For instance, if you forget your house keys, no problem. "While locks and alarm systems have been used in the past to help protect the home from unauthorized intruders, now biometric technology is introducing the first consumer available, biometric deadbolt lock for doors that ensures authorized entry and eliminates the need for keys," explains TMCnet.

Of course, this gets the "tech-savvy consumer" prepared for biometric technology everywhere, not only at the airport but the grocery store and bank. Biometric will connect to every possible aspect of life that requires a transaction or security requirement.

It’s a small step from a biometric ATM card to a subdermal microchip.

James Bond aside, the idea of "getting chipped" like a Hereford heifer is scary to some people.

In order to overcome this natural aversion, VeriChip Corporation has introduced the VeriMed RFID microchip "designed to provide immediate access to important health information on patients who arrive at an emergency department unconscious, delirious or unable to communicate," according to a press released posted on Yahoo Finance.

Applied Digital, the parent company of VeriChip, manufactures "unique and often proprietary products [that] provide identification and security systems for people, animals, the food supply, government/military arena, and commercial assets. Included in this diversified product line are RFID applications, end-to-end food safety systems, GPS/Satellite communications, and telecomm and security infrastructure, positioning Applied Digital as the leader in identification technology."

Seems Applied Digital is positioned to cash in on the coming electronic panopticon,"a police state characterized by omniscient surveillance and mechanical law enforcement," as Charlie Stross characterizes it.

Applied Digital, Citibank, Disney, and other corporate behemoths may attempt to sell us on biometric convenience and safety, but the eventual use of these technologies will ultimately fall in the domain of surveillance and control.

"Surveillance need not even stop at our skin," with the collection of fingerprints and iris scans, Stross notes, because "the ability to monitor our speech and track our biological signs (for example: pulse, pupillary dilation, or possibly hormone and neurotransmitter levels) may lead to attempts to monitor thoughts as well as deeds. What starts with attempts to identify paedophile predators before they strike may end with discrimination against people believed to be at risk of 'addictive behavior’—howsoever that might be defined—or of harboring anti-social attitudes," for instance disagreeing with the government.

"A Panopticon Singularity is the logical outcome if the burgeoning technologies of the singularity are funneled into automating law enforcement. Previous police states were limited by manpower, but the panopticon singularity substitutes technology, and ultimately replaces human conscience with a brilliant but merciless prosthesis."

It will not take another forty years to realize the panopticon singularity—it is right around the corner, beginning with the Real ID Act in 2008, a biometric scheme approved by our wonderful "representatives" that will be implemented and supervised by the Orwellian Ministry of Homeland Security, a massive federal bureaucratic boondoggle created to protect us from non-existent "al-Qaeda" terrorists. It makes perfect sense Real ID was slipped into a $82 billion military spending bill.

In Philip K. Dick’s short story, Minority Report, set in 2054, as realized by Steven Spielberg in his 2002 film, everyone is automatically eye-scanned and tracked in public, thus not only allowing the police state to keep tabs on every individual, but also target them for odious marketing efforts. It is a prefect marriage of corporations and the state, both fascist in character, as Mussolini described fascism as corporatism and vice versa.

As 2006 winds down, we are enduring increasing efforts to sell us on the Panopticon Singularity, as envisioned by Stross, based on the work of Jeremy Bentham. Our rulers seem to have taken a page from another science fiction story, Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky, depicting the concept of "ubiquitous law enforcement."

James Bond and his microchip may be portrayed on screen as cool and the Jacobs family of Boca Raton, Florida, may be heralded by the corporate media as the "Chipsons" (a lame take on the Jetsons), but the reality of a biometrically scanned and chipped future is almost too hellish to imagine, far worse than anything Steven Spielberg could possibly dream up.

But, hey, at least you won’t have to wait in line at Disney World.

:: Article nr. 28704 sent on 03-dec-2006 01:43 ECT


Link: kurtnimmo.com/?p=685

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

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