Saturday, February 13, 2010

Under my skin

By Capt. Fogg

It's strange to find myself on the same side of any fence with the Book of Revelation literalists, a group for which my loathing is nearly boundless. Nonetheless, the disturbingly Orwellian prospect of having RFID devices implanted in people so that their employers can track their movements scares hell out of them as much as it does me.

A Radio Frequency Identification Device is small enough to be placed under the skin with a hypodermic needle, and it's a great thing for keeping tabs on cattle or identifying lost dogs. They can also contain data, medical or otherwise, that can be read by a scanner. Most humans object to being forced to having one inserted, however, particularly as a substitute for a key or ID badge.

Civil libertarians -- indeed, any kind of libertarians -- tend to be militantly opposed to allowing this to be done to people, but it's of course for reasons of privacy and the protection thereof, not because they give credit to what may be the looniest book to worm it's way into the Christian canon. There are many such people in places like Virginia, and it seems to be they who are behind a bill designed to prevent such implants. Why? Because John of Patmos, almost 2000 years ago, had RFID capsules in mind when he talked about the Mark of the Beast.

He didn't, and the Beast is most likely Nero, but even if the enemy of my enemy is not really my friend, these things are the mark of some kind of beast, corporate or governmental, and I'm as much against it as they are.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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