Children to be given electronic identity cards
July 2006, The Telegraph Group Limited
Brussels: Electronic identity cards for all children under 12 are to be introduced in Belgium. They will bear a code designed to allow parents of missing children to be traced instantly. The announcement came as Belgian police continued to search for two young girls who vanished from the street outside a bar in the middle of the night a fortnight ago. Though the ID cards would be useless in protecting children from an abductor or adult determined to do them harm, they are intended to offer a secure way of making sure a lost child can be reunited with family.
Belgians have been greatly sensitive to issues of missing children since the case a decade ago of Marc Dutroux, a paedophile rapist and killer who kidnapped six children, killing four of them, before being caught. The new children's cards will carry a special code number and instructions on how to call a central missing child hotline.
British town's pubs scan fingerprints
July 2006, MM_NEWS REPORTER
Revellers in a British town are to have their fingerprints scanned when they enter pubs and clubs. This scheme is aimed at weeding out drunken troublemakers. The scheme is voluntary, and the information stored will be subject to data protection laws.
The "In Touch" project is the first in Britain. Biometric finger-scanning machines have been installed at six pubs in the British southwestern town. Clubbers will be asked to have their right index finger scanned, and to show picture identification to register on the system.
Once registered on the system, clubbers are identified by finger scan only. The data is then stored on a computer network which other pubs and clubs in the scheme can access so that information on louts can be passed on quickly.
It will identify those who have previously been intent on causing trouble. If somebody is causing trouble in one pub, the system will update and the door staff at other pubs will be aware.
Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans
April 2006 - By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japans top telephone company, says it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic. But more sinister applications also come to mind. I can envision it being added to militaries' arsenals of so-called "non-lethal" weapons.
A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head _ either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved. I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off.
The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation _ essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance. I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced _ mistakenly _ that this was the only way to maintain my balance. The phenomenon is painless but dramatic. Your feet start to move before you know it. I could even remote-control myself by taking the switch into my own hands. It's a mesmerizing sensation similar to being drunk or melting into sleep under the influence of anesthesia. But it's more definitive, as though an invisible hand were reaching inside your brain.
NTT says the feature may be used in video games and amusement park rides, although there are no plans so far for a commercial product. Research on using electricity to affect human balance has been going on around the world for some time. And risk definitely comes to mind when playing around with this technology. Timothy Hullar, assistant professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., believes finding the right way to deliver an electromagnetic field to the ear at a distance could turn the technology into a weapon for situations where "killing isn't the best solution."
"This would be the most logical situation for a nonlethal weapon that presumably would make your opponent dizzy," he said via e-mail. "If you find just the right frequency, energy, duration of application, you would hope to find something that doesn't permanently injure someone but would allow you to make someone temporarily off-balance."
Indeed, a small defense contractor in Texas, Invocon Inc., is exploring whether precisely tuned electromagnetic pulses could be safely fired into people's ears to temporarily subdue them.
New technology uses human body for broadband networking
By sending data over the surface of the skin, it may soon be possible to trade music files by dancing cheek to cheek, or to swap phone numbers by kissing
By Paul Rubens THE GUARDIAN , LONDON - April 2006
Your body could soon be the backbone of a broadband personal data network linking your mobile phone or MP3 player to a cordless headset, your digital camera to a PC or printer, and all the gadgets you carry around to each other.
These personal area networks are already possible using radio-based technologies, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, or just plain old cables to connect devices. But NTT, the Japanese communications company, has developed a technology called RedTacton, which it claims can send data over the surface of the skin at speeds of up to 2Mbps -- equivalent to a fast broadband data connection.
Using RedTacton-enabled devices, music from an MP3 player in your pocket would pass through your clothing and shoot over your body to headphones in your ears. Instead of fiddling around with a cable to connect your digital camera to your computer, you could transfer pictures just by touching the PC while the camera is around your neck. And since data can pass from one body to another, you could also exchange electronic business cards by shaking hands, trade music files by dancing cheek to cheek, or swap phone numbers just by kissing.
NTT is not the first company to use the human body as a conduit for data: IBM pioneered the field in 1996 with a system that could transfer small amounts of data at very low speeds, and last June, Microsoft was granted a patent for "a method and apparatus for transmitting power and data using the human body."
But RedTacton is arguably the first practical system because, unlike IBM's or Microsoft's, it doesn't need transmitters to be in direct contact with the skin -- they can be built into gadgets, carried in pockets or bags, and will work within about 20cm of your body. RedTacton doesn't introduce an electric current into the body -- instead, it makes use of the minute electric field that occurs naturally on the surface of every human body. A transmitter attached to a device, such as an MP3 player, uses this field to send data by modulating the field minutely in the same way that a radio carrier wave is modulated to carry information.
An intriguing possibility is that the technology will be used as a sort of secondary nervous system to link large numbers of tiny implanted components placed beneath the skin to create powerful onboard -- or in-body -- computers.
Spy device will cut drivers' speed by satellite
The Sunday Times - Britain - April 2006
Forget cameras - spy device will cut drivers’ speed by satellite (abridged)
Dipesh Gadher, Transport Correspondent
IT IS the ultimate back seat driver. Motorists face having their cars fitted with a “spy” device that stops speeding.
The satellite-based system will monitor the speed limit and apply the brakes or cut out the accelerator if the driver tries to exceed it. A government-funded trial has concluded that the scheme promotes safer driving.
Drivers in London could be among the first to have the “speed spy” devices fitted. They would be offered a discount on the congestion charge if they use the system. The move follows a six-month trial in Leeds using 20 modified Skoda Fabias, which found that volunteer drivers paid more attention as well keeping to the speed limit. More than 1,000 lives a year could be saved if the system was fitted to all Britain’s cars, say academics at Leeds University, who ran the trial on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT).
It is part of a two-year research project into “intelligent speed adaptation” (ISA), which the department is funding at a cost of £2m. Results of the initial trial will be presented to ministers this week.
The trial Skodas were fitted with a black box containing a digital map identifying the speed limits of every stretch of road in Leeds. A satellite positioning system tracked the cars’ locations. The device compared the car’s speed with the local limit — displayed on the dashboard — and sent a signal to the accelerator or brake pedal to slow if it was too fast. The system can be overridden to avoid a hazard.
“The trials have been incredibly successful,” said Oliver Carsten, project leader and professor of transport safety at Leeds University. The DfT says it has no plans to make speed limiters mandatory but admits that it is considering creating a digital map of all Britain’s roads which would pave the way for a national ISA system. Edmund King, of the RAC Foundation, said limiters might make motorists less alert: “If you take too much control away the driver could switch on to autopilot.”
Chips track license plates
April 2006 - United Press International
A controversial plan to embed radio frequency identification chips in license plates in the United Kingdom also may be coming to the United States, experts told UPI's Wireless World. The so-called e-Plate, developed by the British firm Hills Numberplates, is a license plate that also transmits a vehicle's unique identification via encryption that can be read by a small detector, whose output can be used locally or communicated to a distant host.
"RFID is all the rage these days," said Bradley Gross, chairman of Becker & Poliakoff, a law firm in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., "but my fear is that this use of the technology is tracking at its worst."
The reason for the concern in the legal and privacy-rights communities is that e-plates may expand the ability of police to track individuals by the movement of their vehicles. A single RFID reader can identify dozens of vehicles fitted with e-plates moving at any speed at a distance of about 100 yards. The e-plate looks just like a standard plate, but it contains an embedded chip that cannot be seen or removed. It is self-powered with a battery life of up to 10 years.
"Police will be able to track your every move when you drive," said Liz McIntyre, an RFID expert and author of the forthcoming book, "Spychips: How Major Corporations and the Government Plan to Track Your Every Move With RFID" (Nelson Current, October 2005). "What if they put these readers at a mosque? They could tell who was inside at a worship service by which cars were in the parking lot." Indeed, the makers of the technology boast that the e-plates can furnish access control, automated tolling, asset tracking, traffic-flow monitoring and vehicle crime and "non-compliance." The chips can be outfitted with 128 bit encryption to prevent hacking.
Technology tracks goods, now people
March 2006 - By Douglas Quan, David Baumanand / The Press-Enterprise
For years, pet owners have been implanting tiny radio transmitters in their pets in case their animals get lost. The pet ID microchip was one of the earlier uses of radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology.
Now, radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology is being considered for library books, driver licenses and passports -- even implanting in humans. It has sparked Big Brother fears and concerns that identity thieves could abuse the technology.
Privacy groups, however, worry that strangers with hand-held readers could skim personal information off the devices, inventory people's store purchases and the library books they borrow, and track people's movements, like blips on a radar screen.
"Skimming, inventorying and tracking, all of them, give strangers a chance to see who you are, what you have and what you are doing, and you do not have much control over it," said Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit consumer-advocacy group.
"It used to be follow the money. Now it's follow the data," Thomas said. "There are zero safeguards. We are living de facto in a surveillance society. There's no doubt about it," he said.
Dutch to Open Electronic Files on Children
Tue Sep 13, 6:36 PM ET
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - The Dutch government plans to open an electronic file on every child at birth as a tool to spot and protect the troubled kids of the future.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, all citizens will be tracked from cradle to grave in a single database including health, education, family and police records the health ministry said Tuesday. As a privacy safeguard, no single person or agency will be able to access all contents of a file. But organizations can raise "red flags" in the dossier to caution other agencies about problems, ministry spokesman Jan Brouwer said. The intention is to protect troubled children, Brouwer said. Until now, schools and police have been unable to communicate with each other about truancy records and criminality, which are often linked. "Child protection services will say, 'Hey, there's a warning flag from the police. There's another one from school. There's another one from the doctor," Brouwer said. "Something must be going on and it's time to call the parents in for a meeting." Every child will get a Citizens Service Number, making it easier to keep track of children with problems even when their families move, said Secretary of Health Clemence Ross. "Safety, guidance, education and supervision are incredibly important for the development of children," Ross said. All Dutch births are currently registered with local authorities.
Bosses keep sharp eye on mobile workers via GPS (abridged)
By Adam Geller, Associated Press - May 2005
DANBURY, Conn. Ciro Viento commands a platoon of 110 garbage trucks, so when a caller complained after seeing one of the blue and white trash tanks speeding down Route 22, Viento didn't know which driver to blame. Until he checked his computer. With a few taps on the keyboard, Viento zeroed in on the driver of one particular front-loader which, the screen showed, had been on that very road at 7:22 a.m., doing 51 miles per hour in a zone restricted to 35. Gotcha.
More employers are adopting technology like the system used by Viento's company. As they do, many workers who have long enjoyed the freedom of the road are rankling over the boss' newfound power to watch their every move via satellite. The technology, global positioning systems, is hardly new. But using GPS to track workers and vehicles is catching on with a growing number of business and government employers, bent on improving productivity and customer service, and keeping tabs on labor costs. "If you're not out there baby-sitting them, you don't know how long it takes to do the route. The guy could be driving around the world, he could be at his girlfriend's house," said Viento of Automated Waste Disposal Inc., a commercial and household trash hauler doing business in western Connecticut and neighboring New York counties. "Now there's literally no place for them to hide."
Some long-haul trucking companies have used GPS to manage their fleets for several years. But the range of employers adopting GPS usually fitted in vehicles or in cell phones and other devices workers carry on the job is broadening, particularly among companies dispatching large numbers of service technicians, in the building trades and others whose workers span wide territory. UPS Inc., for example, will distribute new hand-held computers to its 100,000 U.S. delivery truck drivers early next year, each equipped with a GPS receiver. The company says the feature will not be used to monitor workers, but to alert them when they're at the wrong address or help them identify an unfamiliar location. But for many of the employers adopting the technology, including many smaller firms, the primary benefit is not just the ability to smooth business operations. They want to keep closer track of workers who aren't always doing what they're supposed to be doing, even though they're on the clock.
"This is not about tracking people. It's about managing the business," But worker and privacy advocates, while acknowledging the value of GPS for some business purposes, say employers are already stepping over the line. "We're talking about monitoring employees in every facet of their lives, and monitoring behavior that is more often than not, personal and not business related," said Jeremy Gruber, legal director for the National Workrights Institute, an advocacy group. He cites instances of employers who have reportedly required some workers to carry GPS-equipped cell phones at all times, even when off work
RFID gets skin-deep alternative
By Jo Best, Silicon.com - April 2005
One German start-up has created an alternative to RFID that is likely to get under consumers' skin. Ident Technologies has dreamt up Skinplex - which could be used in all the same ways as RFID and Bluetooth - but uses a different transmitter: human skin.
Like RFID, Skinplex works by reading a unique identifier remotely using an electromagnetic signal, normally between a microchip and a reader. Unlike RFID, however, Skinplex uses the skin to transmit the signal and an identifier carried on a person. The signal is transmitted when the carrier touches the receiver. The Skinplex system can also be worked from a distance of 50cm, transmitting through the ether. One possible use for the technology the company is touting is for unlocking car doors remotely. With the car owner carrying his own unique code, the idea is Skinplex becomes an anti-theft device, with only the car owner being able to get in the car without setting off an alarm.
With RFID set to become a billion-dollar market by 2010, the idea of keeping the costs down might tempt some the way of Skinplex. Some hospitals are even talking about implanting staff and patients with RFID technology, potentially opening up a huge market for humans to carry RFID chips or Skinplex identifiers. However, last month, Microsoft patented a way of turning your skin into a power conduit and data bus. IBM also jumped on the bandwagon some years ago - showing off a way of electronically sharing business cards when two people shake hands.
System tracks patients via wireless device
CNN - March 2005
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Nordic telecommunications operator TeliaSonera AB said Wednesday it is launching a new product that lets doctors monitor their patients through a wireless device. The new system, which is called BodyKom, connects wirelessly to sensors on the patient. If dangerous changes are detected in the patient's body, the hospital or health care services are automatically alerted over a secure mobile network connection.
The unit receiving the alarm will also be informed of the geographic position of the patient through the use of GPS technology. TeliaSonera is launching the service together with Hewlett Packard Co. and Swedish technology company Kiwok. "It can be difficult for patients to understand exactly how their body feels, if for example there is irregular heart activity," said Professor Christer Sylven of the Karolinska University Hospital in Solna, just outside Stockholm. "In theory, the patient would be able to be at home or at work and still feel safe. If something were to happen, health care personnel would know immediately and be able to respond more quickly."
The concept will be tested this spring, either at the Karolinska University Hospital or the Uppsala University Hospital, Kiwok spokesman Bjoern Soederberg said. TeliaSonera aims to sell BodyKom mainly to hospitals, where a similar service is currently used to monitor heart rates. The service will be expanded to monitor diabetes, asthma and other diseases which may require timely intervention, the company said. "The service will mean an improved quality of life for the patients, who won't be required to remain in a hospital for health control," said Erik Heilborn, a TeliaSonera spokesman. "If more patients can sign out of hospitals earlier, more valuable space will be created in the wards and taxpayer money can be saved."
Venice Tracks Vehicles with RFID
By Ed Sutherland - Wi-Fi Planet , March 2005
Combine historic Venice, Italy with millions of automobiles and you have the perfect test of Wi-Fi-based RFID. San Mateo, Calif-based AeroScout accepted the challenge to bring a confusing vehicle tracking system into the wireless future. While vehicles for locals are banned from Venice in favor of gondoliers moving along watery canals, the ancient city still receives a crush of automobiles from the many visiting tourists. Located closest to the city, the Port Authority of Venice parking facility must keep track of vehicles.
In hope of spreading the use of RFID along the Adriatic coast, AeroScout's Italian partner Teleporto Adriatico (TPA) sees Venice as an ideal testbed. "The Port of Venice is proof positive of the established demand and business case for this technology," according to Andris Berzins, vice president of marketing and business development at AeroScout. Advantages of Wi-Fi-based RFID for the port include increased efficiency, quick response to customers and reduced theft, according to a statement. "This is a vehicle-specific application" of Active RFID, says Berzins.
The company's RFID tags, which are usually mounted flat on other types of assets, have been adapted for tracking vehicles. "We have tag accessories called 'tag hangers' that are plastic plates with a hook specially designed for easily hanging them on the rear view mirror of a car," says Berzins. Although unable to give a specific figure for the amount of traffic flowing through the Venice port, between 13 million and 15 million tourists visit the scenic Italian city each year. The port "serves all the vehicles that need to have access to the port area," says Berzins. "This is the yard that is closest to the port itself, which is in the city of Venice." Visitors must register with the port in order to park. The port, in turn, closely monitors the vehicles.
Unlike passive RFID, which is limited in range and ability due to the low power from the RFID reader, active Wi-Fi-based RFID tags have their own power source, allowing for longer range and continuous operation. Using AeroScout's Visibility System, the Venice port "can now assign an AeroScout tag to each vehicle, and track that vehicle's accurate location on the lot at all times," according to a company statement. With the AeroScout system, active RFID tags transmit brief messages about a vehicle's location via an 802.11b Wi-Fi network. The software-driven AeroScout Engine collects and processes the information. Also in use at the Savannah, Ga.-based American Port Services (APS), the Aeroscout RFID system monitors the mileage of transportation vehicles as well as the location of trailers and cargo as it is moved around the 60-acre yard. The cross-docking facility is "operated by APS on behalf of the world's largest retailer." While not naming names, the retailer in question likely is Wal-Mart, a leading proponent of passive RFID. The big-box retailer has mandated suppliers use RFID technology throughout its stores and shipping areas. Wal-Mart reads RFID tags attached to goods as they arrive at stores and then again when items are moved to the sales floor.
More RDIF news
The United States Postal Service hopes RFID will help speed delivery of the nation's mail. The USPS is working with Unisys to use RFID to track postal service vehicles.
In Bangkok, Thailand, the city intends to use RFID as part of a plan to reduce snarled traffic. Parking garages will employ radio frequency identification to automatically locate an empty spot.
In 2004, WhereNet announced a vehicle tracking system for auto manufacturers that keeps tags on an auto's location from the moment it rolls off the assembly line. WhereNet's WhereTag RFID device is linked to a vehicle's VIN number. The tag remains with the vehicle as it makes its way through assembly and final delivery, either to a showroom or a rental company. The process reduces by up to three days the time it takes for customers to take possession of a vehicle, according to WhereNet.
In the UK, RFID is being used in conjunction with auto license plates. The same size as ordinary license plates, the so-called e-plates transmit an encrypted code which matches a vehicle's registration information, coloreven whether your car insurance is paid up. The RFID readers can read multiple e-plates, receiving data even at 200 mph and 300 feet away. While RFID is being used to track cars and containers, employing RFID tags to track people has drawn the ire of civil libertarians. Parents of Brittan, California elementary and middle school students bristled at the recent news the school district will begin requiring children wear badges with embedded RFID tags. The badges, from area-based InCom Corp. will track attendance and reduce trespassing, according to the school and company.
Along with AeroScout, PanGo Networks and Ekahau are also using Wi-Fi-based active RFID for real-time tracking of assets.
Chip Implanted in Mexico Judicial Workers
By Will Weissert - AP, Jul 14, 5:30 PM (ET) (abridged)
MEXICO CITY (AP) - Security has reached the subcutaneous level for Mexico's attorney general and at least 160 people in his office - they have been implanted with microchips that get them access to secure areas of their headquarters. It's a pioneering application of a technology that is widely used in animals but not in humans.
Mexico's top federal prosecutors and investigators began receiving chip implants in their arms in November in order to get access to restricted areas inside the attorney general's headquarters, said Antonio Aceves, general director of Solusat, the company that distributes the microchips in Mexico. Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha and 160 of his employees were implanted at a cost to taxpayers of $150 for each rice grain-sized chip. More are scheduled to get "tagged" in coming months, and key members of the Mexican military, the police and the office of President Vicente Fox might follow suit, Aceves said.
Macedo himself mentioned the chip program to reporters Monday, saying he had received an implant in his arm. He said the chips were required to enter a new federal anti-crime information center. "It's only for access, for security," he said. The chips also could provide more certainty about who accessed sensitive data at any given time. In the past, the biggest security problem for Mexican law enforcement has been corruption by officials themselves. Aceves said his company eventually hopes to provide Mexican officials with implantable devices that can track their physical location at any given time, but that technology is still under development.
The chips that have been implanted are manufactured by VeriChip Corp., a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions Inc. (ADSX) of Palm Beach, Fla. They lie dormant under the skin until read by an electromagnetic scanner, which uses a technology known as radio frequency identification, or RFID, that's now getting hot in the inventory and supply chain businesses. Scott Silverman, Applied Digital Solutions' chief executive, said each of his company's implantable chips has a special identification number that would foil an impostor. "The technology is out there to duplicate (a chip)," he said. "What can't be stolen is the unique identification number and the information that is tied to that number."
Because the Applied Digital chips cannot be easily removed - and are housed in glass capsules designed to break and be unusable if taken out - they could be even more popular someday if they eventually can incorporate locator capabilities. Already, global positioning system chips have become common accouterments on jewelry or clothing in Mexico. In fact, in March, Mexican authorities broke up a ring of used-car salesmen turned kidnappers who were known as "Los Chips" because they searched their victims to detect whether they were carrying the chips to help them be located.
Japan: Schoolkids to be tagged with RFID chips
By Jo Best, Special to CNETAsia Monday, July 12 2004 10:33 AM
The rights and wrongs of RFID-chipping human beings have been debated since the tracking tags reached the technological mainstream. Now, school authorities in the Japanese city of Osaka have decided the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and will now be chipping children in one primary school. The tags will be read by readers installed in school gates and other key locations to track the kids' movements.
The chips will be put onto kids' schoolbags, name tags or clothing in one Wakayama prefecture school. Denmark's Legoland introduced a similar scheme last month to stop young children going astray. RFID is more commonly found in supermarket and other retailers' supply chains, however, companies are now seeking more innovative ways to derive value from the tracking technology. US airline Delta recently announced it would be using RFID to track travellers' luggage.
Club-goers in Spain get implanted chips for ID, payment purposes
April 14, 2004 - Eastern By Sherrie Gossett © 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
Being recognized has never been easier for VIP patrons of the Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain.
Like a scene out of a science-fiction movie, all it takes is a syringe-injected microchip implant for the beautiful men and women of the nightclub scene to breeze past a "reader" that recognizes their identity, credit balance and even automatically opens doors to exclusive areas of the club for them. They can buy drinks and food with a wave of their hand and don't need to worry about losing a credit card or wallet. "By simply passing by our reader, the Baja Beach Club will know who you are and what your credit balance is," Conrad K. Chase explains. Chase is director of the Baja Beach Club in Barcelona. "From the moment of their implantation they will also have free entry and access to the VIP area," he said.
In the popular club, which boasts a dance floor that can accommodate 3,000, streamlined services and convenience matter to Chase's VIP customers. Baja Beach Clubs International is the first firm to employ the "VeriPay System," developed by Applied Digital's VeriChip Corporation and announced at an international conference in Paris last year. The company touts this application of the chip implant as an advance over credit cards and smart cards, which, absent biometrics and appropriate safeguard technologies, are subject to theft resulting in identity fraud.
Palm Beach-based Applied Digital Solutions (NASDAQ:ADSXD) unveiled the original VeriChip immediately after the 9-11 tragedy. Similar to pet identification chips, the VeriChip is a syringe-injectable radio frequency identification microchip that can be read from a few feet away by either a hand-held scanner or by the implantee walking through a "portal" scanner. Information can be wirelessly written to the chip, which contains a unique 10-digit identification number. Media seized on the novelty factor of the chip implant, driving it to worldwide headlines in 2001. Last year, Art Kranzley, senior vice president at MasterCard, speculated on possible future electronic payment media: "We're certainly looking at designs like key fobs. It could be in a pen or a pair of earrings. Ultimately, it could be embedded in anything someday, maybe even under the skin."
Chase calls the chip implant the wave of the future. The nightclub director has been implanted along with stars from the Spanish version of the TV show "Big Brother." "I know many people who want to be implanted," he said. "Actually, almost everybody has piercings, tattoos or silicone." Will the implant only be of use at the Baja? "The objective of this technology is to bring an ID system to a global level that will destroy the need to carry ID documents and credit cards," Chase said. During a recent American radio interview, Chase said the CEO of VeriChip, Dr. Keith Bolton, had told him that the company's goal was to market the VeriChip as a global implantable identification system.
New European passport to contain face biometrics
March 2004 - www.corriere.it (translated)
From 2005, microchip passports. Single states may decide wether to add fingerprints as well.
Bruxelles - The European Commission has adopted a regulation proposal that, from 2005, will oblige all member States to insert in passports issued to all European citizens a microchip which will contain the face biometrics of the passport owner.
EU countries can decide if next to the digital face scan, inserted in the microchip, they may add fingerprint data. For Bruxelles, the project is targeted to render passport more secure, by inserting personal biometric data in each one. The technical know-how selected by the experts in the European Commission will also permit EU contries to satisfy the United States visa entry requirements, according to the international regulations
Finland may let parents track teens via cell phones
Friday, October 17, 2003
HELSINKI, Finland (Reuters) -- Finland has proposed a new law that would let parents track the movements of their young children via mobile phone, even without their consent, in a move that could set an EU benchmark in privacy and handset use. The proposal is part of new law on privacy in electronic communications and could still be changed in parliament hearings, although the Nordic country's coalition government accepted it unanimously this week.
Parliament will likely start discussing the proposal early in November, but state officials and politicians said it was too early to estimate when the law could be passed. "Roughly similar legislation will be a reality in the European Union area in the near future," said Juhapekka Ristola, an official at the transport and communications ministry. Setting an example He said other countries may follow the example of Finland, home to the world's largest mobile phone maker Nokia, because the proposal is based on the EU's directive on privacy and electronic communications. According to the draft, individuals aged 15 or older could only be tracked after giving their consent, but for children under 15 such consent could also be given by their parents or guardians. In emergency situations people can still be tracked without their consent regardless of their age. Most tech-savvy country Finland's top two mobile operators, TeliaSonera and Elisa, currently offer positioning services which locate the phone user based on the mobile base station he or she is nearest to. TeliaSonera says the positioning works from between 100 meters (yards) in congested areas to 20 km (12 miles) in less populated areas.
Finland is a world leader in mobile technology, and last February topped the World Economic Forum's list as the most tech-savvy country in the world.
Civil rights campaigners have expressed concerns about the new smart travelcards introduced for London commuters
By Aaron Scullion - BBC, 25 September, 2003
Under the new system, Transport for London will be able to track a commuter's movements and it plans to retain information on journeys made for "a number of years" Each card has a unique ID number linked to the registered owner's name, which is recorded together with the location and time of the exchange every time the card is used. The data, retained for business purposes, could be released to law enforcement agencies under certain conditions. Anyone hoping to use a monthly or annual season ticket will have to register their details with Transport for London, although anonymous cards will be available to those willing to pay per journey.
The new system uses the Oyster smart card, which Transport for London began distributing to commuters in the summer. The smart card is 'contactless', meaning customers do not have to insert their cards into a card reader. Instead, the new card must be quickly placed on top of a reader and does not even need to be removed from its holder to work. A small amount of data about the commuter holding the card, including a unique ID number, is stored on it. When the card is presented at a tube station or on a bus, the ID number, together with information including the location and time of the transaction, is sent from the card reader to a central database. In time, Transport for London have a database with the exact movements of a significant number of the people who live or work in London.
BIG BROTHER COMES TO WAL-MART
By Mary Starrett June 11, 2003 - NewsWithViews.com
Starting this week, the nation's largest discount retailer will quietly begin selling tracking-chipped products to clueless shoppers.
The first volley in their war against our privacy is set to start at their Brockton, Massachusetts store. Wal-Mart will put Radio Frequency I.D. sensors on shelves stocked with RFID-tagged Gillette products, but they'd rather you didn't know about it, because, hey, you might not like it, and then you might make noise and then they'd have a big PR mess on their hands. You might even stop buying Gillette products or, say, refuse to shop at Wal-Mart. These chips, researched at M.I.T.'s Auto-ID Center are about the size of a grain of sand.
Chipsters say the technology will only be used to help retailers keep track of inventory - like bar codes. But privacy-loving consumers question the very concept of a device that sends out radio waves to "readers" that not only identify the article, but where and with whom it's going. The Big Brother implications of this thing need little hyping to get your skin crawling. Wal-Mart's putting the pressure on its top 100 suppliers to make sure their inventory is all chipped by the end of next year. But why start this in Brockton, Mass? Could it be because the store's customers are typically lower income minorities who'd be less likely to be aware of the tracking devices, and even less likely to make a fuss about them? Their thinking? Let's foist it on folks who're too concerned about paying the electric bill to be aware of these types of issues.
Retailers are SUPPOSED to alert their customers to the tracking chips and offer to "kill" the tags at the checkout counter. Don't count on it, because what you don't know won't hurt you, right? And to PROVE those RFID tags won't be "killed" at the cash register one of the ways they're planning on convincing you, the shopper that these tags are A-OK is by touting how "hassle-free" returns will be. Huh? If the tags are supposedly turned off at purchase, how can they be read after the item's brought back to the store? Just one of the myriad lies you'll be told about this technology. Are we to expect that in addition to being asked the "paper or plastic" question we'll get an option on whether the RFID tags are left on or turned off? Not only will consumers be witnessing the death throes of privacy, but it's going to cost them. Currently, the chips cost about 60 cents each. Add that to the cost of each and every item that uses this Orwellian technology. Gillette and Wal-Mart are only the pioneers here, the stated plan is to affix each item produced on the planet with RFID tags. Each pack of gum, each roll of film, each bottle of Merlot. ...
Belgium implements total automotive control
Belgium is doing away with its annual automotive traffic tax, replacing it with a satellite based new system that will monitor the actual movements and mileage of each individual car.
Hailed as highly innovative, the new system is based on satellite control of each individual car, truck or anything on wheels which will sport a sensor that will be picked up by the satellite every time that said vehicle is started. The satellite will track the movements of all vehicles, compiling a file of the actual miles (Kilometers, in Europe) that each of them will make and thereby taxing each individual vehicle accordingly. While this is being touted as a fair means of taxation, since each will be taxed according to his/her vehicle use, privacy advocates have pointed out that the motor vehicles will be under total control at all times they are moving.
The latest way to pay is at our fingertips
JANE HADLEY, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (April 27, 2002)
Shoppers headed for the West Seattle Thriftway Wednesday can leave their credit cards, debit cards and checks at home. They just need to make sure to bring their index fingers. The supermarket will be the first in Washington and one of the first in the nation to use a biometrics system -- finger scanning -- to tie consumers to their credit cards, electronic benefit cards and checking accounts, says the maker of the system, Indivos of Oakland, Calif.
"The main thing is, it's fast, it's easy, and it's secure," says Paul Kapioski, West Seattle Thriftway owner. Consumers enroll in the system by putting their index finger on an image reader, which runs digital information for 13 points on the finger through a formula, and stores the encrypted information on Indivos servers. Consumers register whichever cards or accounts they want associated with their finger scan.
"It takes about one minute to enroll," Kapioski said. Enrollment begins Wednesday and is strictly voluntary, he emphasized. Wary customers stillwill be able to pay the old-fashioned way if they want. Once enrolled, consumers won't need to hassle with their wallets or purses. Instead, they'll just pass their fingers over the image reader. For those whose payment is tied to their checking account or debit card, that's it. Customers who want their credit card billed still will have to sign a receipt.
The main advantage of the new system, Kapioski said, is the security. People no longer have to worry that their cards will be lost or stolen and then used to run up hefty charges. Stores and credit card issuers will likewise avoid the losses associated with identity theft. "If we can come up with a payment method where there's no opportunity for fraud, then the fees come down," Kapioski said.
McDonald's has done a limited pilot of the system in California. "They love it because it takes the cash out of the hands of 18-year-old clerks," Nickerson said. Nickerson expects a flurry of announcements in coming weeks of major chains adopting the system. Indivos' main competitor, Biometric Access Corp. of Round Rock, Texas, rolled out a pilot test of its biometric system in some Kroger grocery stores in Texas about two weeks ago. Indivos has sued Biometric Access for patent infringement. Kapioski said his store will not have to pay for installing the image readers, but will pay a per-transaction fee to Indivos.
Applied Digital Solutions Introduces Verichip, a Miniaturized, Implantable Identification Device With a Variety of Medical, Security and Emergency Applications
(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 19, 2001
Applied Digital Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSX - news), an advanced digital technology development company, announced today that it has developed a miniaturized, implantable identification chip -- called VeriChip(TM) -- that can be used in a variety of medical, security and emergency applications.
How VeriChip Works
VeriChip is an implantable, 12mm by 2.1mm radio frequency device about the size of the point of a typical ballpoint pen. Each VeriChip will contain a unique identification number and other critical data. Utilizing an external scanner, radio frequency energy passes through the skin energizing the dormant VeriChip, which then emits a radio frequency signal transmitting the identification number and other data contained in the VeriChip. The scanner will display the identification number, but the VeriChip data can also be transmitted, via telephone or the Internet, to an FDA compliant, secure data-storage site. It will then be accessible by authorized personnel. Inserting the VeriChip device is a simple procedure performed in an outpatient, office setting. It requires only local anesthesia, a tiny incision and perhaps a small adhesive bandage. Sutures are not necessary.
Medical Device Identification
Hundreds of thousands of medical devices are surgically implanted into patients every year. Examples of these life-saving and life-enhancing devices include pacemakers, artificial joints, orthopedic hardware, heart valves, and medication pumps. After insertion, these devices often require adjustment, repair, replacement, or even recall. VeriChip, inserted subdermally just above the implanted medical device, provides patients, medical providers, and manufacturers with a rapid, secure and non-invasive method for obtaining medically critical information about the device. VeriChip is a ready source of data about the patient's name and condition as well as the medical device's original components, required settings and other essential parameters. Future applications may include full medical record archival/retrieval for emergency medical care.
Emergency or Security-related Identification
Personal identity verification technology has gained considerable interest recently. A great deal of focus has been trained on so-called ``biometric'' technologies - which identify individuals by their unique biological or physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, voiceprints, retina characteristics, and face recognition points. VeriChip, by contrast, relies on imbedded, tamper-proof, microchip technology, which allows for non-invasive access to identification, medical and other critical data. Use of advanced VeriChip technology means that the threat of theft, loss, duplication or counterfeiting of data is substantially diminished or eliminated. Specific application areas include: enhancement of present forms of identification, search and rescue, and various law enforcement and defense uses.
Commenting on the announcement, Richard J. Sullivan, Chairman and CEO of Applied Digital Solutions stated: ``With VeriChip, Applied Digital has taken another significant step in developing leading-edge personal security technologies for a rapidly evolving marketplace. VeriChip joins Digital Angel(TM) and Thermo Life(TM) in our repertoire of breakthrough technologies. All of these are designed specifically to save lives, enhance personal security and improve quality of life. We're looking forward to working with the medical community and other potential partners to bring VeriChip to market as quickly as possible.''
About Digital Angel(TM)
Digital Angel represents the first-ever combination of advanced biosensor technology and Web-enabled wireless telecommunications linked to Global Positioning Systems (GPS). By utilizing advanced biosensor capabilities, Digital Angel will be able to monitor key body functions - such as temperature and pulse - and transmit that data, along with accurate location information, to a ground station or monitoring facility. Digital Angel Corporation has announced a proposed merger with Medical Advisory Systems. For more information on Digital Angel, visit www.digitalangel.net.
About Thermo Life(TM)
In November of 2001, Applied Digital Solutions created a wholly owned subsidiary called Advanced Power Solutions, Inc. (APSI). This new unit will further develop, market and license Thermo Life(TM), a proprietary, thermoelectric generator powered by body heat. Thermo Life is intended to provide a miniaturized power source for a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including attachable or implantable medical devices, wristwatches and other consumer devices. The Company estimates that the potential marketplace for Thermo Life exceeds $30 billion.
Oracle boss urges national ID cards, offers free software
Mercury News - Sept. 22, 2001
Broaching a controversial subject that has gained visibility since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison is calling for the United States to create a national identification card system -- and offering to donate the software to make it possible. Under Ellison's proposal, millions of Americans would be fingerprinted and the information would be placed on a database used by airport security officials to verify identities of travelers at airplane gates.
``We need a national ID card with our photograph and thumbprint digitized and embedded in the ID card,'' Ellison said in an interview Friday night on the evening news of KPIX-TV in San Francisco.
``We need a database behind that, so when you're walking into an airport and you say that you are Larry Ellison, you take that card and put it in a reader and you put your thumb down and that system confirms that this is Larry Ellison,'' he said.
Ellison's company, Oracle, based in Redwood Shores, is the world's leading maker of database software. Ellison, worth $15 billion, is among the world's richest people.
``We're quite willing to provide the software for this absolutely free,'' he said.
Calls for national ID cards traditionally have been met with fierce resistance from civil liberties groups, who say the cards would intrude on the privacy of Americans and allow the government to track people's movements. But Ellison said in the electronic age, little privacy is left anyway.
``Well, this privacy you're concerned about is largely an illusion,'' he said. ``All you have to give up is your illusions, not any of your privacy. Right now, you can go onto the Internet and get a credit report about your neighbor and find out where your neighbor works, how much they earn and if they had a late mortgage payment and tons of other information.''
Oracle has a longstanding relationship with the federal government. Indeed, the CIA was Ellison's first customer, and the company's name stems from a CIA-funded project launched in the mid-1970s that sought better ways of storing and retrieving digital data.
But polls last week show many Americans support a national ID card.
In a survey released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, seven of 10 Americans favored a requirement that citizens carry a national identity card at all times to show to a police officer upon request. The proposal had particularly strong support from women. There was less support for government monitoring of telephone calls, e-mails and credit card purchases. The FBI already has an electronic fingerprint system for criminals. In July 1999, the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System became operational. That system keeps an electronic database of 41 million fingerprints, with prints from all 10 fingers of people who have been convicted of crimes.
The system has reduced the FBI's criminal fingerprint processing time from 45 days to less than two hours. Paul Bresson, an FBI spokesman in Washington, said Saturday that he is unaware of the details of Ellison's proposal and declined comment. Howard Gantman, a spokesman for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said that she would be interested in discussing the idea with Ellison.
``She does feel that we do need to make some important advances in terms of increasing our security,'' Gantman said. ``A lot of people have brought up ideas about how to create more security and she's interested in exploring them. She'd like to find out more.''
One group certain to fight the proposal is the American Civil Liberties Union. A statement about ID cards posted on the ACLU's national Web site says: ``A national ID card would essentially serve as an internal passport. It would create an easy new tool for government surveillance and could be used to target critics of the government, as has happened periodically throughout our nation's history.''
China plans to issue new high-tech identification cards to its 1.26 billion people.
The Associated Press - June 12, 2001
The plastic cards embedded with a microchip to store personal information will replace existing plastic-coated paper ID cards that are relatively easy to counterfeit, the official China Daily reported Tuesday. The cards will likely be tested this year in a couple of cities and may be issued first for college students next year so they can use them to apply for bank loans, the newspaper said. China's Cabinet has "basically approved" the new ID system, it reported. Issuing the new cards to all 1.26 billion Chinese will take up to five years, it said. Old ID cards will remain valid until the switch is complete, it said. The current cards have an ID number, and the holder's photograph, name, sex and birth date.
Worldwide spying network is revealed
The Guardian, May 26, 2001
For years it has been the subject of bitter controversy, its existence repeatedly claimed but never officially acknowledged. At last, the leaked draft of a report to be published next week by the European parliament removes any lingering doubt: Echelon, a shadowy, US-led worldwide electronic spying network, is a reality.
Echelon is part of an Anglo-Saxon club set up by secret treaty in 1947, whereby the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, divided the world between them to share the product of global eavesdropping. Agencies from the five countries exchange intercepts using supercomputers to identify key words. The intercepts are picked up by ground stations, including the US base at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, and GCHQ's listening post at Morwenstow in Cornwall. In the cold war, eavesdropping - signals intelligence, or Sigint as it is known in the trade - was aimed at military and diplomatic communications. Helped by increasingly sophisticated computers, it has now switched to industrial, commercial targets - and private individuals.
Echelon computers can store millions of records on individuals, intercepting faxes, phone calls, and emails. The MEP's report - which faced opposition from the British and American governments and their respective security services - was prompted by claims that the US was using Echelon to spy on European companies on behalf of American firms. France, deeply suspicious of Britain's uniquely close intelligence links with the US, seized on reports that Echelon cost Airbus Industrie an £8bn contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994, after the US intercepted communications between Riyadh and the Toulouse headquarters of Airbus - in which British firms hold a 20% stake.
The MEPs admitted they had been unable to find conclusive proof of industrial espionage. The claim has been dismissed by all the Echelon governments and in a new book by an intelligence expert, James Bamford. More disturbing, as Mr Bamford and the MEPs pointed out, was the threat Echelon posed to privacy. "The real issue is whether Echelon is doing away with individual privacy - a basic human right," he said. The MEPs looked at statements from former members of the intelligence services, who provided compelling evidence of Echelon's existence, and the potential scope of its activities. One former member of the Canadian intelligence service, the CSE, claimed that every day millions of emails, faxes and phone conversations were intercepted. The name and phone number of one woman, he said, was added to the CSE's list of potential terrorists after she used an ambiguous word in an innocent call to a friend.
"Disembodied snippets of conversations are snatched from the ether, perhaps out of context, and may be misinterpreted by an analyst who then secretly transmits them to spy agencies and law enforcement offices around the world," Mr Bamford said. The "misleading information", he said, "is then placed in NSA's near-bottomless computer storage system, a system capable of storing 5 trillion pages of text, a stack of paper 150 miles high". Unlike information on US citizens, which officially cannot be kept longer than a year, information on foreigners can he held "eternally", he said. The MEP's draft report concludes the system cannot be as extensive as reports have assumed. It is limited by being based on worldwide interception of satellite communications, which account for a small part of communications.
Eavesdropping on other messages requires either tapping cables or intercepting radio signals, but the states involved in Echelon, the draft report found, had access to a limited proportion of radio and cable communications. But independent privacy groups claimed Britain, the US and their Echelon partners, were developing eavesdropping systems to cope with the explosion in communications on email and internet. In Britain, the government last year brought in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which allowed authorities to monitor email and internet traffic through "black boxes" placed inside service providers' systems. It gave police authority to order companies or individuals using encryption to protect their communications, to hand over the encryption keys. Failure to do so was punishable by a sentence of up to two years. The act has been condemned by civil liberties campaigners, but there are signs the authorities are keen to secure more far reaching powers to monitor internet traffic. Last week, the London-based group, Statewatch, published leaked documents saying the EU's 15 member states were lobbying the European commission to require that service providers kept all phone, fax, email and internet data in case they were needed in criminal investigations.
Cyberbrother Is Watching
NewsMax - - (May 2001)
Imagine a world where just about everything about you is recorded on a state-run computer available to bureaucrats, police, credit agencies, banks, the post office and hordes of other groups and people.
Imagine not having to file an income tax form every year, or sending out change-of-address notices or renewing your driver's license, because all the information concerning these personal matters is part of a nationwide data bank.
That world exists it's called Finland. Every single citizen has a "citizenship ID card" and a personal identification number, and all his personal and public data is recorded in thousands of databases all networked by the helpful bureaucrats in Helsinki. The Finnish government has computerized every bit of information and government services and put the data into its giant database and made it available online. This mass of private and public information includes every automobile, business and piece of property in Finland.
According to ecompany.com's informative magazine feature Startup, most Finns don't have to file income taxes because their employers send the personal ID codes of their employees together with all their payroll records to the government. Startup notes that this little gimmick helps maximize Big Brother's income. "Drawing on databases showing everything from demographic details to pension income, student grants and payouts from insurance companies, as well as holding of assets like property, cars and stocks, Ministry of Finance computers calculate the appropriate withholding taxes and transmit the data back to employers," Startup notes. Every spring, some 3 million Finns get a "tax proposal" from Big Brother, presenting them with the amount they owe the government.
How do Finns react to this fishbowl existence?
'The Government Knows Everything'
"It's very efficient," Timo Koljonen told Startup. "They know my situation better than I do because sometimes I forget things. The government knows everything. It's a little scary, but we're used to it." One of the many downsides is Finland's policy of "the more you make, the more you pay." And that doesn't just mean income taxes. It covers traffic tickets as well.
The $45,000 Traffic Ticket
Just ask dot.com bigwig Jaakko Rytsola, a multimillionaire. He got a ticket for making an improper lane change. The cop who stopped him called cyberbrother's computer, got the offender's income from the previous year, and toted up Rytsola's fine are you ready for this? a modest $45,000 U.S. After all, the Finns calculate, that's a mere 12 days' income for Rytsola, so why shouldn't he pay according to his income? Finns put up with all of this because they hear the siren song that their privacy-invasive cyberbrother system saves them lots of time in dealing with the bureaucracy. After all, they say, the ability to deal online with the bureaucracy has cut personal visits to government agencies from 7 million a year to a mere 500,000. Eliminating bureaucratic red tape instead of computerizing it and sacrificing their privacy in the bargain does not appear to have occurred to them. "Virtually everything you need to do with government you can get on the Internet," Koljonen explained. "Any government form, you just call up the Web page, fill it out on your computer, and submit it online."
If tiny Finland a mere 5 million citizens can come up with this, can America be far behind?
CNN, - (May 4, 2001)
The FBI records show the agency used its controversial "Carnivore" system 13 times between October 1999 and August 2000 to monitor Internet communications, and a similar device, "Etherpeek," another 11 times. Carnivore is a set of software programs for monitoring Internet traffic -- e-mails, Web pages, chat room conversations and other signals -- going to or from a suspect under investigation. Etherpeek is a commercially available network monitoring program that is far less precise in filtering the information collected.
Civil liberties groups contend that Carnivore can collect too much information and put ordinary citizens at risk. Some Internet service providers have raised concerns that since Carnivore's inner workings are secret, it may damage or slow down their networks while it's capturing e-mails. While large portions of the FBI documents are blacked out to protect national security and investigative secrets, they reveal new details about the agency's Internet surveillance program.
In January 2000, for example, FBI agents got a wide-ranging order to use a computer wiretap in a gambling and money laundering investigation. The wiretap was successful, according to an e-mail to Marcus Thomas, head of the FBI's cybertechnology lab."We got bank accounts, where money was hidden and other information," reads the e-mail from an unknown agent. "Some of the data sent ... was instrumental in tying several of the conspirators to the crime. One of the conspirators is offering to pay ... as part of a plea bargain." The following month FBI investigators used Carnivore to catch a fugitive for the U.S. Marshals Service. The Internet provider involved protested in court, but was ordered to cooperate. The 24 instances of Internet surveillance also included four investigations of computer hacking, three drug probes, one extortion investigation and an intellectual property case. The nature of the other cases was not disclosed. The FBI has said that Carnivore has been used in investigations involving national security and attempted domestic terrorism.
In July, the Tampa, Florida, field office sent an e-mail to other agents, including Thomas at the FBI lab, offering a slide show explaining how a militia group used the Internet to communicate. The group's leader pleaded guilty and was sentenced last year for planning to break into military facilities to steal explosives and blow up energy facilities in southeastern states. "This might be used to show why Carnivore is necessary and essential for law enforcement to combat terrorism," reads the e-mail from an unspecified Tampa agent.
In justifying the budget, the FBI cybertechnology lab said the number of requests for Internet wiretaps from FBI field offices increased by 1,850 percent from 1997 to 1999. The exact number of requests was not disclosed.
How Carnivore finds what it's looking for
According to the FBI, Carnivore works much like a "sniffer," a program that has been around for some time and is designed to monitor and analyze network traffic so as to help network administrators eliminate such problems as bottlenecks. But the FBI system has the unique additional ability to detect certain communications such as e-mails while ignoring others such as online shopping orders. According to officials at the FBI, Carnivore will only scan the identifying addresses in the 'to' and 'from' fields but not the content of electronics messages. They liken it to looking at the front of an envelope. Before Carnivore can be used in a case, the FBI must go through several high-level judiciary approvals, and inform the relevant Internet service provider of its actions. FBI officials believe critics will be less fearful once they know more about Carnivore, which has been used in about 25 investigations in the last year, including criminal cases and "national security" cases involving counter-intelligence or counter-terrorism.
The agency decided to name it Carnivore because, as one official put it, the system "get(s) to the meat" of an investigation. But one top FBI official said the name had been intended only for internal use and conceded that criticism of the name had been "somewhat sobering." "We'll think further about that in the future," he said.
Building a Better Bar Code
ABC News - May 2, 2001
Such "smart labels" have been around for a while and used mainly to inventory pallets in warehouses or track the progress of huge shipping containers as they travel en route to their destinations. But these systems, developed by companies such as Symbol Technology, have been too expensive to produce on a massive scale such as one label for every item on a supermarket shelf.
"We've got a technology that actually results in the packaging of the chip being at basically its lowest possible cost by its printed antenna," says Richard Krueger, Director of Business Development of the World Wide Smart Card Solutions Division of Motorola. "As the box is going through the printer, through the press, I'm actually printing an antenna. It's two patches of carbon ink," Krueger explained. What's more, since the BiStatix label can be integrated into a printing process, it's much easier to produce on ordinary items such as cereal boxes or bottles of mouthwash.
Krueger says product information can be accessed as needed with the convenience of wireless communications. "From distribution down to retail, from retail into the consumer's hands, and then immediate feedback of that information through sensors back to the supply chain to replenish the shelf."
Beyond the checkout counter
But the potential uses of the BiStatix label doesn't stop once you leave the store. Since the embedded chip can store all sorts of information, it could help make a consumer's life a little easier. A frozen dinner with a smart label could transmit cooking instruction to a microwave oven equipped with the appropriate radio receiver. Krueger says the Bistatix chip could be integrated into tickets for sporting events or theme parks as a way to thwart bogus tickets. "You get throughput improvement at the turnstiles, it's automated and you would begin to cut down the counterfeit ticket business."Other possible uses for the new technology include security and event ticketing. "You can issue temporary passes to guests, to contractors and provide them limited access," Krueger explains. "There would be a unique identification in the system that a particular recipient of that badge or card is in the building at a certain time and place."
Could an Electronic People Code be far behind?
Wireless Technology: They'll Know Where You Are
NewsMax - (May 2001)
Wireless communications may be the wave of the future, but your privacy rights could be the victim of this burgeoning technology.
Calling 911 on your cell phone will tell police where you are, for example, and new technology will allow trackers to pinpoint your location within a few feet. According to Federal Communications Commission rules, wireless telecom carriers must build into their systems the ability for police to locate anyone calling 911. But that's just the beginning. Under the so-called Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA) police are given the authority to track the locations of any cell phone users even if they're not dialing 911.
Add to that Lucent Technology's soon-to-be-released system that will allow those using the new technology to track the locations of cell phone users to within a few feet, and you have a whole new threat to individual citizens' privacy rights. Given the ability to accurately pinpoint cell phone users' locations, for example, wireless providers will be able to use their systems to exploit that ability for commercial purposes, ecompany.com magazine's Startup feature warns. Even though users would be given the opportunity to have their phone numbers removed from the calling lists of individual advertisers, they would still be subject to being harassed by unwanted calls and would have to go to the trouble of notifying the callers they want their names deleted from their lists. A hopeful sign: A bill awaiting action in Congress would criminalize the transmission of unwanted commercial calls to cell phones or other wireless devices without the express written consent of the wireless device's owner, Startup reports.)
Robots could soon be patrolling the web to track the source of rumours and slander
BBC News - (Feb. 2001)
Swiss computer company Agence Virtuelle has developed a software robot that uses a battalion of small, smart programs to scour the web for the fount of particular stories. The RumourBot could help law enforcement agencies track the originator of obscene material, or aid companies keen to find out who is issuing bogus press releases under their names. Agence Virtuelle is only one of many companies turning to smart software to collect and analyse information collected on the web.
With the internet growing by an estimated eight million pages per day, tracking the root of any particular idea, rumour or article is getting harder all the time. Geneva-based Agence Virtuelle is trying to help people search the web for sources more effectively. "The idea is to track and analyse, in real time, online newsgroups, chat rooms and lists," Agence Virtuelle founder Stephane Perino told New Scientist magazine. To do this, the RumourBot employs 44 small autonomous programs, known as agents, to trawl the web to follow the trail back to the source of a rumour. The agents can work out when information was posted and where it came from in order to establish a chain of evidence. But the effectiveness of the agents may be stymied by anonymous e-mail services that hide identities or webpages that do not let automated programs trawl through the information they contain.
Fingerprint Scans Replace Lunch Money in Pennsylvania
ABC news Jan 18 2001
A new system which uses fingerprint scanners to let kids pay for school lunches is getting raves from students and school administrators, but is making privacy advocates nervous.
The scanners make stealable lunch money, lose-able swipe cards and the stigma of being known as the free-lunch kid things of the past, says Walter Curfman, superintendent of the Tussey Mountain School District in western Pennsylvania.
"You always have your finger with you, unless you cut it off," he said. But Andrew Shen of the Electronic Privacy Information Center worries about how well the information will be protected from being spread around throughout the government. "Once you have a collection of fingerprints starting from such an early age, I can imagine this being used for other purposes in the future" such as law enforcement, he said.
The system from Altoona, Penn.-based Food Service Solutions is currently being piloted in middle and high schools at Tussey Mountain and neighboring Penn Cambria School District in rural western Pennsylvania, and Lower Merion School District in suburban Philadelphia. So far, it's unique to the Keystone state, FSS president Mitch Johns said. It works on a debit account system parents put money in, and students order food. When the account runs low, a letter goes out to the parents. Parents can also restrict students' shopping "a la carte" buying extra food not on the day's set menu. Students can also choose to buy items with cash.
FSS wants to expand its fingerprint system for use in attendance taking and on school door locks, as the use of biometric scanners is spreading in U.S. schools. Eagen High School in St. Paul, Minn., for instance, has been using fingerprint scanners to check out books at the school library since last academic year.
New Surveillance Device uses Satellites and the Internet
Wired News reported: "Soon, you will be able to use the Internet to observe the speed, location and direction of your car while it is driven anywhere in the world. That could ease the nerves of worried parents with teenage drivers and put an end to unapproved joyrides. Adult children of older drivers could keep a watchful eye on their parents. The vehicle can be tracked through a home computer, laptop or cellular phone with Web access.
GeoSpatial Technologies, based in Santa Ana, Calif., plans to begin selling the vehicle-tracking device, called GlobalTrax, next fall. It will cost $150 for installation and $50 to $70 in monthly fees...The devices employ wireless communications, the Internet and global positioning system (GPS) technology. GPs uses satellites circling the Earth to pinpoint and communicate the precise location and movement of a vehicle. But GlobalTrax will be the first device that lets someone monitor movement of their vehicle from any Web browser without downloading a bunch of files... Dec. 21, 2000
Dutch Officials To Test Putting Key To Government On Smart Cards
Government agencies in the Netherlands believe combining smart cards and digital certificates could make sense, with plans to run at least four pilots next year. The ministries of the Interior and Social Affairs launched the first pilot last week in the city of Delft, which will allow up to 400 residents file their monthly paperwork to qualify for unemployment insurance and welfare benefits over the Internet, says Interior Ministry official Marc Gerrard. The cards store digital certificates and encryption keys that authenticate cardholders to a government Web site and allow them to digitally sign documents. The cardholders also enter a PIN and submit to a fingerprint scan.
Besides the cards, the government is supplying the costly card readers and separate fingerprint scanners that hook up to the cardholders' PCs. In other pilots, officials next year plan to secure online voting and surveys with smart cards in Amsterdam and Groningen and allow immigrants to check-in with the government, as required, at online kiosks in Rotterdam. The latter project involves smart cards, but not digital certificates. Still other pilots are on the drawing boards, including those securing access to online health insurance documents, student records and business tax and registration forms. Government agencies are gauging the interest of banks in adding commercial applications to the cards, hoping to defray costs if any of the projects are rolled out nationwide, says Gerrard. He says smart cards may one day replace the travel cards many Dutch citizens use as basic ID at both government offices and commercial establishments. "It should be the key to electronic government." (12/19)
Police to track mobile phone users
The Guardian - July 30, 2000
Police are to be given new powers to track people using satellite technology that can pick up signals emitted from mobile phones. In a move denounced as sinister by civil liberties campaigners, software being fitted into the new generation of mobiles will enable police to pinpoint the exact whereabouts of a person whenever the phone is switched on.
But privacy campaigners fear the police could use the new phones as homing devices that will allow them to carry out mass surveillance without those targeted knowing about it. One campaigner likened it to putting an `electronic tag' on large swathes of the population. The Government and the police say the powers are needed to fight certain crimes, including drug trafficking. They believe the technology will guide paramedics and firefighters to the locations of emergencies. These unprecedented powers are part of the Regulatory of Investigatory Powers Bill which received Royal Assent on Friday. They will allow the security services to intercept private emails.
Privacy campaigners and Opposition peers urged the Government to ensure that the read-outs of physical location produced by the new mobile phones should be made available only after a warrant is obtained from a judge. But the appeals were rebuffed. The police will be able to track somebody's movements on the authority of a police superintendent. Caspar Bowden, who runs the Foundation for Information Policy Reseach, the internet policy think-tank which brought these concerns to light, last night expressed alarm over the move. Anyone using the new phones will be able to be tracked with pinpoint accuracy at the click of a mouse, for very broad purposes,' he said. `It's like putting an electronic tag on most of the population.'
MI5 BUILDS NEW CENTRE TO READ E-MAILS ON THE NET
Nicholas Rufford - June 2000
MI5 is building a new e-mail surveillance centre that will have the power to monitor all e-mails and internet messages sent and received in Britain. The government is to require internet service providers, such as Freeserve and AOL, to have "hardwire" links to the new computer facility so that messages can be traced across the internet.
The new computer centre, codenamed GTAC - government technical assistance centre - which will be up and running by the end of the year inside MI5's London headquarters, has provoked concern among civil liberties groups. "With this facility, the government can track every website that a person visits, without a warrant, giving rise to a culture of suspicion by association," said Caspar Bowden, director of the Foundation for Information Policy Research.
The government already has powers to tap phone lines linking computers, but the growth of the internet has made it impossible to read all material. By requiring service providers to install cables that will download material to MI5, the government will have the technical capability to read everything that passes over the internet.
Home Office officials say the centre is needed to tackle the use of the internet and mobile phone networks by terrorists and international crime gangs.Charles Clark, the minister in charge of the spy centre project, said it would allow police to keep pace with technology.
The new spy centre will decode messages that have been encrypted. Under new powers due to come into force this summer, police will be able to require individuals and companies to hand over computer "keys", special codes that unlock scrambled messages.
"The arrival of this spy centre means that Big Brother is finally here," said Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes. "The balance between the state and individual privacy has swung too far in favour of the state."
SATELLITES TO TRACK DENVER CITY WORKERS
By Jeffrey Leib Denver Post Staff Writer - May 23, 2000
In the wake of allegations that some Denver employees are loafing on the job, officials plan to put global-positioning-system tracking units on city vehicles to keep better tabs on the workforce. Some municipal workers also have been disciplined, including a Denver Water worker who was fired. The future installation of GPS units is one of several measures aimed at making sure Denver employees perform their full day of work, mayoral spokesman Andrew Hudson said Monday.
The city's $1.5 million plan to install GPS devices on more than 2,000 vehicles in the Public Works Department is a longrange goal, Hudson said. More immediately, Denver plans to put bumper stickers on each city vehicle that offer a telephone hotline for citizens to call reporting complaints, commendations and suggestions about the actions of city employees, Hudson said.
The city also will require employees who are working in the field to call in to a central location when they are taking a break or going to lunch. Similarly they must call when they return to work. City officials will keep logs that document times and locations of breaks, Hudson said.
Japanese companies have solved the problem of straying senior citizens -- track them by satellite. TOKYO (Reuters) --
A device for finding old people unable to take care of themselves uses a satellite-based global positioning system and a cellular phone network. Local governments in Tokyo and Japan's Kikuchi City plan to test the device, developed by a group led by trading house Mitsui & Co. "We are definitely expecting a market to develop for the system," a Mitsui spokesman said.
A transmitter attached to the body or on clothing beams coordinates of the person to a local server. Concerned relatives just need to send a request by portable terminal and up pops the runaway's location on a computerized map. Systems already exist in Japan for finding lost people but they rely on technology for personal handyphones -- a type of mobile phone -- and do not work well if the escapee jumps on a train or takes to the mountains.
And the idea is not simply pie in the sky given the greying of Japan's population. Already there are an estimated 1.88 million elderly people in Japan suffering various degrees of senility. The device will be tested later this year with a planned launch in early 2001. (March 31 / 2000)
Track friends by phone
(CNN) -- Swedish firm CellPoint Systems this week introduced a new application that allows you to track someone's location by cell phone -- a sort of mobile buddy list. The service, called Finder, works with cellular phones and cellular-capable handhelds that use the Global System for Mobile Communications. Most PCS phones use the network, as do the majority of European wireless phones, accounting for about 67 percent of all cell phones worldwide. According to Peter Henricsson, Chairman of CellPoint, Finder is part of a growing trend of offering entertaining applications to cell phones for phone-toting teens.
"We have several commercial products, but they are more niche and vertical," says Henricsson. "We wanted something that anyone could use. Let's face it, 19-year-olds are the future. They are the ones who will run the wireless Internet." As with an America Online buddy list, you start by entering your friend's name and relevant information. You can key in contact information on your phone's keypad or at the company's Web site. If you enter information at the CellPoint Web site, the data is transmitted wirelessly to your phone as a text message. You then select a friend and tell Finder to spit out their location. A text message appears, in the form "Peter is near Landmark X, about 2.2 km west of you." Here's how it works. The phone is already capable of determining its location in relation to up-to-seven cellular base stations, which receive and transmit your cell calls.
"The phone knows where it is," says Henricsson, "even if you're not using it."
Which brings up an interesting point. What if you don't want to be found?
"Since we use information that is in the phone, the user can switch off the service," Henricsson says. "Privacy is extremely important. When I add somebody on to my buddy list, a message is sent to the user, and the user has to accept being placed on the list."
Finder will be offered as a bundled service for GSM phones or as a pay-per-use or monthly charge, depending on the provider's marketing plan. The service should be available by April. (March 2000)
Weekend News Today
Smartcard technology is slated for major global expansion following the decision by eight key microchip firms to develop a platform for multi-application cards likely to become the industry standard, analysts said Friday. Thursday, Dai Nippon Printing and Hitachi of Japan, Gemplus of France, Siemens of Germany as well as U.S. companies Keycorp, MasterCard International, Mondex International and Motorola announced that they were forming MAOSCO, a consortium to cooperate on the new multiple-application operating system (MULTOS) platform. The consortium hopes to promote MULTOS af an industry standard for use in the finance, retail, travel, media and telecommunication sectors.
In a related development, American Express announced Friday that it was joining the rival Global Chipcard Alliance (GCA), set up late last year. GCA is made up mainly of telecommunications companies such as PTT Netherlands/Unisource, U.S. West Communications, GTE, Bell Canada, Deutsche Telekom, Oracle and Telekom Malaysia.
Smartcards, which store information electronically through embedded silicon and reduce document processing costs, have been in use for nearly two decades. They can be used anywhere and everywhere a reader terminal is installed.
By the year 2001, over 100 billion transactions will be made through a smartcard in a variety of applications, including mobile communications, banking, transportation, health care and parking, experts say.
Several countries are currently implementing nationwide electronic purse schemes as the next leap forward in smartcard banking transactions. The so-called E-purse is a rechargeable or disposable card containing electronic cash used instead of coins and small bills to pay for groceries, transport tickets, parking, laundromats, bookshops, libraries and taxis. In the health sector, smartcards will be used to store users' medical records and other vital information.
[WeNT: The following is part of the news article... Not our comment] Experts said the cards would eventually be used in conjunction with fingerprints and DNA genetic material to ensure foolproof security against fraud. Some even predict the cards will eventually be scrapped and information chips will be implanted directly within the bodies of consumers.
THE MARK: CREATIVE ADVERTISING
Docile Singapore is finding it needs a dose of creativity
By Imbert Matthee, P-I Pacific Rim Reporter
March 30,1998 Singapore
Last week, the Singapore Straits Times ran a photograph in its lifestyle section showing a man with a computer chip implanted under the skin of his forehead. The accompanying article about the chip, which eventually could be used to scan an individual's immigration status, driver's license, insurance documents and home address, didn't make any mention of its health risks or potential abuse by government authorities. It simply featured the personal transponder, which may be available in about a decade, as a convenience.
"You walk into an airport and clear customs and immigration in minutes because all your personal information will be processed by computers instead of humans," according to the story.
If touting human bar code technology without discussing its potential Orwellian downside sounds like poor journalism, the story should come as no surprise in Singapore. After more than three decades of living under a benevolent dictatorship, Singaporeans have come to expect this kind of reporting from a flagship newspaper "guided" by the government.
The government here has begun a campaign to build a knowledge-based society so it can gear up to capture a piece of the world's fast-growing information technology industry. As is traditional in this tightly controlled island nation of 3 million people, government departments, businesses, educators and the media are falling in line behind the campaign. Technology is hot right now.
What's more unsettling about the way Singapore media are jumping on the technology bandwagon is the unquestioning nature of their coverage. The 32 years in which Singapore rose from commercial obscurity to center stage in the global economy under the guidance of Lee Kuan Yew have created a society in which its citizens follow any shift in direction without much criticism or creative debate.