Municipalizing Wi-Fi the sleazy way.

The FDA now approves of implanting RFID chips in people. This removes a roadblock to widespread wireless net access by enabling a network of information resellers.

Imagine this: there’s a bunch of people walking around with increasing numbers of RFID-tagged consumer goods (shoes, breast implants, currency, items they just bought at a store). There’s money in knowing who’s got what and where goods travel because it helps focus advertising more tightly and because businesses will want to pay to know who not to hire (avoid ID #XYZ — she’s been treated for cancer; avoid ID #PDQ because he’s got something mostly Black folks get and we don’t want their kind ’round these parts). Cops might enjoy being notified that ID #ABC travelled between two points 1 mile apart at a rate of speed faster than is legal. Perhaps a quick scan of a database linking IDs to license plates and car descriptions would help narrow down who the errant speeder is.

There’s a financial incentive to make it easier to get the information from the unsuspecting person to anyone looking to exploit that information. Enter municipalized Wi-Fi. If every lamppost and highway mile marker served as a Wi-Fi hotspot in some kind of large scale network you could use even while moving, you could track RFID tags as they travelled from one point to the next. Surely it’s possible to build a small computer with a free software OS, an RFID scanner, a GPS unit, and a Wi-Fi transmitter/receiver? Such a set of machines could endlessly scan for RFIDs and upload the scanned ID + the GPS coordinates to a central database.

Oh, and allow the public to read their e-mail, browse the web, play games, etc. too.

Now the question becomes who can set up a network of doctors, cops, nurses, hospital aides, factory workers, sales clerks, and anyone else in a position to know which RFID tag went to which person. Who can sell themselves on the trustworthiness of their database? Who could provide data authentication at a price?

Remember, it’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s incentivizing multiple disconnected actors to work together to further both of their ends.