Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Dept. of Doublespeak: Freedom is being Chained,

In the grand Orwellian tradition of the Patriot Act, we now bring you the "Freedom Project,"!

RFID tools vendor Symbol Technologies reported on Tuesday that it has agreed to buy rival radio tag specialist Matrics for $230 million in cash.

The deal marries two vendors that have been pushing hard to become leading hardware providers in the nascent radio frequency identification space. RFID technology combines chips armed with wireless antennas together with other IT systems to provide detailed information about products to which the devices are attached. In certain scenarios, they're not unlike pumped-up, wireless bar codes.

The technology has developed rapidly over the last year, after mandates to employ RFID were handed down from several major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores and Target, to their suppliers.

[snip]

Hewlin said Holtsville, N.Y.-based Symbol viewed Matrics as the vendor with the best fixed-RFID readers--devices used to scan the chips that can be mounted on everything from loading dock doors to trucks--on the market. The executive said his company believes the first wave of RFID adoption will favor fixed readers over the sexier handheld devices it has been developing, a realization that helped spur the acquisition. Matrics has also been featured in high-profile RFID tests outside the retail industry, including work on radio tag-based luggage tracking systems already in place at several airports, including Hong Kong International Airport.

The two companies were already working together on a proposal for RFID hardware standards, dubbed "Freedom Project," which is currently under review by Brussels-based industry group EPCglobal. The companies' proposition, which also includes work from several other vendors, including Atmel, is one of three guidelines the standards body plans to choose from in defining its RFID hardware standard, which is due out in early October, 2004. [emphasis added]

The oldman ain't a fundie christian, but he doesn't think that a society that isn't so far ready to have transparent and free and fair elections is ready for this technology. The oldman doesn't care if they start requiring this tech for sensitive positions or even to fly. On purely sociological grounds he will refuse to get these cybernetic tracking implants as long as the entire setup is bent toward reducing privacy and individual freedom. Besides the vets who use the same technology on dogs say that sometimes there is an irritable reaction.

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