Would you like RFID’s with your burger?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is becoming increasingly ubiquitous due to its advantages to allow physical goods to be tracked in a supply chain. This has enormous implications for manufacturers, shippers and resellers to wring out inefficiencies in the supply chain and thus reduce costs and increase product availability.
But what if this tracking extended to you?
By way the Institute of the Future comes this very good post that is at once exciting and at the same time deeply troubling…especially when it describes the Kodak patent for an edible RFID tag and the New Scientist sums that patent up thusly:
The tags would be covered with soft gelatin that takes a while to dissolve in the stomach. After swallowing a tag a patient need only sit next to a radio source and receiver.
They stop working when exposed to gastric acid for a specific period of time, providing a subtle way to monitor a patient’s digestive tract.
Kodak says that similar radio tags could also be embedded in an artificial knee or hip joint in such a way that they disintegrate as the joint does, warning of the need for more surgery. Attaching tags to ordinary pills could also help nurses confirm that a patient has really taken their medicine as ordered.
Great benefits for health matters…but just like the governmental justification for tightened security (the war on terror) or accelerating surveillance on the Internet (we’re combatting child porn…if you protest you must be FOR child porn, heh?) those of us with knowledge of the possible downsides, privacy and security implications of an ingestible tracking device — which will eventually be incredibly small — is indeed troubling.
If you don’t think that tracking or even hacking an RFID tag — and probably even one ingested — is too tough and probably a non-issue, read this Wired article.
About Steve Borsch
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.