RFID chips/tags are violating your 4th Amendment rights through consumer acceptance
The 4th Amendment of the Constitution states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue,, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
We as a society have already been introduced and have begun the indoctrination into using RFID tags, but most of us are blissfully unaware of what exactly they are and just what they do. Mostly that they tend to be inconveniently slow at the checkout counter. We have already begun accepting constant monitoring and tracking of our whereabouts and behaviors. This is an ushering in of a society that accepts this kind of treatment as routine rather than an encroachment of our privacy and civil liberties.
What are RFID chips?
RFID tags are tiny computer chips connected to miniature antennas that can be affixed to physical objects or living creatures. RFID tags can also be embedded in objects or injected hypodermically under the skin of humans and animals.
Typically, an RFID tag contains a microchip programmed with a unique identification number used to identify the tagged object or individual. In this way, RFID numbers are similar to Social Security numbers. But unlike Social Security numbers or bar codes which must be seen to be read, RFID tags can transmit data silently through the air, unhindered by doors, walls, backpacks, purses, or clothing.
RFID tags can be either passive or active. Passive RFID tags do not have a power source of their own, so they lie dormant until stimulated by a radio signal from an external reader device. Active RFID tags contain an on-board power supply, so they actively transmit their data.
The second component of an RFID system is the reader device. The reader either emits or picks up electromagnetic energy in a particular frequency to retrieve stored data from nearby RFID tags. In both passive and active systems, this request and response process is both silent and invisible.
Passive RFID tags can be read from a distance of less than an inch to up to 100 feet or more, depending on their frequency, the size of their antenna, and the power of the reader. Active (self-powered) tags can have a much longer read range.
Typically, the data collected by RFID readers is sent to one or more computer databases. The “Internet of Things” is a conceptual framework in which the unique ID number of a particular tag would serve as an address under which all known sightings and information about the tag and its owner would be stored. In this way, a tag could be tracked through thousands of readings by strategically placed reading devices. These readings can be recorded and analyzed to identify patterns of movement and behavior.
RFID may be used to trigger additional monitoring devices, like video cameras and audio recording systems. For example, a central database could be instructed to trigger a recorder when select RFID tags are identified in a specified location. This can make more in-depth tracking and monitoring of selected objects and individuals possible.
Uses, Security, Safety of RFID’s
RFID was initially designed as a very powerful inventory and animal tracking technology. RFID systems are now being marketed to schools and businesses as a way to extend inventory tracking to individuals. These proposed applications include incorporating RFID tags into school ID cards or mandatory
clothing items, like uniforms, in order to track the attendance, whereabouts, and movements of students. RFID microchips have recently been voluntarily embedded in the hands of 50 Wisconsin employees to be used for cashless vending machines, work stations and payroll.
RFID tags may be read covertly anywhere by anyone with the right reading device. Since RFID reading devices work by silent, invisible radio waves and the reading devices can be hidden, unauthorized or covert uses can be nearly impossible to detect. In addition, information collected on systems could be shared or compromised without individuals’ knowledge or consent.
RFID systems emit electromagnetic radiation, and there are lingering questions about whether human health might be affected in environments where the reading devices are pervasive. There is growing evidence of cancer occurrences in pets and livestock with RFID implants.
RFID tags can be embedded into/onto objects like books and documents without the knowledge of the individual who obtains those items. As radio waves travel easily and silently through fabric, plastic, and other materials, it is possible to read RFID tags sewn into clothing or affixed to objects contained in purses, shopping bags, suitcases, and more. Monitoring tagged items could amount to unreasonable search.
Clear Violation of the 4th Amendment
Tags can be read from a distance, not restricted to line of sight, by readers that can be incorporated invisibly into nearly any environment where human beings or items congregate. RFID readers have already been experimentally embedded in bathroom fixtures, floor tiles, woven into carpeting and floor mats, hidden in doorways, and seamlessly incorporated into shelving and counters, making it virtually impossible for someone to know when or if he or she was being “scanned.”
Retailers and Banks already collect information from the tags embedded into your bank and credit cards, without your knowledge. Everything that these RFID chips and systems are capable of clearly violate our 4th Amendment protections and need to be tightly restricted or outright stopped at the Federal level.