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Paperback Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Purchase and Watc H Your Every Move Book

ISBN: 0452287669

ISBN13: 9780452287662

Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Purchase and Watc H Your Every Move

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Book Overview

Winner of the Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty As you walk down the street, a tiny microchip implanted in your tennis shoe tracks your every move; chips woven into your clothing transmit the value of your outfit to nearby retailers; and a thief scans the chips hidden inside your money to decide if you're worth robbing. This isn't science fiction; in a few short years, it could be a fact of life. Spychips takes readers...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

What the heck does Iron Maiden have to do with this book?

A wonderfully funny thing happened to me the other day, and never one to believe in coincidence, I thought I would share it. I just finished reading this wonderful book, "Spychips" by Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre, the day before. In the last chapter, they coalesce some of the spiritual/religious/ethical issues surrounding RFID. As expected, they mention the passage in the Book of Revelations (ch. 13, v. 16-18) about the Mark of the Beast. That very next day, a knock on my screen door presented me with two Christian "students" hoping to get "scholarships" by selling religious books and magazines - quite a few of the lovely tomes, of course, delved into the Revelations and the so-called End Times. The kids were very nice about it all, and I politely declined their request. It wasn't until I walked away and started to do other things in the kitchen that I realized I had answered the door in one of my many Iron Maiden concert shirts, with Eddie (their mutant beast mascot) staring right back at them. (For those of you unfamiliar with the greatest band in the world, they have an album (and song) by the name "The Number of the Beast"). Yes, that story is absolutely true - I promise you. And unfortunately, so is much of the information in "Spychips". RFID has become a hot topic in recent years, but Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre don't think it has become quite hot enough. Consumers don't really know what has transpired behind the scenes regarding these little radio-frequency chips and the plans of major corporations to slap them in their products. Thus, the purpose of this book: the authors wish to alert consumers as to what is planned for their capitalistic future BEFORE they get burned. They want to light a fire under our collective behinds to be more proactive consumers. (Please pardon my Revelatory and hellish references to heat, fire, and brimstone and such - I get on a roll sometimes). This book really has compiled a wealth of information. The authors have done extensive research, right from the very beginning of this move towards RFID. They have the advantage of being at the forefront of the activist movement to watch over and expose this technology. As they point out extensively, the use of RFID tags breaks down the walls of our privacy and allows far too much surveillance of us by corporations . . . or government. They devote entire chapters to the advances in this technology and the direction in which it is likely heading. And really, I see only one phrase to describe that direction: constant surveillance. Many people (including some reviewers on this site) have accused the authors of promoting gross conspiracy theories and making a mountain out of a mole hill. The problem with those assertions is that they presuppose the authors just made this stuff up or have nothing better to do than get a laugh by giving us some booga-booga. Albrecht and McIntyre have exhaustively referenced first-hand documentation (pre

"Spychips" is to RFID misuse what "Silent Spring" was to pesticide misuse. A must read!

"Spychips" is a thoroughly researched, very well-written look at the multitude of ways Radio Frequency ID (RFID) chips can be misused by corporations, criminals and government. At the lower end of the misuse spectrum, retailers and marketers compile information on all your purchases. Perhaps you'll get some junk mail, or if you purchase soil and grow lights, an unwanted knock at the door from law enforcement. Stores will be able to limit your returns based on your history. Further along the spectrum, thieves and stalkers will be able to scan your shopping bag, purse; or even suitcase at airport baggage claim knowing all the contents. You'll no longer be able to hide that Rolex watch in your pocket or cheap suitcase. The worst-case scenarios involve the government forcing us to have identification chips implanted in our bodies. (This techology already exists and volunteers have had chips implanted in their bodies.) Chips would give governments the means to deny us everything from an elevator door opening to commerce to freedom to our lives. Chapter 16, "The Nightmare Scenario" which examines what would have happened if Hitler had RFID technology, is especially sobering. In case someone's naïve enough to think there never be another Hitler, check out the table titled, "20th Century Democide" on page 213. Hundreds of millions of innocent people have been killed by their own governments in the 20th century alone. In the likely event you're thoroughly depressed by the time you finish chapter 16, the last chapter, (17) gives the message that consumers can put an end to spychip use and misuse. I'm not so sure about that, but the authors know far more about this than I do. They write, "if consumers don't want spychips-and act on that preference in the market-companies will stop using RFID, plain and simple." They list steps consumers can take to protect our privacy from misuse of this technology, categorized in small-, moderate- and bold steps. I very highly recommend this book as a must-read. Katherine Albrecht devotes her career to researching and warning the public about RFID misuses/retail privacy violations, and is extremely knowledgeable, as is her colleague Liz McIntyre. The book is very easy to understand, even if you know nothing about computers or RFID technology, and is entertaining in parts with sardonic humor and song parodies. They even tell you about the fire they started when they tried to nuke an RFID chip in the microwave! Albrecht and McIntyre assume a skeptical readership and debunk just about any argument the reader might have. The book has pre-debunked every argument minimizing the dangers of RFID chips that I have seen in the one- and two-star reviews below! Albrecht and McIntyre have done society a huge favor by writing this book, just as it would have been nice if someone in the 1930s had written a book for the public on the misuses of atomic energy.

The Truth Hurts, but this Truth may devastate Major Corporations

While I am an author, I'm not much of an avid reader like many of my author friends and acquaintances. As a matter of fact, I'm not much of a fiction reader, preferring non-fiction first and foremost and real life Mafia stories in particular. But . . . every now and then, I come across a book that captures my imagination, stimulates my creative juices, and at the same time, edifies me. Spychips is one of those non-fiction reads that took me on a journey to a frightening future. No, the book isn't science fiction. This well written book is science fact, which makes the knowledge it contains so absorbing. I learned about Spychips months ago when I was listening to my car radio on the way to work at about 2 AM. I love talk radio and generally check out Coast to Coast with George Noory to hear who the guest is and what the subject matter is about. Now, let me say this from the beginning: there are a lot of nutt-jobs on that show, but every now and then, there's a show worth listening to. Some of the subjects they broach are Devil Worship (no I'm not into it, but it's good to know who is and what they are doing), Secret Societies, what really happened during 9/11 and other intriguing fodder. On the night in question, they were talking about Spychips. What are Spychips you might ask? To answer this question I will refer you to a film most of you have already seen: Enemy of the State with Will Smith and Oscar winner, Gene Hackman. Do you remember how the National Security Agents always knew where Will Smith's character was and how they were able to track him anywhere he went? Well that's nothing compared to what Spychips can do. Spychips are far more sophisticated than just tracking you and they are virtually undetectable. These little gems can tell manufactures what color panties you're wearing and what size they are, ladies. Spychips can even tell how old the panties are that you happened to wearing. Think about this for a moment: You walk into a store and walk past a reader and suddenly, whoever's looking at a computer screen knows this information. You know how we Americans are. The person reading your information tells everyone working in the store how long you've had those underwear. Do you really want them knowing this about you? They can even tell manufactures about your shopping habits, much like food cards at your local Kroger's Grocery store. This is just the tip of the iceberg. And friends, don't think for a moment "they" aren't doing it. Pick up your copy immediately and learn what's going on right under your nose.

Disturbing book - paints a pattern of privacy abuse.

This book covers, in detail, the existing use of RF technology to violate consumer privacy. RF chips are small and innocuous. RF chips can easily be seen as a benign technology if used appropriately (for example to reduce shoplifting by enhancing loss protection capabilities of retail stores and improved stock management). The authors have identified numerous examples of multinational companies misusing RF chip technology. The research behind this book appears both thorough and comprehensive. The use of statements lifted from patents really helps the authors make their case that these chips are likely to be put to use in ways the majority of us would find disturbing if not repugnant. Negatives: the style of writing is very sensationalist. The mix of editorial comment and research lessons the impact of some of the material presented. The material sometimes lacks context: almost any technology can be abused. Also, in some instances loss of privacy may be a reasonable trade off for improved service/protection. Also, RF Chips are not a unique risk (add data mining, "smart" chips and even car electronics - e.g. the chip that operates airbags,in some models, will record the impact speed of an accident). The book draws on examples from around the World. US consumers have more to worry about than Canada, Australia and Europe where there is at least some protection from data protection legislation. US Privacy legislation lags behind (could this possibly be the result of lobbying by corporate political action committees?). The bottom line is that the authors are right to raise a very loud warning to act on misuse of this technology, before it is too late.

Terrifying facts; brilliant delivery

RFID chips are tiny tracking devices that can be attached to or embedded in nearly anything -- and ultimately will be if industry and governments have their way. They broadcast information about an item and its possessor to any device capable of "pinging" them. If we don't prevent it, these devices will soon be used to track and control everyone from cradle to grave. As a privacy activist, I thought I'd been watching RFID implementation closely. But I didn't know the half of what Katherine and Liz reveal in Spychips. The authors have dug deep into the files of the U.S. patent office. They've attended RFID industry conferences as "moles." They've traveled to Europe and throughout the U.S., uncovering RFID chips -- and disingenuous spin about RFID chips -- in unexpected places. From this voluminous research and years of activism (Katherine is the founder and head of the privacy group CASPIAN and Liz is its communications director) they've produced a slender, info-packed, and yet highly readable -- and reasonably priced -- hardbound book. I really must stress, and stress again, that word "readable." Spychips is about a truly frightening topic and a highly technical one, as well. But the book is lucid, concise, witty and at times reads like a novel. Call it a technological thriller. It is also impeccably factual. You can rely on the info you'll get here. And I hope millions WILL rely on it. If we're to have any hope of preserving privacy and freedom in the future, we must ALL know what Katherine and Liz tell us so eloquently.
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