RFID tags are miniscule microchips, which already have shrunk to half the size of a grain of sand. They listen for a radio query and respond by transmitting their unique ID code. Most RFID tags have no batteries: They use the power from the initial radio signal to transmit their response. You should become familiar with RFID technology because you'll be hearing much more about it soon. Retailers adore the concept. Wal-Mart and the U.K.-based grocery chain Tesco are starting to install "smart shelves" with networked RFID readers. In what will become the largest test of the technology, consumer goods giant Gillette recently said it would purchase 500 million RFID tags from Alien Technology of Morgan Hill, Calif. It becomes unnervingly easy to imagine a scenario where everything you buy that's more expensive than a Snickers will sport RFID tags, which typically include a 64-bit unique identifier yielding about 18 thousand trillion possible values. KSW-Microtec, a German company, has invented washable RFID tags designed to be sewn into clothing. And according to EE Times, the European central bank is considering embedding RFID tags into banknotes by 2005.
The VeriChip, made by Applied Digital Solutions, Inc., is an implantable RFID microchip for humans. It is about the size of a grain of rice. The chip has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and can be used to hold patient-approved health-care information.
It's everywhere and it's growing. Has the demand for and use of electronic surveillance increased? The rapid changes in telecommunications technology has been accompanied by a growth in the potential intrusiveness of electronic surveillance and a steady increase in government surveillance activity. Surveillance is the monitoring of behavior of people, objects or processes within systems for conformity to expected or desired norms. Although the word surveillance literally means "watching over" the term is often used for all forms of observation or monitoring, not just visual observation. Such as the art of watching over the activities of persons or groups from a position of higher authority. Surveillance may be covert (without a persons knowledge) or overt (perhaps with frequent reminders such as "we are watching over you"). Because they're continually making new discoveries to increase the effectiveness of biometrics, rfid chips, etc., the government may soon be tracking us all.