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View Full Version : False Security - Human Microchips



mugaliens
2007-Aug-04, 05:31 AM
Forward: I'm starting this thread in response to what I, as a networking security specialist, see as a grave error in judgement fostered by a rather striking lack of knowledge and understanding of security fundamentals.

Source: Microchips in humans: High-tech helpers or Big Brother surveillance (http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/08/01/chips.humans.ap/index.html)? (CNN, 4:06 p.m. EDT, Wed August 1, 2007, from AP)

Caveat:

What this thread is not about:

1. A debate about the Orwellian "big brother" aspect of implanting chips in humans, erosion of human privacy, etc.

2. A debate about the Bible's prohibition against obtaining the mark of the beast (Rev 13:16,17, 14:9-12, 19:20, 20:4,5 - read them for yourself, if that's what you're in to).

What this threat is about:

1. The advantages and disadvantages of imbedded microchips.

2. How imbedded microchips offer you absolutely no more security whatsoever than other commonly and currently available technologies.

Quotes and Comments

Quote 1:


To protect high-end secure data, you use more sophisticated techniques," Sean Darks, chief executive of the Cincinnati-based company, said. He compared chip implants to retina scans or fingerprinting. "There's a reader outside the door; you walk up to the reader, put your arm under it, and it opens the door."

Comment 1: An imbedded RFID chip is no more security than one imbedded in a credit card, on a bracelet worn by the user, or in one's pocket, other than the fact that it's not likely to be misplaced.

Comment 2: No RFID chip, including one that's imbedded, offers any inherent measure of security.

Quote 2:


To some, the microchip was a wondrous invention -- a high-tech helper that could increase security at nuclear plants and military bases..."

Comment 3: See Comment 2


Chipping, these critics said, might start with Alzheimer's patients or Army Rangers, but would eventually be suggested for convicts, then parolees, then sex offenders, then illegal aliens -- until one day, a majority of Americans, falling into one category or another, would find themselves electronically tagged.

Thirty years ago, the first electronic tags were fixed to the ears of cattle, to permit ranchers to track a herd's reproductive and eating habits. In the 1990s, millions of chips were implanted in livestock, fish, pets, even racehorses.

Comment 4: There's a huge difference between most animals and people. Opposable thumbs, for example. The mental acuity required to pocket one's keys or wallet.


How about thieves? Could they make their own readers, aim them at unsuspecting individuals, and surreptitiously pluck people's IDs out of their arms? (Yes. There's even a name for it -- "spoofing.")

Comment 5: Excellent point, and readers aren't required to be within feet of the chip. Given the right equipment, they can be quite distant and highly directional (say, a van parked on a hilltop two miles distance...)


..."the chip itself only contains a unique, 16-digit identification number. The relevant information is stored on a database." ... [VeriChip Corps' present push: tagging of "high-risk" patients -- diabetics and people with heart conditions or Alzheimer's disease.

Comment 6: That's an excellent use, but a far better approach would be to incorporate it into a bracelet, much like the ones diabetics currently use.


Some wonder why they should abandon noninvasive tags such as MedicAlert, a low-tech bracelet that warns paramedics if patients have serious allergies or a chronic medical condition.

"Having these things under your skin instead of in your back pocket -- it's just not clear to me why it's worth the inconvenience," says Westhues.

Silverman responds that an implanted chip is "guaranteed to be with you. It's not a medical arm bracelet that you can take off if you don't like the way it looks..."

In fact, microchips can be removed from the body -- but it's not like removing a splinter.

The capsules can migrate around the body or bury themselves deep in the arm. When that happens, a sensor X-ray and monitors are needed to locate the chip, and a plastic surgeon must cut away scar tissue that forms around the chip.

Comment 7: Silverman forgets to mention that the chips don't last forever - they need to be updated (replaced), which also requires surgery.

Ronald Brak
2007-Aug-04, 05:54 AM
So they want to stick a chip under your skin with a sixteen digit code because the 3 billion digit code humans carry around in every cell of their body isn't good enough for them?

mugaliens
2007-Aug-04, 06:58 AM
So they want to stick a chip under your skin with a sixteen digit code because the 3 billion digit code humans carry around in every cell of their body isn't good enough for them?

Sixteen, 3 billion - the length is immaterial if the code can be spoofed (ascertained by unauthorized personnel, then used by them to gain access).

A chip-imbedded human has physical access, uses a wide-open (unsecure) form of electronic "security," apparently employs no encryption, and mistakes an open, easily spoofed code as "authentication."

Most guards (or employees), at gunpoint, would be happy to wave their arm beneath the scanner. One way to "spoof" an imbedded RFID chip system is to simply drag the person's arm (attached or not) beneath the scanner. This is why implants do nothing to improve security, and actually go a long way towards increasing the liklihood of physical harm to those with the chips. It's also why using DNA as an access code is bad juju (also easily spoofed, as seen in the futuristic movie).

At least with a set of keys, you can toss them in the direction of the thieves while you run in a safer direction. That's not as easily done with imbedded chips, and impossible to do with DNA.

No code, whether binary, numeric, alphanumeric, DNA sequence, or other type, offers any reasonable measure of security whatsoever, and imbedded or biometric codes actually pose significant additional hazards to both guards and employees because they then become the means of gaining access.

Damien Evans
2007-Aug-04, 04:53 PM
Unnecessary post - please delete.

go to edit and press the delete button that comes up down the bottom

mugaliens
2007-Aug-04, 10:20 PM
Thanks for the tip, Damien.

Michael Noonan
2007-Aug-05, 11:36 AM
Privacy is a funny animal.

When you think about it in the small harmonious communal sense being known is the greatest privilege of all.

Until the world is a safe enough place to enjoy real life growth while being known by the public then secrets and dark tendencies will always have their place.

mugaliens
2007-Aug-05, 11:16 PM
I agree, Michael. Furthermore, even if our world community ever did reach that ficticious "harmonious communal sense" (which I strongly doubt it ever will), I believe it should remain an individual right to privacy of many kinds, at the individual's whim, not society's.

Lurker
2007-Aug-05, 11:31 PM
Everyone assumes the worst. I don't see anyone suggesting that all of society be forced to have one of these chips. I do see, however, that this could be a valuable tool for keeping track of Alzheimer's patients and others who may not be able to look after themselves.

The simple fact that technology exists doesn't mean that we have to put to all uses in the worst possible ways.

jkmccrann
2007-Aug-07, 07:35 PM
Everyone assumes the worst. I don't see anyone suggesting that all of society be forced to have one of these chips. I do see, however, that this could be a valuable tool for keeping track of Alzheimer's patients and others who may not be able to look after themselves.

The simple fact that technology exists doesn't mean that we have to put to all uses in the worst possible ways.

Thin edge of the wedge my friend, very thin edge of the wedge. I would predict, by the end of this century, in industrialised and developed societies - at least 70%, probably closer to 90%, of babies being born will be implanted with some sort of microchip.

Think of the benefits that will be sold to the public. By the companies flogging the chips - and also the politicians fighting to get elected who will offer all sorts of incentives if it suits their electoral chances - and sold correctly it most certainly will.

With this chip in your baby, you will always be able to know where your little loved one is at all times - no need to worry about some crazy stealing the pram or car with your little toddler in it, at least you'll be able to track the little tot and find him/her.

And as they get a little older, dare I mention it, but paedophiles. Has anyone heard of Madeleine McCann? The little British Girl? Just think how easy and quickly this whole case could be resolved if Maddy had a chip underneath her skin that could be tracked by GPS satellites. Whoever kidnapped Maddy would have already been caught, and if Maddy is still alive - she'd already (very likely) be back with her parents.

What sort of neglectful uncaring parent refuses the implantation of the chip when one considers the ghastly things that may befall their child that could be mitigated to some degree by the implantation of the chip? What sort of neanderthal parent is that? Probably someone not fit for parenting. I can see the arguments now, but protection of our kids, our future will always be raised as paramount - and the chips will go in. Make no mistake. If you deny this virtual certainty, I'm afraid you are guilty of burying your head in a very deep amount of sand.

And of course, that is only one argument - what about the medical benefits such a chip can construe - particularly on the young child! The child that can't communicate their own problems because they have not yet developed the requisite language skills? With this little chip, parents will be told, as well as protecting your young ones from potential predators, or just getting lost, it will be able to monitor all sorts of health issues, liver problems, blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin-dependent/diabetic, viruses in the bloodstream, tumours growing, heart disease, cancers of all sorts etc. etc. etc.

By the end of this century, all sorts of health issues will be able to be monitored by one of these chips. Who in their right mind would refuse one? Especially for their young child who can't even communicate any health issues they may be having.

They're just a couple of negative reasons to put one in - and there are hundreds more. Criminals, potential terrorists immediately come to mind - who determines what sort of person needs to be monitored in this way? All with public safety in mind of course, for the benefit of us all. But who decides?

And then there are the more positive sounding reasons. Instant connectivity to the worldwide Internet - without the need of a computer! Once they hook these chips up to our brainwaves - and it has already been done, then you can call up someone on the other side of the world with a thought - via the Internet! Sounds great doesn't it - but it means that you can never escape the Net as well.

Feeling hungry, order a pizza via your thoughts, your account will be immediately debited and the pizza will arrive at the door in no-time, all with just a thought - but isn't it so convenient!

What worries me, apart from anything else is, when we eventually all go this way, all connected up to each other through the Internet, GPS, and these amazing chips - what sort of vulnerabilities are we opening ourselves up to? What's to stop some manufacturer implanting on their chips some sort of code that has a destruct mechanism, or potential mind control mechanism (which may be subtle, perhaps a suggestion here and there - buy this, buy that?), or poison release mechanism even - for a really dastardly organisation?

And what of hackers who these days hack into various devices and computers all over the world via the Internet, what happens when humanity itself is micro-chipped up - essentially becoming cyborgs, what happens with malicious hackers then? Well, they can potentially hack into people's brains and make them do all sorts of things - who knows what?

But, to invent a James Bond script before its time, what's to stop some crazy megalomaniac hacking into the chips of the entire population that has that particular type of chip and ordering/suggesting/making (whatever) all those people to do his bidding?

In my mind, this convergence with technology is all very great, but I have no desire to become a cyborg - which is what the implantation of a chip under my skin amounts to in my eyes. I have seen the Star Trek movie, and I didn't like the Borg, I enjoy my freedoms to be honest.

There is such a thing as diminishing returns to scale, and to me, technological improvements that allow for people to be more and more hooked up with everyone else have increasingly diminishing returns to scale (in relation to my and everyone else's freedom) when that technology starts getting into areas like micro-chipping people for all sorts of reasons to improve 'efficiency' and benefit 'the masses.'

Enough is enough, and as far as I'm concerned, I'm very happy I was born at this end of the 21st century rather than the other end. I personally think by around 2060/70/80 these issues of humanity turning into a cyborg and diverging as a species in different directions, whilst exciting from a philosophical point of view, is incredibly scary when its actually happening around you. By then I'll be too old too care, but I worry about the choices my grandkids will be making - because by then, they'll be the decision makers of the day!

Anyway, enough of the prophesising,

Peace Out

and what have you, or anyone else who advocates this sort of thing, to say to that mugaliens?

Lurker
2007-Aug-07, 07:52 PM
Thin edge of the wedge my friend, very thin edge of the wedge. I would predict, by the end of this century, in industrialised and developed societies - at least 70%, probably closer to 90%, of babies being born will be implanted with some sort of microchip.

Emphasis mine... Gotta love this, every time something new comes along people are afraid that if it is allowed in the least little bit it means the end of all our freedoms. Usually this is followed by the greatest thread to life and liberty today... the dreaded they

We live in a democratic republic in which we have a voice. If they really want to control our lives, they already have more than enough technology to do it. What keeps free is our own vigilance and vigorous, thoughtful, use of our franchise at the polling place.

jkmccrann
2007-Aug-08, 07:06 AM
Emphasis mine... Gotta love this, every time something new comes along people are afraid that if it is allowed in the least little bit it means the end of all our freedoms. Usually this is followed by the greatest thread to life and liberty today... the dreaded they

We live in a democratic republic in which we have a voice. If they really want to control our lives, they already have more than enough technology to do it. What keeps free is our own vigilance and vigorous, thoughtful, use of our franchise at the polling place.

Fair comment, but I think that the evolution of our society into a society of cyborgs creates an entirely new dimension to this argument. We are not there yet, and won't be there in my lifetime - so personally, I have little to worry about - and because of that I won't be standing in the way of anything, but the difference in the future is that with the augmentation of humans for all sorts of puposes - these microchips are one area, but then there's electronic eyes that have many more capabilities than our current natural eyes.

Once these go into mass-production, it would be silly for the Average Joe to stand in their way - and soon most that can afford them will have them, or else be disadvantaged by society - another route to the cyborg future.

As I said, I don't believe these are things I or anyone else living today will really have to worry about, although the case of the South African sprinter with 2 artificial legs is a case in point. How he can possibly be allowed to run at sanctioned IAAF meets, or the Olympics is beyond me - because if he's allowed to run - what about all the athletes who dope? What's the difference? And how on Earth do you draw a line and decide what sort of artificial aids belong on either side of that line? Lawyers will have a field day!

I would just say, to those who wonder whether the evolution of humanity has halted, or even reversed (I think I saw a discussion on here about that some time ago) - have some patience! Not everything on that level has to occur now, to me, in this time - or else its not happening! Evolution is occuring all around us, in technological and genetic areas, and eventually, I would predict towards the end of this century, that will rebound and cause a huge evolutionary spurt in humans and humanity itself - and where that will take us is to me impossible to know.

The only thing I would say about micro-chipping is, if it is to happen, and it will, fine - but one can only be micro-chipped with one's own informed consent, and that means one can only consent to being micro-chipped after reaching a certain age, perhaps 18, or perhaps 21, but not before. Micro-chipping infants should be illegal.

As for criminals, well, that is an area that needs to be argued about I would say - are all criminals created equal?