Global CIO: IBM, WalMart, & Tom Cruise To Star In Thriller, 'RFID Madness!'

Wal-Mart said, "It's just for clothes" and IBM said, "It's just for billboards" but now I've got RFID chips glued to my earlobes. Why oh why didn't I heed the warnings??
"The new advertising hoardings will behave like those in the film Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, in which Cruise's character is confronted with digital signs that call out his name as he walks through a futuristic shopping mall."

Sure, I should have gotten the hint—this RFID stuff is about mind-control! And I should have scoffed when the same Telegraph article offered up some major lame-O excuse from IBM about how it's not really hoping to use RFID to control our minds:

"IBM claims that its technology will help prevent consumers from being subjected to a barrage of irritating advertising because they will only be shown adverts for products that are relevant to them," the article said. Phooey! You can always tell when Big Business is trying to control your mind, and the dead giveaway is when they say they're not.

The article gave IBM yet another opportunity to hide its diabolical strategem:

"Brian Innes, a research scientist at IBM's innovation laboratories in Hursley, near Winchester, said: 'In Minority Report, the billboards recognise passers-by and play adverts that are specific for the individual.

'In the film, the billboards rely on scanning the person's eyeball, but we are using RFID technology that people are carrying around with them, so they can have a tailor made message.' "

Phooey again! The other way to tell Big Business is lying to you about their use of RFID is when they tell you that you'll have control. They'll say you can turn the device off—it's a lie! They say you can crush the device—it's a lie! They say you can put it in your neighbor's mailbox and it'll spy on them instead of you—it's a lie!

But I uncovered the lies too late, and in the middle of the night somebody slipped into my house and dosed me with a Mickey Finn and then glued RFID chips to my earlobes and to my middle toes. I suspect it was the security forces of Big Business, but don't yet have all the proof. Although, now that I mention it, I must say I kinda like the ones on my toes, which tell me how long my toenails are getting and advise me on when a clipping is in order—that's a quality-of-life bump for sure.

As for the ones on my earlobes, I yanked them off (warning: major, MAJOR hair-removal pain) after I couldn't figure out how to get them to command the Roomba to get me a beer from the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, though, I have an insatiable urge to go to Wal-Mart and rub my toes over their RFID-tagged garments.


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].

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