Digital Culture –| 2008

electronic art, technology and culture

RFID is the mark of the beast!

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Katherine Albrecht, who was in the video we watched in class this week, is one of the people who think that RFID chips are a sign of the impending apocalypse. The connection they draw is to the ‘mark of the beast’ – according to the book of Revelations, “He [the beast] also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name”.

Which, if you consider that RFID is being considered as a kind of credit card replacement, in some senses, and if you believe the bible, is not an entirely unreasonable connection to make. I guess. I mean, you still need to be a special kind of crazy.

But this, I think, is actually one of the main barriers to western societies rolling out an RFID-implant based ID scheme. Even though it’s crazy, there’s a lot of belief invested in the idea that we’re living in the end times (though there are very few periods of western history where we didn’t believe that the world would be coming to an end in the near-to-immediate future, which may actually explain our rapacious environmental devouring and general lack of concern for the future – if you’re convinced, on some level, that you’re going to be floating up into heaven with a returned and victorious Jesus, sometime in your lifetime, what do you care if the planet you abandon to unbelieving scum is broken and destroyed?), and I don’t think that that’s a hornet’s nest any politician is going to willingly poke with a stick.

Anyway! here‘s a link to a Wired article about Albrecht and her reasons for opposing the use of RFID. Enjoy!

— Dan

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Written by Danoot

August 1, 2008 at 6:16 am

Posted in week 1–3

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