A new study says emerging   technologies are threatening our privacy and anonymity. Now the focus on safety and security trumps the call for privacy.  And many countries, including Canada, are considering introducing  ID cards wihich will have a chillingeffect on privacy..  Also judicial rulings in some jurisdiction have lowered the threshold for police to detain people and make them identify themselves.  Furthermore the use of video surveillance in public places is increasing diminishing the de facto anonymity once enjoyed in those spaces. The study finds that technology such as radio frequency identification chips and software built into everything from the clothes we wear to the furniture on which we sit appear be transforming communications systems from  “architectures of  freedom to architectures of control.’ “The space for private, unidentified activity is rapidly shrinking.’ Are you concerned we are losing our privacy.? Should security considerations always trump privacy considerations?


  1. 1
    Barbara Says:

    I’d ask you what you have been smoking, but that would violate your privacy.
    This sounds a bit exaggerated to me.

  2. 2
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Yes our private space is shrinking. For instance, some countries like Britain are considering taking measures to block Google street view. You could be caught totally unaware kissing your girl or boy friend on your porch by their roving camera and be seen all over the world. We are getting driver licences equiped with a chip that can be read by the adequate scanner at a distance of 30 feet, they will be accepted at US land border crossings in lieu of passports…and by others who will buy said scanner on the open market.
    My participation on this blog is traceble and my computer holds chips sending signals to I don’t know how many venues.
    My medical file will soon be available to hundreds of professionals at the click of a mouse.
    Neil exagerates? I don’t think so.

  3. 3
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Security is always a primary consideration. The biggest fear a person has is getting caught. That is why security cameras are a great idea when used for crime prevention.

    Where there is no crime, cameras may observe but not report.

  4. 4
    Jim Says:

    Is there anyone out there who thinks that the government doesn’t already know everything about them or at least can gain the info if necessary? If you don’t believe it, then I’ve got a bridge, Champlain Bridge as a matter of fact, I would like to sell to you.
    There are loopholes galor in our system, namely, is there an RCMP officer standing behind every employee at the stamping plant where these plastic cards are punched out?
    Do you know that many investigators use illegal tactics to gain information even though the info is not admissable in court but it does lead to other areas in which subterfuge is used so the info can be used in court.
    Try gaining info under the “access to information act”. Unless you’re a member of the fourth estate you will have to wait years.
    Also note that most of us already have an ID by way of a driver’s license. Try refusing to show it for a non-traffic violation and see what happens to you. We are already ID’d.

  5. 5
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Hi Paul, in view of what you said, I meant to say “observe but not report”, to any investigative criminal Authority.

  6. 6
    Chimera Says:

    “This sounds a bit exaggerated to me.”

    It’s not exaggerated, Barbara. At least, not exactly. The information Neil has put forth just doesn’t go far enough (because the scare-mongers out there don’t want you to know the whole story, so they do their level best to downplay any possible remedies to your fears), so people get alarmed at the implications, not knowing that there are safeguards against RFID spying.

    Those RFID chips have been in use for years, now. Stores use them for stock control and circular inventory. When you get the chipped item out of the store, cut the tags away that have the chips embedded, and no more problems. And the easiest place to see these chips in one of their many forms is on DVDs — it’s that little black oblong thing stuck to the inside of the case. Peel it off and throw it away. And if you’re in a gleefully vengeful mood (as am I) about these little “spy tags,” bend, fold, and mutilate them first.

    Yes, it’s possible for these chips to track your every move, and they will be used for exactly that purpose if the trackers think that you think you can’t do anything about them! Your protection is to know what you can do to counter them and then do it.

    “We are getting driver licences equiped with a chip that can be read by the adequate scanner at a distance of 30 feet, they will be accepted at US land border crossings in lieu of passports…and by others who will buy said scanner on the open market.”

    Sort-of true as far as it goes, Paul, although I think the “reading” distance is much shorter than that. I’ll be getting one of those cards very soon, and with it comes an envelope to shield it from readers. You only take it out of the envelope when you’re crossing a border. No one can read it without your knowledge unless you’re careless with it.

    And scanners will never be available on the open market. It’s already illegal to own one unless you have a legitimate use for it. I think it’s considered a burglar’s tool, or something, like those PIN-capture scanners fraudsters use to scam credit and debit cards.

    “Also note that most of us already have an ID by way of a driver’s license. Try refusing to show it for a non-traffic violation and see what happens to you.”

    If you’re not carrying it with you (and not driving at the same time), you can’t produce it on demand, can you? I don’t think there are laws forcing anyone to carry general identification, although I’d really be interested in reading it if anyone knows of its existence. I do not carry identification with me if it’s not necessary. If someone wants to know who I am, they can ask me. If I think it’s any of their business, I’ll tell them. Gee, that was easy.

    And when all else fails, magnets will kill those chips faster than you can think about it. A hammer will work, too. They’re not indestructable.

  7. 7
    Chimera Says:

    UPDATE: Apparently, magnets will no longer work on RFID chips.

    I’ve seen several sites that say put the chip in the microwave and melt it, but I DO NOT RECOMMEND it. Way too much of a fire hazard!

    Hammer is still the best bet to kill the chip.

    But if you do it to your passport (and all new issues have the chip embedded), be aware that tampering with a passport is a criminal offense. The good news about using a hammer is that no one can tell it was done deliberately.

  8. 8
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Here is some GOOD NEWS on that front:

    Here in the Phoenix area photo radar is on the way out. Too many complaints that it is being used just to generate revenue as well as privacy complaints. It is expected to be eliminated completely within the next few months.

    Now, whether that includes those photo systems at red lights designed to take your photo as you go through the red light I do not know.

  9. 9
    exposrip Says:


    And Montreal plans to bring photo radar – which I’m dead set against. I love when people who argue in favor of it speak as if we’ll be “responsible” with it. Sorta like “ethical standards” for assisted suicide. All bull shit. It’s an encroachment on civil liberties in the name of “insert what you want” here.

    And yes, we’re fast losing our privacy. Ask any computer wiz. Google are masters at this art – gmail accounts are stored permanently in their memory warehouse. Are the government and Google on a collision course? Google is in the process of “taking over” the internet. Yahoo better wake up. We NEED competition.

    And any political leader – including the Man god Obama – will erode privacy.

    Big brother is watching and we still don’t see it. This is not paranoia but a reality.

  10. 10
    Chimera Says:

    “…gmail accounts are stored permanently in their memory warehouse.”

    I’m afraid I’m not following your fear, here, exposrip. Why is this a bad thing and/or why should I be concerned that Google stores my g-mail account? Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do?

  11. 11
    Jim Says:

    I said “Also note that most of us already have an ID by way of a drivers license. Try refusing to show it for a non-traffic violation and see what happens to you.” I’d like to rephrase that excerpt with
    “Try not having any identification on you, they will take you downtown on some trumped-up probable cause such as a sobriety test until they can check you out.” Gee, do you see how easy it is. Don’t forget to keep smiling in that cold cell whilst you try to figure out your rights. It’s Saturday night, here’s 50 cents to phone your lawyer. His answer “see you on Monday” On Monday he tries to visit you whereyou said you were incarcerated. But it seems that they have transferred you to another station. On arrival there you have been transferred once again. In the meantime it’s Tuesday or Wednesday. That’s what they do to smart asses. Have a nice day.

  12. 12
    Chimera Says:

    Jim, relax, willya? “Trumped-up” does not work these days, as several cops are finding out after playing hide-and-seek with their perps of whatever stripe. Once in front of a judge, when the story about it comes out, the perp walks out free as a bird and all charges are dropped (and he may be free to sue the cops for false arrest) and the cops get their knuckles rapped. It would not be worth it to any of them to play games with someone whose only “offense” is in not carrying non-mandatory identification.

  13. 13
    Jim Says:

    Look, the bottom line is, if you cannot identify yourself you may be held until mommy comes down to the station to identify you. Who said the world is fair.

  14. 14
    exposrip Says:


    It’s not what their supposed to do.

    Any “IT” person will tell you it’s a way of controlling information.

    They collect your date with it. It should be deleted after, not stored.

    I can assure you, working behind the scenes for internet companies, the is not an irrational fear.

  15. 15
    exposrip Says:

    Date not “date.”

  16. 16

    holy moly, two errors I just noticed: Data.


  17. 17
    Chimera Says:

    “…if you cannot identify yourself you may be held until mommy comes down to the station to identify you.”

    Not necessary. My fingerprints are on file with every level of government in the country. Finding my mommy to come and identify me would take a whole lot longer than simply plugging in to the security database.

    “They collect your date with it.”

    They collect what I give them, nothing more. And none of my email providers knows the first thing about me, including my real name and address. I was aware of the potential for misuse by providers long before I agreed to get an email address. “Trust no one” was my motto much further back than Scully and Mulder!

  18. 18
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Chimera, “including my real name” You sound as though you have something to hide.

    I am a real person and have a real name. There are a few bloggers on this site I call “Gutless wonders” who are afraid to give their real name.

    Don’t tell me you are one of them.

  19. 19
    Chimera Says:

    “I am a real person and have a real name.”

    Me, too.

    That information is mine to give or not give as I see fit. What’s your need to know?

  20. 20
    Jim Says:

    Well,well,well, here all the time you haven’t been carrying your ID in your purse/wallet, but at the ready, on your fingertips

  21. 21
    Chimera Says:

    No, I don’t carry it with me, Jim. There is no legal requirement to carry identification papers in this country.

  22. 22
    Jim Says:

    Chimera, rephrasing what I wrote – Your fingertips have your fingerprints on them. Your fingerprints are your ID. Your fingerprints are on file in various police departments. Therefor you do not need any other identification. In this day and age of terrorism they will take you in, fingerprint you and let you go at their convenience. Sure, go ahead, sue them and see what happens.

  23. 23
    bluemoosebicycle Says:

    Reblogged this on Exchange and commented:

    Neil had a knack for sniffing out the most important issues of the day. Here is a posting to the blog where he wonders about new technology and privacy back in 2009.

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