Thursday, October 12, 2006

Spychips Cover Art

Spychips

Author: By Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre
Publisher: Penguin/Plume
ASIN: 0452287669

About This Book

Spychips, the eye-opening work about the downsides of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), is available in paperback. The book has already shaken the industry and prompted legislative initiatives worldwide.

RFID is a controversial technology that uses tiny microchips to track everyday objects, animals, and even people from a distance. These RFID microchips have earned the nickname "spychips" because each contains a unique identification number, like a Social Security number for things, that can be read silently and invisibly by radio waves.

"We've caught major companies red-handed proposing uses for the technology that most people would find frightening and abhorrent," say the authors. "We combed over 30,000 documents in putting this book together, and the evidence is airtight. They can't deny the patent applications on file at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and they can't retract their own words."

Revelations in the book include IBM's "PERSON TRACKING UNIT" that can remotely scan the contents of women's purses and track unwitting members of the public through RFID-tagged objects they are wearing and carrying. IBM suggests that marketers and government agents could use the device to scan people in places like retail stores, libraries, theaters, elevators, and even public restrooms. Other companies like Procter & Gamble, Phillips, NCR, and Bank of America are also implicated in "Spychips" through public documents that detail their own people tracking plans.

The book's social impact has been likened to that of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," which alerted a generation to the dangers of unbridled pesticide use. "Spychips" has earned critical acclaim and garnered a passionate following in privacy and civil liberties circles. The winner of the 2006 Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty, "Spychips" is meticulously researched by authors Dr. Katherine Albrecht and former bank examiner Liz McIntyre. "Spychips" draws on patent documents, corporate source materials, conference proceedings, and firsthand interviews to paint a convincing picture of the threat posed by RFID.

Despite its hundreds of footnotes and academic-level accuracy, the book remains lively and readable according to critics who have called it a "techno-thriller" and "a masterpiece of technocriticism."

 
 
 

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