Free Markets, Free People, Free Lunches

I’m surprised no one has suggested setting up a mesh WiFi covering Baghdad. Such a mesh could track everyone via active RFID. Motion triggered survellance cameras could detect people moving by that lack RFIDs and alert appropriate authorities. A huge geodatabase would know who was where and at what times. Crime would diminish, peace would ensue, property values would skyrocket.

Tele-atlas has opened an office in Singapore, a very safe city. I bet they start tracking people with RFID, some day billing the parents of kids who joy-ride the elevators. They’ll have a 3D model after all.

Speaking of Singapore, I wonder when they’ll expand their electronic road pricing to charge people based on their use of other public spaces, and not just roads. Or maybe just charge visitors passing through. Disneyland could prototype the system – they’re already tracking kids. Maybe they could pursue a defense contract making Baghdad into a theme park based on the animated movie Aladdin.

I guess spatial access codesharing between cities will evolve the same way as it has with airlines. Citizens of certain cities will be forgiven their trespasses as their hometown forgives the trespasses of visitors from other codesharing cities.

I read about an all-you-can-eat buffet in Japan. The food is free – but you have to pay based on how long you are inside the restaurant.


3 comments so far

  1. Sounny on

    I am not sure it you are being sarcastic or serious about this idea of RFID chips and constant watch. This is definitely not a good idea. Just to get it straight, do you or do you not support RFID chip use?

  2. Kirk on

    Hi Sounny –

    Like most new technologies there is potential for both good and bad uses of RFID. My abilities in weighing good vs. bad are somewhat limited. I think we need to anticipate as many different potential uses of RFID as we can and discuss them. Collectively we can decide what sort of world we want.

    I’m neither advocating nor protesting (right now) any use of RFID in Baghdad – simply expressing that I’m surprised no one is suggesting this. Actually, I bet someone is discussing this, but behind closed doors somewhere. We need to go ahead and discuss these things in the open, instead of waiting until the idea is deployed by the CIA or Disney, or whoever.

    I predict RFID will start as a convenience … imagine not having to keep track of your car keys because your RFID aware car can simply be opened started by a pushing a button. I leave it to you to imagine what might happen next.

    Regards, Kirk

  3. Sam on

    There seems to be some fear about RFID technology in people’s minds about surveillance and all that. Remember, RFID is not the best technology for doing this. You are already being watched by CCTV cameras and possibly being clicked by mobile phone cameras. Compared to these, RFID is not that sinister.
    There is an excellent free resource ( an e-learning course on RFID) available at for those who are interested in knowing how it works.

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