Imagine walking into a store and having a computer take an
inventory of everything youre wearingright down to the
size and color of your underwear. Store employees could even read
the contents of your wallet to determine whether youre a desirable
customer or someone they want to ignore based on your financial
value. The possibilities for discrimination are quite disturbing.
- Katherine Albrecht, director of Consumers Against Supermarket
Privacy Invasion and Numbering.
Good news for anyone who feels like their privacy hasnt been
infringed quite enough yet. Theres a new wee beastie come
to fill your lives with joy, RFID (radio frequency identification).
If these catch on - and it looks like they already are - everything
you buy could soon have a unique number that can be transmitted
to anyone nearby, without your permission.
RFIDs are tiny chips which can be embedded into almost anything.
When a reading device is placed within 5 metres of them, they transmit
their unique number to the device. The idea is that shops will use
them instead of barcodes, so you just push your trolley through
the checkout, and youll know how much you owe. Sounds good
Now it gets dodgy, folks. As each chip has a unique number, if
someone knows the number of the chip embedded in your shoes, for
example, they will be able to track exactly what you do. So a supermarket
could know when you enter their store, how long you spend in each
section, and what you buy. At the recent Chinese Communist Party
Congress, each delegate had to have a badge, equipped with RFID
chip, that tracked them wherever they went.
The Auto-ID Centre is designing, building, testing and deploying
a global infrastructure ... that will make it possible for computers
to identify any object anywhere in the world instantly, happily
burbles the Auto-ID Centre press release.
A casino in Sydney has already put 80,000 of these chips into their
employee uniforms in order to reduce theft. Michelin, which make
800,000 tyres every day, are soon to place RFID chips in each tyre,
which will be matched to the make of car they are fitted to in a
huge database. Tesco are just about to introduce a huge trial of
the technology. Other companies testing the technology include all
the SchNEWS favourites: Gillette, Gap and Bennetton.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a network has been created which has the capability
to track anyone going anywhere in the town centre as long as they
have an RFID chip somewhere on them. A company called Applied Digital
Solutions has already developed an RFID chip for people, its
11mm long, embedded under the skin and can be read from 4 feet away.
And yes, folks, these have already been implanted into people.
The EU is in the process of putting RFIDs into high denomination
bank notes as a fraud-reducing measure. RFID tags also have
the ability of recording information such as details of the transactions
the paper note has been involved in, according to analyst
Prianka Chopra. In one fell swoop this would destroy any of the
anonymity of using cash. The other great thing about this is that
anyone with an RFID reader (which will become more and more common)
can tell exactly how much cash you have on you... Hooray!
So whats the Home Office doing about this potentially huge
privacy risk? Urging caution and debating the privacy risks? Nah,
course not, theyre putting 4.5 million quid up for improving
it. There is also much interest in using RFID in passports, driving
licenses, and any other documents you could name, potentially allowing
no-one to opt out of RFID, if documents without the chip are rejected.
If chips were installed in mandatory ID cards police (and others)
could access extensive information on anyone just by scanning from
metres away. In the US many supermarkets require official state
ID to sign up for loyalty cards. Huge databases can easily be created
from this as corporations merge the personal information of their
clients in order to build frighteningly accurate personal profiles.
So your supermarket shares your info with your bank who shares it
with your preferred clothes shops and all of a sudden theyve
got a massive database of info on Jo Soap. Impressive huh?
Leaked briefings on focus groups held by Auto-ID, the main people
behind RIFD, reveal peoples true perception of this technology,
There are currently no clear benefits by which to balance
even the mildest negative. While the possible benefits were explained
to each group at length, nothing seemed to really motivate or inspire.
In fact, the presentation of benefits seemed to automatically lead
consumers to think of negatives. This dislike has already
prompted concessions from suppliers, such as chips that are destroyed
when they leave the shop, and only attaching chips to packaging
rather than the product itself.
Ironically the leaked briefings came from a public part of the
Auto-ID website. If they cant protect their own confidential
documents, its hard to believe their claims of keeping huge
databases of customers information private.
As these chips are getting so tiny (less than 0.3mm), they are
extremely difficult to find and destroy. Washing will not destroy
them, and they need to be crushed or micro-waved (with the corresponding
fire risk) to make them ineffective. And you cant exactly
go walking round Tescos with a microwave to disable all the
RFID technology is moving forward at an incredible pace,
and there is an urgent need for this legislation. Companies have
already begun embedding these chips in products people buy today.
For all you know, these chips could be in your home now. The problem
is you have no way of knowing, claimed Albrecht.
Luckily this wonderful nirvana of new technology is starting to
receive some very bad press. Wal-Mart quietly started a trial of
the technology in one of its stores, but when the company that made
the chips turned up and started pointing it out to customers, they
were horrified. Wal-Mart were so inundated by complaint calls that
they had PR executives answering the phones, bringing the trial
to a sudden end. Hopefully this technology will be seen in a similar
way to GM: big benefits for big business but only losses for everyone
else. They get your personal preferences and all the fat profits
while you lose any morsel of privacy.
More info: www.nocards.org
Crap Arrest of the Week
For being run over!
Two cyclists taking part in a Critical Mass bike ride were hit by
a car, one of them being carried along for 100 yards on the nutters
bonnet. When they tried to report to the cops what had happened,
they were both arrested for causing criminal damage to the people
carrier thatd hit em! The police have now dropped the
SCHNEWS BOOK LAUNCH COMEDY NIGHT
With comedians Mark Thomas and
WEDNESDAY 23RD JULY
Rob Newman + Beyond TV.
8.30pm at The Old Market, Upper Market St (off Waterloo St.)
Tickets £10 from Old Market box office 01273 736222
Copies of our new book Peace de Resistance will
be available on the night, or get them for £10 inc postage
Sherwood forest is under attack from a band of corporate thieves
and the Sherrif of Nottingham isnt lifting a finger. The thieves,
Belway, are attempting to destroy a rare limestone habitat and a
natural meadowland to build an unnecessary road junction. The area
is supposedly guarded by a Tree Protection Order as it possesses
a 300 year old beech tree yet the council are refusing to take any
action against the developers. This is some of the last remaining
green space in the area and its being surveyed as a possible
EU site of conservation. Theres a desperate need for Robin
Hoods and merry men and women to steal the power from the rich and
give it back to the poor trees.
Locals are opposed to the development but help is seriously needed
to stop the destruction going ahead. Contact Cookie on 0789165727.
* Protests in the south of the Netherlands to stop the construction
of hotels and bungalows by the Efteling Themepark in a 100 year-old
forest. Last Sunday was the first open day where over 100 locals
and sympathisers turned up. Much anger was expressed by the local
community who are annoyed with the theme parks constant expansion
and its destruction of forest land. The council has encouraged Efteling
to evict the activists illegally camping on their land. An illegal
eviction is unlikely however as the theme park prides itself on
its family image. It is more likely that the activists may be taken
to court and sued. Details: www.entenwoud.nl
Following a recent series of anti-war gigs, the Shoestring Project
in Nottingham began to organise gigs to raise money for community
projects and activism. The gigs have been hugely successful and
many contacts have been made with local people. Theyre also
developing projects working with refugees and the homeless, hopefully
starting in Autumn. They have also donated money to Medical Aid
for Palestinians and have plans for environmental and peace projects.
In September the project will start up a series of gigs at various
venues, and in association with Bored Beyond Belief, Shoestring
will be beginning a regular night at Moog on Tuesdays: www.shoestringproject.org
* A similar project has been going on in Brighton too
the first Wednesday of each month theres a Fun-Raiser at the
Volks Tavern - the crew have got money together for a whole range
of projects and causes such as biodiesel collectives, Brighton against
the war and animal rights groups.
Simon Shaw was arrested at an anti war demo in Edinburgh in March
for displaying an upside-down US flag with the words Fuck
Bush and a swastika. The arresting officers said Simons
flag was likely to incite racial hatred despite the
message being aimed at Bush and his administration and not the American
Following this, the Mark Thomas Comedy Product produced 13,000
postcards of the flag for the public to send to the local police
station. On Thursday Mark and 60 friends arrived at the police station
to hand themselves in, with a variety of Fuck Bush banners
(including one carried by an American apparently inciting racial
hatred towards himself!). The police were also covered in Fuck
Bush confetti, but refused to make any arrests. Simon Shaws
trial is at 9:30am next Friday (25) at Edinburgh Sheriffs Court,
Chamber St. Please bring your Fuck Bush banners, t-shirts
and flags. www.mtcp.co.uk/news.php?id=20
* The people selling the Fuck Bush t-shirts have said theyll
donate half to the SchNEWS rent fund. More info from email@example.com
(but mention us when contacting them).
SchNEWS in brief
- Last Thursday (10th) Earth First! and others blockaded AMECs
office in Warrington, demanding that they pull out of the Baku
pipeline project in Georgia. A chain of people locked themselves
together across the entrance causing deliveries to be cancelled
and company workers to climb over the blockade to get to work.
Manchester Earth First! has a list of over seventy offices of
companies involved in the pipeline. Wherever you live, there will
be somewhere nearby deserving a visit. www.earthfirst.org.uk/manchester/baku/bgpalms.htm
- Jeremy Hardy v. The Israeli Army, a feature documentary
about the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine as experienced
through the eyes of the British comedian opens July 18th at the
Prince Charles cinema (Box office 02074943654) then throughout
London and Nationwide.
- All-day Palestine benefit for the International Solidarity
Movement (ISM) at the Brixton Windmill on Sunday 27th July
2003 - 3pm till late with poetry, comedy, film, food, politics
and music. Only £3! www.eyelessingaza.org.uk
- Benefit roast dinner this Sunday (20) for a Palestinian
family whose house was blown up by the Israeli Defence Force.
3pm Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton. Members and guests
- Theres an anti-WTO meeting in the splendid nature
of Larzac, South France, from 8-10th August. It is organised in
response to the next WTO meeting in September. The Larzac meeting
will have forums, stands, workshops, cinema etc, focusing on the
environment, public services, peoples empowerment, GATS
- A permaculture weekend for beginners runs from the 22-24
August and covers all you need to know about a sustainable existence
with loads of practical hands on activities. In North Weald, Essex,
£75. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
or 01702 303259
- From September therell be a West Country radical bookfair
happening every month in Bristol at the Cornubia Pub, Temple Street.
First one is on September 6th 12-4.30pm More details: gardsteingang@
- Disarm DSEI public meeting on July 26th at ULU, Malet
St, London WC1 at 2pm. The DSEI is one of the worlds biggest
arms fairs and is coming to London in September: 07817 652 029,
Arms dealers Lockheed Martin (see SchNEWS 402/3) are demanding
$44,000 from 52 protesters who were arrested as hundreds blocked
Lockheeds factory entrances in San Francisco in April because,
as one of the demonstrators put it, They were unable to find
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but we found them right here
Lockheed arent short of a bob or two ($30 billion worth of
Pentagon contracts and $142 billion worldwide since 1992), but say
they need the money to cover security costs. However, if Lockheed
succeed, a legal precedent will be set in the US that says a corporation
can sue protesters for costs. As one of those facing costs commented
Theyre the ones who are criminals, not us. And theyre
the ones who should be paying restitution - to all the children,
lovers, families and communities theyve helped destroy with
landmines, depleted uranium, cluster bombs, and nuclear missiles.
Dont let them get away with this. See: http://sf.indymedia.org
* Damacio A.Lopez: US airforce veteran, former professional golfer,
and author and expert on depleted uranium is on a speaking tour
of the UK. Hes at Fairford Community Centre this Saturday
(19) 12-2 pm; Birmingham (21) 8pm, Friends of the Earth, 24 Allison
Street; Wimbledon Community Centre, St Georges Road (22) 8pm; Bristol
(24) 7.30pm, Friends Meeting House, Hampton Road; Manchester (25)
Friends Meeting House, Mount Street 7pm.
Ive just been banged up on a 9 monther for affray.
I got nicked at the free party in Rode on Glastonbury weekend for
violent disorder of all things! They had to drop this charge
but then they pulled me on a warrant for affray from a party last
year where I was involved in another confrontation
I had a copy of SchNEWS and other disinformation
I had to
go up in front of a crown court judge in a pair of ripped jeans
and, no top and loads of piercings - you should have seen his face!!
I would be grateful for any letters, copies of SchNEWS or any other
literature that will help me remember what its all about
Sorry, Im Daz by the way, got a dog called Giro
Write to him! Prisoner LH 4272 HM Prison Ford, Ford Rd, Ford, Arundel,
W Sussex BN18 0BX
Thanks to the generosity of a couple of readers our first two months
rent is covered and we have been promised another £60 a month
in standing orders. (If you do make an order - details on our website
- please let us know so we stop panicking). But we still need a
lot more (£240 to be precise) to cover our monthly rent and
thats without phone bills, printing, postage, biscuits. As
one of our readers said if just 100 of you lot gave £3 a month
wed be sorted.
Casualty of War - 8 weeks of counter-terrorism in rural England
is a new report out by human rights group Liberty into the policing
of demonstrations at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire (see SchNEWS
396). During the recent invasion of Iraq Liberty found a clear policy
of using anti-terrorism laws to prevent legitimate protest. Between
1 March and 30 April, 61 people were arrested at Fairford - 27 were
subsequently charged with public order (but not terrorist) offences.
At its most extreme an anti-terrorist order was served on an 11-year-old
girl (her father is now seeking legal redress) and a coach load
of demonstrators were kidnapped by police (also the
subject of a legal action). So how much did the whole thing cost?
Glos. cops dished out £3.26 million and the MoD police, £3.79
million to stop protestors trying to prevent planes from
flying out of the airbase and bombing the people of Iraq. For copies
of the report call 020 7403 3888, www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk
Looking for a job but cant be bothered to get off your arse?
Well look no further because Berlin or Sydney may be the places
for you! In Berlin an unemployed woman, 25, received a letter offering
her a job as a barmaid and was told to get in contact with her potential
employer. When she looked up the companys website, she found
its services included hot kisses, tender and cuddly massages
or uninhibited sex. The head of Berlin job centres has apologised,
adding that the woman was not obliged to accept the job.
In Sydney Tom, an unemployed Aussie, was told to apply to an agency
looking for female escorts by the governments job network
last week. An employment agency contracted by the government matched
Tom to two advertisements seeking Ladies of all ages.
I dont think the government should be expecting jobseekers
to apply for a job as a prostitute, said a not-so-blow-jobseeking
Tom. Well, Tom, at least the states being honest: if you want
a decent job you should go get fucked.
SchNEWS warns all readers that were used to fishy chips, having
to use the takeaway round the corner. Honest.
NOW OUT!!! 'PEACE DE RESISTANCE' - SchNEWS Annual
2003 - £8 + £1.70 p&p
- SchNEWS Round
issues 51 - 100 Sold out - Sorry
- SchNEWS Annual
issues 101 - 150 £3.70 inc. postage.
- SchNEWS Survival
Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £3.70 inc. postage
- The SchQUALL
book at only £6 + £1.70 p&p.
and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures from
the direct action frontline. £3 + £1.70 p&p. You
can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the
ISBN 09529748 4 3.
- SchNEWS Of
The World issues 301 - 350. 300
more pages of adventures from the direct action frontline. £7
+ £1.50 p&p. You can order the book from a bookshop
or your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 6X
In the UK you
can get SchNEWS Annual, Survival Handbook, Yearbook 2001 and SchNEWS
of the World for just £15 inc p&p.
£6.00 for individual books, £13 for above offer).
If you can help distribute the new book by taking a few boxes
from Brighton or East London round the country, call the office
and ask for John, Thanks.
to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons,
subverts, a yellow pages list of contacts, comedy etc.
to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues)
or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription,
or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals"
if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.