June 14, 2012 at 5:54 am, by Carl
I hope I didn’t scare you too much last post. Or, actually I hope I did freak you out a bit, but not so much that you quit reading. I suppose we’ll see with this post. I left you with the image, the reality that our technology is absolutely at a place where you can be found and your ability to find your way or even make purchases can be controlled. Well, what I was writing is certainly the picture of a distopia. Sorry, but that’s just a likely possiblity.
So, while you think I may be picking on Fast Company, they finally admitted it with the third of these blog posts I have been writing about. This time they just admitted it with the title of “The Dark Side of Smartphone NFC Technology.” The focus of their article was that the government of The UAE is thinking about putting its National ID card system into smartphones. And, as FC admits, “Yup, that could mean you have to carry your phone at all times. Scary.”
But it gets worse. The National ID card scheme, created in 2004 in its modern smart-card guise, means every citizen has an official ID number which is associated with their chip-enabed card. On its tiny sliver of silicon it also carries personal identification information, a photo, and digitzed versions of the owner’s fingerprints. Carrying your ID card is mandatory, all the time. To be fair, the various parts of the UAE have been a bit lenient with imposing the scheme, but its all-encompassing power is still a bit threatening.
DO NOT BELIEVE THEM!
Here’s how FC spun it: “In some ways, popping this information into a smartphone seems like a great idea. The card is a legal requirement, and losing it must be a pain in the ass for citizens–and we all know how easy it is to misplace a tiny credit-card sized slip of plastic. Embedding the data into a phone means it may be harder to lose, as you’ve got more of an incentive to keep hold of your smartphone nowadays because of the way it keeps you digitally connected to the world, and because of all the really personal data you hold inside like credit card numbers and passwords.”
For now, just remember you heard it here first. Thus, when your favorite politician starts talking about some sort of method to “keep us safe” through the new national smartphone (free of course, just to make you happy), realize they aren’t really trying to merely keep you safe, but safely keep you where they want you.