Posted by debito on June 11th, 2009
Hi Blog. Update Three this week. I put out an article three weeks ago that sparked some controversy, about the prospects of the new Gaijin Cards with IC Chips within them being used to track people and ferret out the foreigners with more effectiveness than ever before. I was accused of scaremongering by some, but oh well.
As a followup, here are some responses and links to germane articles from cyberspace, pointing out how my prognostications may in fact be grounded in reality. Along with a critique at the very bottom from friend Jon Heese, Tsukuba City Assemblyman, of that controversial article. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
Saw these two articles and thought I’d pass them along so that you’re up to date with what nonsense the DHS is up to these days:
Homeland Security to scan fingerprints of travelers exiting the US
Be sure to read the part about the RFID ‘gaijin’ card.
Cancer patient held at airport for missing fingerprint
Welcome to America, Mr. Tan! Sheesh! -JK
Japanese university to track attendance with iPhone
Reuters, this June all of the university’s 550 students, and some staff in one unnamed department, will receive a free iPhone 3G. Instead of teachers taking attendance, students are asked to input their ID number into an iPhone app—and to discourage fraud, this app apparently has GPS location data and monitors which Internet router students use.
Of course, knowing the lengths students will go to in order to avoid attending class, it wouldn’t be too surprising to find they’d discovered a way around the system. If only they devoted that much time to their schoolwork.
Further the university apparently is going to also be providing video podcasts of lectures, something American universities have been doing for years. No word yet on if they’re going to be making AGU’s material available on iTunes U.
Debito, feel free to use this in the comments section or just for yourself. As you please. -jon heese
Quoting Debito’s controversial article three weeks ago:
Although the 2005 proposal suggested foreign “swiping stations” in public buildings, the technology already exists to read IC cards remotely. With Japan’s love of cutting-edge gadgets, data processing will probably not stop at the swipe. The authorities will be able to remotely scan crowds for foreigners.
It also means that anyone with access to IC chip scanners (they’re going cheap online) could possibly swipe your information. Happy to have your biometric information in the hands of thieves?
God, Debito, you sure do go on. There are plenty of products available to block remote scanning. Googling “rfid protection” got me the link below.
Personally, I’m rather pissed at the lemming-like acceptance of very dodgy tech in a normally tech-savvy country. There is a company in California which makes a RFID card which has a break in the circuit between the chip and the antenna. Pressing a small bubble in the corner of the card completes the circuit but only when you want the info to be read.
Some Canadian provinces have put their implementation of chips on drivers licenses on hold until the privacy issues are properly dealt with. Why are the provinces even trying to force their citizenry to accept RFID’s in their driving licenses? Why goodness, it’s because the US of F-ing A is forcing them to! So if yer gonna clamp on your tinfoil hat, direct your ire towards the source of the problem, not the Japanese who have been cajoled into this by big brother. And BTW, my new drivers license also has a chip. So it’s not just the poor NJ’s who are being put at risk. This is a much bigger issue than a few foreigners getting screwed over.
RFID’s are small potatoes. As far as tracking, though, you are not gripping your hat tight enough. I would point out that your cell phone is actually much better to track you than a chip. An RFID reader is only really useful within 10 feet. Cell phones know where you are at all times. Anyone with the right access can pinpoint you anywhere in the world.
I would also point out that it’s also a great remote listening device. The NSA may have the ability to turn on your microphone without you even knowing it and broadcast anything being said. And turning your phone off may not be enough. Not even taking out the battery! Phones already have built in batteries which normally only provide juice to preserve your data, like the clock and address book, etc. However, there is no reason to not believe that such internal batteries could just as easily power the microphone for short periods. So grab your foil hat tight and wrap your curls in triple layers for extra protection.
Come again? Pass the law, and then we’ll decide law enforcement procedures? This blind faith is precisely what leads to human rights abuses.
I’m with you on this one. However when it comes to abuses, Japan is still a tamago. Just listen to a few NPR podcasts to get a feel of what it’s like “out there.” 怖いよ！
Still, did you expect the leopard to change its spots? Put immigration policy in the hands of the police and they will do just that police, under a far-removed centralized regime trained to see people as potential criminals.
Though the police have a central control, most cops are of the prefectural variety. Not nearly as ominous as you make out.
Why stop at bugging the gaijin? Why not just sew gold stars on their lapels and be done with it?
This is over the top. Shame on you! Besides, it’s not like us Pilsbury dough boys even need stars to be spotted in a crowd.
Fortunately, a policy this egregious has fomented its own protest, even within a general public that usually cares little about the livelihoods of foreigners. Major newspapers are covering the issue, for a change. The opposition Democratic Party of Japan wants the bill watered down, vowing to block it until after the next general election.
Japan just gets curiouser and curiouser. I am so looking forward to voting in this coming election. But don’t expect the RFID issue to go away. The USA won’t let them.