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Technology: Tracking 300 million people
Posted by kallahar on May.07.02 at 04:21 pm PDT.

kallahar writes A Slashdot reader wrote this comment about the future of person-tracking databases. "Keeping tabs on 300 million US citizens is well-nigh impossible ... Now imagine this extended to several hundred BILLION consumer goods.

You're assuming some sort of gigantic centralized government database. But there are other possibilities.

Merchants will tag their inventory to protect themselves from theft, then log the inventory's movement on premises. Once you leave the store with it, your presence is detected by the local street safety patrol's monitors tracking you by your driver's license, until you enter your next destination, say the local pub. Inside the pub, you pay -- cash -- for a quick stimulant, with the cash register reading the embedded chip (which marks the bill as genuine with a unique serial number) and noting (courtesy of a tie-in to the IRS database which tracks all currency movement for tax assessment purpose) that you received that bill as change at the local florist's.

Next stop is a quick drive to your mother's to drop off her Mother's Day flowers, while the local security firm you pay to track the whereabouts of your late-model sportster registers your every turn.

Of course, Ma Bell also monitors your every step via your GPS-enabled cellphone so it can conveniently bombard you with advertising from whatever local business you're happening by at the moment.

I mean, it's sorta fun to think that the government/corporations/whoever really cares about me individually, and is devoting massive amounts of manpower and/or computer resources to tracking my shopping habits, but.. why would they bother?

You get the picture. No, there won't be a single centralized database monitoring every aspect of your life, but rather a myriad of local databases tracking just that portion of your activities in which it has a vested interest. Tying it all together later would require nothing more than a simple court warrant and an Internet connection. Or, I'm sure, private investigators could provide the same service for a fee." - The Slashdot Discussion.

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Aug.20.01 by kallahar

"Knowledge is the only hope this planet has for survival." - Dick Solomon - 3rd Rock From the Sun