Government Tricked Citizens Into Wearing Tracking Devices At Music Festival

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So, the debate in RFID chipping is in full swing with privacy advocates solidly against them. But in Chicago during the Lollapalooza concerts some 1.5 million fans allowed themselves to be RFID chipped by accepting the non-removable wristbands that allowed them to get in to see the concerts.

Was this an underhanded way to force RFID tags on people, or were they perfectly OK because of the voluntary aspect of the whole thing?

The wristbands were a way to eliminate paper tickets, Lollapalooza promoters claimed. It was also an easier way for their security teams to keep an eye on the vast number of concert goers in one of America’s largest cities, they said.

The bands were “non removable” in that if they were removed from the write it invalidated the wearer’s tickets to roam the various venues. The bands were non-transferrable and if altered in any way prevented the concert goer from getting into any of the shows.

RFID tags are being touted as a great way to stop counterfeiters and thieves, of course. Putting the devices in paper money, for instance, could help stop counterfeiters. Banks have also thought that paper-styled RFID tags could help them track their own papers like bonds and checks.

But critics also warn that such devices could become virtual tracking devices for people, too. If the government is tracking your money the government will know where you are, what you are spending and to whom you give it. This is a serous breach of personal liberty and privacy, opponents say.

Lollapalooza promoters say that they warned everyone ahead of time and that this should be enough to avoid charges of abusing music fans’ privacy.

As Deborah Dupre notes, Missouri recently joined several other states in put restrictions on RFID tags.

“Missouri has passed HB 2041, which makes it a misdemeanor for any employer to ‘require an employee to have personal identification microchip technology implanted into the employee for any reason.’ Radio frequency identification (“RFID”) technology transmits data wirelessly and is usually used to track packages in warehouses or pets,” Dupre reports that the Associated Press wrote.

(See also: 19 Signs America is Being Turned Into a Surveillance Police State)

“Missouri joined California, North Dakota and Wisconsin, both of which also passed legislation forbidding mandatory RFID implantation in humans,” Dupre noted.

The state of Washington also passed a law that would prevent merchants from “skimming.” That is using RFID technology to read tags without express permission of customers.

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