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Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Big Brother In Your Holster

September 7, 2003
Big Brother In Your Holster:
Your Help Needed in Chicago (and Everywhere)

[This Alert is in 4 parts]


If you don't want Big Brother to stick himself right inside your guns, read this.

If you live near Chicago or know activists or media people there, read this.
Two companies, NEC and Hitachi, have announced radio-frequency ID chips (RFID) the size of the period in this sentence. These chips broadcast a "unique identifying number" to nearby scanners - numbers that can be read through your clothes, your holster, or your fanny pack. The RFID industry has already said it wants every, single product manufactured anywhere in the world to carry these chips. And NEC quickly announced one of its first intended uses�to track bullets. Every bullet ever manufactured on the planet.

It gets worse for gun owners, as you'll read in JD Abolins' explanation, below.

But if you live near Chicago or know activists in the area, you can help prevent this. CASPIAN (, the consumer privacy group, is organizing a protest for September 15-17. Read the information below. Then, if you can put CASPIAN in touch with any Chicago activist groups or media people who might get involved, please contact Katherine Albrecht (

When we say activists, we mean any kind�RKBA, religious, anti- globalization, privacy, freedom of speech. *Everyone's* rights are threatened by universal RFID. The coalition against eternal tracking can be broad and strong. If you can join the protest yourself, plan to go.

Every study shows that, when ordinary people learn about the plans for these chips, they are horrified. The industry is on the defensive. The more people learn, the more they'll say NO to this stupid, intrusive idea. The CASPIAN protest is not a useless plea to politicians. It is to alert the public and let the industry know that we won't put up with Big Brother�not in our holsters, not in our cereal boxes, not in our targets, not in our money, not in our primers, not in our books, not in our cartridge cases�not anywhere.



A message from Katherine Albrecht:

On Sept 15-17 the nasty men at the Auto-ID Center are officially launching their EPC (RFID) "spy chip" network at a convention at McCormick Place in Chicago. You may be familiar with their plans to use tiny speck-of-dust sized computer chips to number every item on the planet and track it (and us) all via the Internet.

In addition to being an ardent 2nd Amendment supporter, I am the founder and director of CASPIAN, the organization that has mounted a worldwide campaign against Benetton, Gillette, Wal-Mart and others in the use of RFID "spy chips" in consumer products.

RFID technology is particularly worrisome for our 2nd amendment rights, since there is talk of using these nearly imperceptible chips to tag bullets and guns, making them identifiable at a distance and secretly registrable to their purchaser via credit card and point-of-sale records.

In response to the upcoming Chicago event, CASPIAN is planning both a physical protest at McCormick Place on Tuesday, September 16 at 10:00 AM and an online "virtual" protest as well.

I am hoping you will consider protesting with us and helping drive turnout to the event among your membership and friends in Chicago.

In freedom,

Katherine Albrecht, Ed.M.
Founder and Director, CASPIAN
Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering
(877) 287-5854

= = = = = = = = = =


Here is a commentary on another aspect of RFID and firearms:

RFID and Firearms: Every Bullet Will Have Your Name on It! by JD Abolins

At first glance, radio frequency ID (RFID) tagging technologies seem unrelated to firearms issues. After all, most firearms in common use today have few electronic components, right?

While it's true that the basic firearm can be made without electronic components, an overall technology trend has been for electronics and firmware (software embedded in chips) to be applied to technologies that have, up to now, been primarily traditionally mechanical or large-scale electrical. This has been happening to automobiles. It is becoming harder and harder for the average car owner or small independent garage to work on newer cars.

*** The Push for "Smart Guns"

Firearms are facing such a push. Some military firearms are already getting electronic components for sighting, etc. In the civilian area, some gun control groups are pushing for "smart gun" technologies that are supposed to fire only when handled by the designated owner. In New Jersey, this is being pushed by law. The New Jersey Institute of Technology is embarking on research to develop "smart gun" technologies. (See

One of the several approaches considered for identifying authorized handlers to the firearm is a token such as a ring that "unlocks" the firing mechanism.

Well, RFIDs would fit into this approach and may become incorporated into some of the "smart gun" designs.

Incidentally, many of the approaches for "smart guns" are pushing for a departure from the traditional mechanical firing mechanism in favor of electromechanical or even 100% electronic ones. (Besides making integration of user verification systems with the firing functions, the electronic approaches can make bypassing the "smarts" more difficult than with mechanical firing mechanisms.)

*** RFIDs can Affect Gun Owners even without "Smart Guns"

The "smart gun" is not the only place where RFIDs can show up in firearms. Consider these possibilities:

Every firearm and, more importantly, every round of ammunition is RFID tagged. Remember the proposals for the tagging of explosives and gunpowder? Well the RFID allows much more detailed tagging and tracking. For example, every cartridge could have multiple RFIDS the tie together the bullet and the casing. Find a bullet lodged in a tree and 30 empty casings from the same type of cartridges and the RFID could tell which casing was connected to the bullet.

While this may provide more data for forensics, the next layer of RFID-enable connection carries a big whammy: Every bullet directly traceable to a specific person�whether or not the "smart gun" tech takes off.

If you have somebody currently take a few cartridges or swap some of theirs for yours, not much comes up in regards to traces. But if every bullet literally has your name on it, the swap of bullets can have drastic implications. Framing becomes a big possibility.

A variant of "smart gun" tech might be to check for the munitions to make sure they are RFIDed. In such a case, "silent" non-RFID ammunition�say, home loaded ones�would not allow the firing function to be active. Or perhaps it would allow home-loaded munitions to be used if they are RFIDed. So if you purchase the supplies to load your own, you might have to use RFID tagged casings, bullets, etc.

A similar thing could occur for the firearm components to discourage "unapproved" modifications. Stock and barrel length modification might even be discouraged by having the firing verification system check for special set of RFIDs in the end of the barrel and the stock. (This is very hypothetical example just to illustrate the concept of RFID as a way to make implements "self-aware.")

After a period of such technologies being pushed out, it may become mandatory to have all firearms and munitions RFID- readable. Even antique muzzle-loaders might need to be "implanted" to be legal. There may be a push for severe penalties for having a "silent" firearm. The RFID, then, could be used to enforce the various "gun free zones". (Of course, criminals and thugs of all kinds would love this as a way of finding unarmed civilians.)

Side Note: As various things go, it is likely that police and other authorities will seek to have non-RFIDed firearms, especially for undercover work. Such firearms would become valuable on the black market and elsewhere.

Then the permits, hunting licenses, etc. are likely to be among the earlies firearms-related items to get RFIDed.
J.D. Abolins

= = = = = = = =


Tagging bullets and guns is definitely on the technologists' minds. Just this week I read this chilling comment:

"FEC...chief executive Kunioki Ichioka told reporters that the chip inserted into the human body, animals, bullets, credit cards and other items for verification purposes, and can replace price bar codes used to tag products."


He is referring to a new RFID chip the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Not only could these chips be fabricated into every shell casing, but the tiny chips could be sprinkled directly into gunpowder at the point of manufacture, making it both identifiable (functioning like easy-to-read DNA) and traceable to the individual purchaser.

= = = = = = = =


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posted by Vetzine


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