Saturday, February 14, 2009

Anti-crime technology: Device knows when it is stolen

Sun Microsystems is promoting a world in which devices are networked. Add to that RFID, and we have a world of objects managed digitally.

Here is an idea I would love see implemented: objects know when they are stolen, and do the right thing ( such as contact owner and proper authorities ) to get back to their proper owner. Bruce Sterling has described a world of these types of things, and calls them Spimes.

For all who would opt out of this, fine. In a depression era economy, I also offer as an idea for police departments: Provide little or no assistance for those who make law enforcement and investigations expensive. By "make law enforcement expensive" I mean people and their objects are not on the grid, not watched, not trackable, and anonymous.


Lord Rybec said...

Ok, so some of the ideas in the original article are good, but some of them are overkill.

I like the idea of putting these in advanced technology, but not the idea of putting them in things like mops.

They would also need some degree of regulation. The biggest problem I can see with these is that they would allow an oppressive government to further oppress and control the people, by allowing the government to easily locate people based on records of objects they own.

The Serpent Lord said...

Technology has made people very, very easy to locate, but I think putting transmitters in low value objects is pointless. Technology is most valuable when can simultaneously align the needs of the producer, consumer, society and government. A valuable item that complements the needs of the individual, his insurance company, law enforcers, and society at large makes sense.

RFID tags implanted for trivial, dubiously aligned purposes like tracking consumption patterns only benefits one party while spreading hidden costs including increased risk of undesirable surveilance, not only by oppressive governments but also by hostile and criminal agents.

BFGalbraith said...

From a CPTED perspective putting trackers on every last plastic fork does more than just make it possible to track plastic fork thieves: it actually makes theft in general a less practical activity. The cost-benefit of theft goes down dramatically as the thief has to learn how to take out tracking devices, and loses privacy regarding his activities, and not to mention dramatically increases his chance of getting caught and prosecuted. The very expectation that anything MIGHT have a tracker on it could discourage theft as we know it entirely (over 90%.) With the main source of theft I deal with being primarily laptops, iPods and laptop-internet-anywhere-cards, it seems like trackers need to be installed on many items worth less than $100.