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Re: ScientificAmerican.com: How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2008 10:56:16 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: "Steven M. Bellovin" <smb () cs columbia edu>
Date: August 25, 2008 10:40:15 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Re: [IP] Re: ScientificAmerican.com: How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People

On Mon, 25 Aug 2008 22:00:41 -0400
David Farber <dave () farber net> wrote:



Begin forwarded message:

From: Mike Godwin <mnemonic () gmail com>
Date: August 25, 2008 8:26:56 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Cc: "ip" <ip () v2 listbox com>
Subject: Re: [IP] Re:     ScientificAmerican.com: How RFID Tags
Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People


Dave,

One of the important points made by Karl Popper, a very influential
philosopher of science, is that questions of origin are not
questions of validity. In short, knowing what Albrecht's religious
views are doesn't tell us anything about whether what she says is
true. My own views about religion are hardly the same as Albrecht's,
but I take her criticisms regarding RFIDs quite seriously.

I mostly but not completely agree.  Issues of fact are, indeed,
independent of origin.  If, however, it's an issue of opinion, or of
balancing different needs, the person's pre-existing biases are quite
important.  Which facts or sources of information does that person
stress?  How are the different sources weighted?  Has this person
omitted the "on the other hand" clauses because of a pre-existing bias?

Try this thought experiment.  Suppose that someone proposes a brand-new
Internet monitoring technology that they claim will be very useful in
countering <the online evil of your choice>.  Everything about it is
new, save for the fact that it does require large-scale monitoring.
You are charged with assessing whether or not it works, and whether or
not this form of monitoring is worthwhile.  Knowing no more, what will
the EFF say?  What will <the government agency (in this administration)
in charge of combating this evil say>?  What about the same agency in
the McCain or Obama administrations?  Everyone is drawing on the same
facts, but I strongly suspect we'd see different answers.


                --Steve Bellovin, http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb




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