The Swedish State Railways has decided to accept under-the-skin RFID tag implants for ticket purchases, arguing it enhances ticketless travel better than having your ticket in your mobile. Actually, they didn’t argue that at all. They just said “we’re digital” and “it works” as if that would justify the rest.

Sweden is a European state which, until recently, celebrated the fact that people were able to travel between European and Nordic countries without a passport or other identification papers. Since a few years back, the governmental train company, which operates with all the efficiency of one, changed all that on its own — by requiring photo ID to take the train just to the next city. The official reason for going all papieren, bitte on people just going to the next town was to “prevent the second-hand sale of attractive tickets”.

This company — the Swedish State Railways — has an insanely bad reputation in the country, known for never arriving on time and for mediocre service. To paint a picture of the service level, the company offers some compensation if passengers get more than an hour delayed with a local train (within the European state of Sweden).

This is the company now priding itself on “being digital” and announcing an extremely privacy-invasive method for travel. It may well be that it’s more convenient. That’s obviously not where the cause for concern is.

“We will never force somebody to have a chip implanted”, says Stephan Ray, press spokesperson for the State Railways.

I wish I could believe this — for this has been the standard line every single time a new privacy invasion has been presented. And there’s a catch which sounds all too familiar:

“We don’t rule out giving special advantages to travelers with under-the-skin RFID chips,” Ray adds.

At what point does this translate to putting ridiculous burden on people without under-skin RFID tags, even if it will technically not require them to implant? That’s usually a few years before the option is taken away altogether, judging from history.

As a final note, the article from the Stockholm local paper also notes that the local buses, trams, and subways are also seeking to start using passenger under-skin-RFID-tags for travel. Yes, you read that right: people in Sweden are seriously considering under-skin RFID tags to be a nice, cozy form of bus and subway ticket.

Fortunately, this is not something that would go over well in other European states. If I were to describe the Swedish attitude to this in a few words, I would choose “trusting and naïve”. This is in stark contrast to other states — say, Germany — which take privacy extremely seriously: Berlin’s ticket vending machines to the local public transport sell paper tickets for cash, and it would be inconceivable to remove that option, as was done a long time ago in Sweden (where you can instead buy identified tickets to your identified phone using an identified credit card).

As a final note, the image to this article shows animal tags. That’s because it’s the technology used. “Tagged like an animal” is quite literal. There’s also the concern of malware infecting such chips, which has been proven possible – and with RFID technology, the malware could spread quickly.

Privacy remains your own responsibility.

Source: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2017/05/train-tickets-rfid-tags-europe/

This short video explores how the online world has overwhelmingly become the popular outlet for public rage by briefly illustrating some of the many stories of everyday people which have suddenly become public enemy number one under the most misunderstood of circumstances and trivial narratives. With the web acting like a giant echo-chamber, amplifying false stories and feeding on the pent-up aggression of the audience watching the spectacle, The Outrage Machine shows how these systems froth the mob mentality into a hideous mess, as a good example of where the spectacle goes and how its intensity has to keep ratcheting up in order maintain the audience attention, in a culture of dwindling attention spans, distraction and triviality.

Filmmaker and author Jon Ronson also recently wrote a book about this topic too, which is quite good. So You've Been Publicly Shamed. His TED talk is essentially a 17 min overview:

And a longer presentation with interview and Q&A from earlier this year:

"Would you share your home with a robot or work side by side with one? People are starting to do both, which has put the relationship we have with them under the spotlight and exposed both our love and fear of the machines that are increasingly becoming a crucial part of our lives."

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32334571

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-33978561

A must watch TED talk for anyone interested in privacy and social media.

Thanks MGM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=42&v=Dyk9Xnj4_5U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekP7LBeM5qE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn5u50A153w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yjHwb1cbnQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnmHZXvJhlk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxhoLxRYsRU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oeFBGFzcrg

 

More here

A campaign has called for an outright ban on robots developed for sex. Leading academics in robot ethics have warned that their creation will only increase the objectification of women and children, further dehumanising those who are abused for sex.
The warning comes as artificial intelligence approaches a point where it could be used in robots designed solely to satisfy sexual desires. But such robots, campaigners argue, should not exist.
"The development of sex robots and the ideas to support their production show the immense horrors still present in the world of prostitution," read a statement on the Campaign Against Sex Robots website. The authors of the campaign argued that sex robots would further increase the perceived "inferiority of women and children" and continue to justify their use as "sex objects".
The campaign, led by Kathleen Richardson, a senior research fellow in the ethics of robotics at De Montfort University in Leicester and Erik Brilling, an associate senior lecturer in informatics from the University of Skövde in Sweden, hopes to encourage a wider debate around the development of sex robots and their potential implications for society.
The development of "ethical technologies" that reflect the human principles of dignity, mutuality and freedom are critical, the campaign argues. To this end the campaign has called on scientists and roboticists to refuse to help with the development of sex bots, by withholding code, hardware and ideas.
Films such as Ex Machina have raised the issue of human-robot sexual relations
Film 4 / Universal
The first sex dolls imbued with artificial intelligence are due to launch later this year. True Companion, which claims to be developing the "world's first" robot sex doll under the strapline "always turned on and ready to talk or play", said its Roxxxy doll would allow people to "find happiness and fulfilment" without the need for human interaction.
"We are not supplanting the wife or trying to replace a girlfriend," chief executive Douglas Hines told the BBC. "This is a solution for people who are between relationships or someone who has lost a spouse."
Hines said that the physical act of sex would only be a "small part" of the time people spent with the robot. "The majority of time will be spent socialising and interacting," he added. But with little discussion of their ethics, robot sex dolls risk becoming enablers for abusive behaviour.
 

In opposition to Richardon, read this.

And the original paper written by Richardson can be found here.

The corporate tenants of a Swedish high-tech office complex are having RFID chips implanted in their hands, enabling access through security doors, as well as services such as copy machines, all without PIN codes or swipe cards.
The employees working at Epicenter, a 15,000-square-foot building in Stockholm, can even pay for lunch using their implants -- just as they would with the swipe of a credit card.
The owners of Epicenter say they want the facility to be a "magnet for fast growing digital companies and cutting-edge creative corporate initiatives."
"The fact that some people at the Epicenter office have chosen to replace their key fobs with NFC implants is their own personal choice," said Hannes Sjöblad, founder of Bionyfiken, a Swedish association of Biohackers. "It's a small, but indeed fast-growing, fraction which has chosen to try it out."
Sjöblad said there are also several other offices, companies, gyms and education institutions in Stockholm where people access the facilities with implanted RFID/NFC chips (near field communication).

More here