Thursday, May 12, 2011

Does This Set Off Quiet Alarm Bells For Anyone Else?

Just stop and think about this:

A new national alert system is set to begin in New York City that will alert the public to emergencies via cell phones.

Okay, so far so good.  Sounds perfectly reasonable, especially for a city like New York that's a constant high-profile target.  Let's keep reading.

Presidential and local emergency messages as well as Amber Alerts would appear on cell phones equipped with special chips and software.

Verizon and AT&T, the nation's largest cell phone carriers, are already on board. Consumers would be able to opt out of all but those presidential messages.

Errrrrmmmm...okay.  I'm less than thrilled about being forced to pay attention to 'presidential messages', but I assume those would be pretty rare.  Let's go a little further into the article.

For now, the system is capable on certain high-end cell phones but starting next year, all cell phones will be required to have the chip that receives alerts.

By the end of the year, the new system will be in place in New York City and Washington and in cities around the country by the end of 2012.


I get off this train at the part where 'all cell phones will be required to have a chip'.  I wouldn't want to have a cell phone with a required chip controlled by the government that cannot be disabled no matter what administration is in power, much less the current one that has made no secret about trying to take over vast swaths of the American business sector, health care, banking, insurance, and the Internet.  What else is hiding in those required permanent chips?  Tracking code or GPS features?  Are they listening in on our conversations or reading our texts (a la Carnivore and Echelon)?  Can they actually take control of the phone itself?

These are not trivial questions, and someone needs to start asking them.

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