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Chips, Surveillance & Privacy

Date: 02-25-09
Host: George Noory
Guests: Katherine Albrecht, Roger Tolces, Harry S. Dent

During the second hour, private investigator Roger Tolces spoke about the latest news in surveillance. Relating to the fact that all computers are assembled in China nowadays, he presented his theory of the "Manchurian microchip." According to one of his sources, these machines are secretly equipped with a hidden microchip that can be activated at any time by China's military-intelligence service, for information gathering purposes.

He also talked about keystroke logging and spyware, and how the US government can install this on computers without entering your premises. There's a lot of government paranoia right now, fueled by things like the Patriot Act, he explained.

Appearing in the latter half of the show, privacy expert Katherine Albrecht warned of GE's development of a technology called "Smart Grid." The plan calls for people to install "smart" meters and thermostats in their homes, which would allow outside parties to monitor their household activities remotely. Sometimes appliances could be turned off during peak usage hours, which could pose problems. And such detailed monitoring would encroach on people's privacy, she noted.

Albrecht also expressed concerns over the increased usage of RFID tags to track drivers in their cars. Such tags may also be added to "enhanced" driver's licenses, and this would turn the cards into remotely readable tracking devices-- making people trackable all the time. She offers a newsletter about RFID privacy issues at spychips.com.

Economic Analysis

First hour guest, consultant Harry S. Dent offered analysis on the economy. While we may see a rebound with the Dow bouncing back up in the Fall of 2009, that will be short-lived and we'll be in another downturn by 2010 that will last through 2011, he said. Such economic downturns tend to occur at 40-year intervals, based on population demographics, he added.

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