Tires are supposed to leave tracks not track us.
Someone should tell the tire companies. Who arent telling us about the tracking devices theyre embedding in the tires theyre selling to us and which can be used to keep track of our comings and goings without our even knowing about it, much less having consented to it.
The devices are called Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags chips, really. They are extremely small buggers about the size of a grain of rice or even smaller than that and have been in general use since at least the early 2000s for what is blandly styled Automatic Identification and Data Capture. Which means that wherever the chipped item, animal or person is or has been or is going can be kept track of automatically and in perpetuity.
The chips are activated by scanners and so dont need an internal power source, such as a battery which would eventually die. The chip can therefore remain active or rather, capable of activation (and tracking) for years, possibly decades.
Ostensibly, they are used for inventory tracking.
Thats not the objectionable part. A tire manufacturer has every right to keep track of its tires while they are in the warehouse, or on their way from the warehouse to the retailer and while they are on the retailers shelves. Because at this point, the tires are still the property of the tire company, or the retailer.
But once you buy the tires, they become your property at which point the manufacturer of the tire (and the retailer who sold you the tire) loses all rights to the tire, including the right to track the tire, or use the tire to track you.
At the moment of purchase of transfer of ownership the RFID chip in the tires ought to be rendered automatically inert, so they can no longer be used to keep track of your tires. Or your comings and goings. Unless you specifically agree otherwise.
But the tire companies and this includes almost all of the major players (more here) such as Michelin, Continental, Cooper, Bridgestone and Pirelli are not even letting their customers know the tires they just bought are chipped, much less offering to zap the chips before the car leaves the shop.
This isnt inventory control.
It is control.
Which is why they dont tell you about the chips much less offer to zap them into inertness. There is so much data to be captured, you see.
The data being collected and sold is currently worth an estimated $8-9 billion, on track to double by 2026. It is of great value to various interested parties to know your driving habits.
The insurance mafia, for instance.
Chipped tires could work (and perhaps already do work) as a way to keep the mafia informed of the miles you drive, as well as when, where and how those miles are accumulated the better to profile you. Presumably, the chipped tires could also transmit data about speed as well. All sorts of things.
But its not just the insurance mafia (more about them here).
Knowing your habits, where you go and when as well as how long you stay and where you stay also makes targeting you with ads and offers tailored to your habits and inclinations that much more effective, that much more profitable. Think Minority Report, the dystopian (but accurately predictive) 2002 Tom Cruise movie, based on the novel by sci-fi author Phillip K. Dick. Wherever you go, the ads follow you are tailored to you.
And were not being cut in for so much as free cup of coffee the next time we buy a set of tires.
And thats the rub or at least, one of them.
RFID technology like any technology isnt evil in se. It is how its used that makes it evil. Those who use it against us without our knowledge and consent are evil in the same general way that a person who uses a gun to rob people is evil. In the same way that person who cheats or embezzles money is evil.