Aluminum Foil Does Have Its Uses

Bruce Perens blogs a funny/sad incident involving Richard Stallman, WSIS, RFID and, yes, tin foil (well, aluminum foil, actually):

Richard is opposed to RF ID, because of the many privacy violations that are possible. It’s a real problem, and one worth lobbying about. At the 2003 WSIS in Geneva, there was objection to the RF ID cards that were used, resulting in a promise that they would not be used in 2005. That promise, it turns out, was not kept. …

You can’t give Richard a visible RF ID strip without expecting him to protest. Richard acquired an entire roll of aluminum foil and wore his foil-shielded pass prominently. He willingly unwrapped it to go through any of the visible check-points, he simply objected to the potential that people might be reading the RF ID without his knowledge and tracking him around the grounds. This, again, is a legitimate gripe, handled with Richard’s usual highly-visible, guile-less and absolutely un-subtle style of non-violent protest.

During his keynote speech at our panel today, Richard gave a moment’s talk about the RF ID issue, and passed his roll of aluminum foil around the room for others to use. A number of people in the overcrowded-to-the-max standing-room-only meeting room obligingly shielded their own passes. UN Security was in the room, not only to protect us but because of the crowd issue, and was bound to notice. Richard and I delivered our keynotes, followed by shorter talks by the rest of the panel and then open discussion.

… I was busy with the press for two solid hours. So, I didn’t see what happened with Richard. But a whole lot of the people in the room did, and stayed with Richard for the entire process.

Apparently, UN Security would not allow Richard to leave the room.

There’s lots of other funny/sad stuff in the whole post.

Ironically, this comes close on the heels of an MIT study showing that aluminum foil hats don’t actually work to block CIA mind rays but may amplify them.

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One Response to Aluminum Foil Does Have Its Uses

  1. yep… I was there for the hipatia form where this came to a head. i was down in front, sharing my power plug with RMS via a locally reappropriated extension cord. It was probably the first time that RMS and Gilberto Gil have met in person(and apparently GG had scheduling issues and wasn’t appropriatelly scheduled by Hipatia). In any case, it was an interesting set of presentation.

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