Chipped Tires

Chipped Tires by Eric Peters – Eric Peters Autos

TDC Note – Is there no way to get around the surveillance grid?

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Tires are supposed to leave tracks – not track us.

Someone should tell the tire companies. Who aren’t telling us about the tracking devices they’re embedding in the tires they’re 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 don’t 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.

That’s 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 retailer’s 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.

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