• Life imitates art, sort of

One of life’s guilty pleasures is watching reruns of the various iterations of “Law & Order.” Actually, it’s difficult to avoid watching them, given the profusion of versions that have dominated series-TV for lo these many years.

I particularly enjoy seeing unexpected casting decisions. For example, standup comic/TV host/voiceover-artist Bob Saget playing a techno-nerd who poisons the wife of the man who is having an affair with his wife. His character was so obsessed with tracking his wife’s wherabouts he secretly embedded a tiny RFID in her shoulder.

That came to mind when I read that European citizens will be getting a chance to shape policy on the use of RFIDs, sometimes called “smart tags.” RFIDs, which stands for radio frequency identification, are tiny sensors that store data about whatever they’re attached to by linking a piece of computer memory with a radio transmitter. Saget’s character used the device to track his wife’s travels. More commonly, they’re used to track and inventory merchandise, although their use is increasingly found in keeping track of pets.

The European Commission is setting up a group made up of a large cross-section of the population of member nations to discuss how the tags should be used. Some people think they’ll be a common, benign tool in business before long. Others think they may not be confined to “Law & Order” episodes, instead being used secretively by governments to track people.

Whatever they wind up being, it’s a fascinating move when a multi-national organization such as The European Commission opens up the discussion to the public at large. That’s a good use of democracy. It fills me with warm feelings. Or, perhaps that’s because of the forecast for Wednesday, our national Election Day, is for clear skies and mild temperatures as we cast our ballots that will make all our problems go away and bring us tweeting birds, dancing butterflies and sunny skies for ever and ever more.

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About Bill Dowd

Webmaster/social media coordinator for the Southern Rensselaer County NY Rotary Club.

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