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Fish and chips…?

Logo of the anti-RFID campaign by German privacy group FoeBuD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve just finished watching the main Polish news programme of the day, the evening “Wiadomosci” programme on TVP1, which had as its closing story information about how in Poznan there has been a blitz on people who have dogs and haven’t paid their dog tax. Dog tax is a local tax in Poland, some municipalities charge it and some don’t, and there is a degree of freedom as to how much can be charged, and in Poznan that amount is 55 PLN/year, which is about $16 a year. This is more than I can remember from the UK, but dog tax was abolished there many years ago. During my childhood the amount was a good deal less than that, but maybe comparable if you account for inflation.

The question asked, and answered, in the news broadcast, was how the authorities knew where these dog owners were in order to charge them and take them to court for their missing payments of dog tax. The answer is, some time ago the municipality had a free chipping exercise for dogs whereby owners were given a free ID chip so that their dog could be returned to them in the event of loss. This you can have from any vet, by the way, but then it is a paid service. Not thinking that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and taking this inexplicable magnanimity on the part of the City at face value, Poznan citizens queued up and took part in the action and had their free ID chips with their addresses and telephone numbers, which of course were all put in a big database and reported to the City. The news report didn’t go into detail as to whether these people had signed anything which allowed that to happen or whether it was simply an abuse of privacy and a breach of the Data Protection Law, but when has that ever bothered government anyhow? It’s the little man with his business that has to worry about that, and not the governing elites.

Anyway, the next thing they said is that a number of Polish cities which did not have dog tax before are about to introduce it, citing Krakow as an example.  They then also featured a few seconds of a disgruntled dog owner saying how he found it unfair that taxes apply to dogs but not to cats, guinea pigs, or aquarium fishes. I am sure he was about to use the word “”racism” had they only given him time to do it.

That really got me thinking as to how they would know about who had what fishes or guinea pigs, etc. It’s one thing to get pet shop owners and catteries or kennels to report addresses of people who buy new animals, but in fact for the smaller animals people are just as likely to get them from people they know whose rabbits or rats have bred as from a dealer. Also the ID chip is no good for animals which stay in the house. People get their cats chipped, but they wouldn’t get their fish chipped, would they, and would the chips work underwater anyway?

The reason why it stuck in my mind is that it is one concrete example, the first I have come across and probably the first of many such instances, where a government agency has mislead the public about the real purpose of a radio-frequency identification chipping programme. First they want to control and tax the animals, and then before we know where we are it will be our children, and all based on the same arguments that it is for our security.

I don’t know whether the RFID chip is a tag or mark associated with the mark of the beast, as some claim, or not, but even if it’s completely different from what that mark turns out to be, it is a step in the wrong direction, paving the way for worse things to come, and enabling more and more technocratic control over us and our families and animal companions. This is all grist to the mill of the coming pretender world king. Whatever serves to keep us under control and taxed, that’s what serves his rotten purpose.

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