Cities across the world are about to enter the next phase of their development. A near invisible network of radio frequency identiﬁcation tags (RFID) is being deployed on almost every type of consumer item. These tiny, traceable chips, which can be scanned wirelessly, are being produced in their billions and are capable of being connected to the internet in an instant. This so-called 'ambient intelligence promises to create a global network of physical objects every bit as pervasive and ubiquitous as the worldwide web itself. Some are already calling this controversial network the 'internet of things.
Van Kranenburg examines what impact RFID, and other systems, will have on our cities and our wider society; while also ruminating on what alternative network technologies could help safeguard our privacy and empower citizens to take power back into their own hands. Its both a timely warning and a call to arms.