Your own personal IP dystopia

With the IPv4 internet addresses running out and the move to IPv6 over the next few years, will this have an effect on our own personal information and freedom?While the move to IPv6 will allow IP starved countries have more addresses, and will support an increase in net security as well as allowing for greater interface interaction, it could also open a Dystopia which would have Orwell salivating at the typewriter.

Forget the furore about ID cards…what if every kid born was given his or her own IP address. Swap a name tag in the labour room with an RFID chip and voila.  It’s perfectly possible with IPv6. “The very large IPv6 address space supports 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses, or approximately 5×1028 (roughly 295) addresses for each of the roughly 6.5 billion (6.5×109) people alive today.[1]52 addresses for every observable star in the known universe[2] – more than seventy nine billion billion billion times as many addresses as IPv4 (232) supports”. Wikipedia

The benefits of being able to interact automatically with all sorts of interfaces could be tremendous. Environmentally we could all have our own trackable carbon footprint perhaps set our electricity use to match with lights coming on and off when we enter rooms, alloting a number of car journeys per week etc. Or perhaps gadgets will be configured to our own preferences – kind of like cloud computing but with the individual becoming the hub and being able to interconnect remotley. Micropayments could be charged to your IP wallet so no need for money or cards, if we find a more secure system than the London Oysercard trails.

Your health could be linked to your IP – exercise regime, bloods, dietary requirements and advice linked to your weeky shop, which would automatically add in a few more leafy greens to the delivered box after a week of partying.

The potential is huge… but for for someone who has an aversion to even signing up for a Tesco card (much to the annoyance of my better half!), the tech utopia outlined certainly has its Dystopian side.

Imagine every car having it’s own IP address. With GPS it’s now trackable constantly. Great for stopping thieves, the insurance companies are no doubt looking into it as I type… but worrying for personal freedom. Our activities are already trackable through our bank cards and mobile phonenetworks… but just think how much more effiecient this collation of data would be if it’s liked to your own personal IP, not to mention Vanillia Sky like ads being triggered as you walked in the canned goods aisle or drove past a billboard.

Yikes!