As if it wasn't already hard enough to find open power outlets in coffee shops or airports, Sony is now developing the next generation of "smart" outlets that will withhold electricity until you authenticate yourself or pay some money. Yay for progress.
Sony's new power outlet technology would use evil little chips embedded directly in outlets themselves to attempt to authenticate anything plugged into them. Then it'd either bestow or deny that deliciously frothy electron juice accordingly. The authentication signal is passed directly through the plug and powerline itself, and NFC-enabled devices or payment cards can be used to inform the outlet that you've sated its greedy masters with whatever cash they've demanded and to start puking out the amps already.
Sony already has the underlying technology working in Japan for other wireless mobile micro-payments, meaning that adoption into electrical outlets will be all too easy anywhere an infrastructure owner wants to either be a jerk, shake hapless passers-by down for money, or both. I'm going to get all self-righteous and elitist and entitled up in here and say that just like free Internet, free electricity should be a right, not a privilege! Argh, makes me want to stab those smart outlets in the face with a fork.
Although, on second thought, maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea.