Media Articles Reveal Information on Microchip Implants
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Radio frequency identification keeps tabs on goods, services, pets - even people
May 11, 2006, Sacramento Bee (the leading newspaper of California's capital city)
Feel like you're being followed? Maybe it's a tracking tag on your jeans or one implanted in a credit card. The tags are called radio frequency identification or RFIDs, and every day they are becoming more and more a part of our lifestyle. These Orwellian microchips, as minute as a grain of sand, identify and track products and even lost children at theme parks. They're being implanted in humans to alert hospitals about medical conditions. The tags can be so tiny, you may never know they are there. Retailers claim RFIDs are essential: alerting them when they're low on lipstick, air filters, sodas and other inventory. Embedded tags aren't so obvious. Hitachi Europe recently developed the world's tiniest RFID integrated circuit, small enough to be placed in a piece of paper. Some RFID chips are made to be imbedded in livestock, in pets and most recently in humans for a variety of reasons. RFID prices have dropped, and tagging has become practical for businesses. In-Stat, a high-tech research firm, reports more than 1 billion RFID chips were made last year and predicts that by 2010 the number will increase to 33 billion. Slightly larger than a grain of rice, RFID chips from VeriChip of Florida are manufactured for implanting in humans. The Food and Drug Administration approved human implants two years ago.
US group implants electronic tags in workers
February 13, 2006, MSNBC/Financial Times
An Ohio company has embedded silicon chips in two of its employees - the first known case in which US workers have been "tagged" electronically as a way of identifying them. A private video surveillance company said it was testing the technology as a way of controlling access to a room where it holds security video footage for government agencies and the police. Embedding slivers of silicon in workers is likely to add to the controversy over RFID technology, widely seen as one of the next big growth industries. RFID chips – inexpensive radio transmitters that give off a unique identifying signal – have been implanted in pets or attached to goods so they can be tracked in transit. "There are very serious privacy and civil liberty issues of having people permanently numbered," said Liz McIntyre, who campaigns against the use of identification technology. "There's nothing pulsing or sending out a signal," said Mr Darks, who has had a chip in his own arm. "It's not a GPS chip. My wife can't tell where I am." The technology's defenders say it is acceptable as long as it is not compulsory. But critics say any implanted device could be used to track the "wearer" without their knowledge.
Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans
October 26, 2005, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was. Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car. Japan's top telephone company says it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic. But more sinister applications also come to mind. I can envision it being added to militaries' arsenals of so-called "non-lethal" weapons. A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head – either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved. I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off. The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation – essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance. I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced – mistakenly – that this was the only way to maintain my balance.
Students ordered to wear tracking tags
MSNBC, Feb. 9, 2005
The only grade school in this rural town is requiring students to wear radio frequency identification badges that can track their every move. Some parents are outraged, fearing it will rob their children of privacy. InCom has paid the school several thousand dollars for agreeing to the experiment, and has promised a royalty from each sale if the system takes off, said the company's co-founder, Michael Dobson, who works as a technology specialist in the town's high school.
Microchips Counter Andes
AP/ABC, Feb. 5, 2005 (More news trying to convince us that microchipping is a good thing)
Peruvian alpaca herders are turning to technology to thwart a growing problem of the high Andes Mountains: the smuggling of prize-winning, wool-producing alpacas to neighboring countries. An association of alpaca farmers is surgically implanting microchips into hundreds of alpacas as part of an effort to reduce illegal transport of the animals. A herd of 700 Alpacas had microchips implanted in their neck muscles beneath their ears on Friday in the high plains of Peru near the town of Nunoz, about 540 miles southeast of Lima.
RFID: Getting Under Your Skin?
August 5, 2004, CNN/Fortune
Mexican Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha announced recently that he, several members of his staff, and some 160 employees of a new, $30 million anticrime computer center in Mexico City, had all been implanted with RFID chips. The chips – made by VeriChip, a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions of Delray Beach, Fla. – will help control and track access to the new anticrime center, which houses a centralized database intended to improve Mexico's dismal record of solving crimes. In a country where bribery and corruption are a problem, being able to track precisely who has access to the "delete" key in a criminal database can be quite useful. The U.S. Army has considered implanted RFID chips to forever end the anguish of Unknown Soldiers. Banks have entertained the idea of offering implanted tags to customers as a way to prevent thefts at ATM machines and retail stores. Nursing homes see some advantages in injecting tags in patients with Alzheimer's disease, who might wander or be incoherent. Police have suggested that pairing RFID'd officers with RFID'd handguns would keep the weapons from being used against the owner. So far, however, very legitimate concerns about privacy and ethics, not to mention squeamishness about the implantation process, have kept such applications in the theoretical stage. Well, almost. As the Mexican experience shows, some people are actually volunteering to be tagged.
Technology gets under clubbers' skin
June 9, 2004, CNN
Queuing to get into one nightclub in Spain could soon be a thing of the past for regular customers thanks to a tiny computer chip implanted under their skin. The technology, known as a VeriChip, also means nightclubbers can leave their cash and cards at home and buy drinks using a scanner. The bill can then be paid later. Clubbers who want to join the scheme at Baja Beach Club in Barcelona pay 125 euros for the VeriChip -- about the size of a grain of rice -- to be implanted in their body. Then when they pass through a scanner the chip is activated and it emits a signal containing the individual's number, which is then transmitted to a secure data storage site. The club's director, Conrad Chase, said he began using the VeriChip, made by Applied Digital Solutions, in March 2004 because he needed something similar to a VIP card. He said 10 of the club's regular customers, including himself, have been implanted with the chip, and predicted more would follow. He denied the scheme had any drawbacks. The VeriChip...is made of glass so poses no health risk, Chase said. But Dr. Arun Patel, a general physician in Los Angeles, warned that placing an electronic device inside the body could be problematic. "From a medical standpoint, obviously you worry about radiation with any electronic device," Patel said.
Would a microchip keep your child safe?
December 18, 2003, BBC
Transmitter chips and GPS trackers are devices designed to help to trace a child's whereabouts. But do hi-tech solutions raise more problems than they solve? A month after the bodies of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were found in a remote ditch, a cybernetics professor known for his headline-grabbing stunts came up with a plan to microchip children to prevent them being abducted. Professor Kevin Warwick, of Reading University, convinced the Duval family that a microchip implanted in their 11-year-old daughter Danielle's arm would ease their fears. But 15 months on, Danielle remains unchipped. Professor Warwick says the backlash against the scheme - numerous children's charities came out against the plan - forced him to reconsider. "The opposition to it made me think that ethically, this is something not deemed to be appropriate." Research by nVision, the online database of the think tank Future Foundation, found that 75% of British parents would buy a device to trace their child's movements. Just such a gadget is on sale in the United States - a GPS locator which can be locked onto a child's wrist - and the company, Wherify Wireless, is now eying up the UK market. Then there are concerns about the long-term health effects of such devices, especially microchips transmitting signals from inside young bodies.
A Real Chip On Your Shoulder
July 7, 2003, CBS/Associated Press
A U.S. company launched Thursday in Mexico the sale of microchips that can be implanted under a person's skin and used to confirm everything from health history to identity. The microchips, which went on sale last year in the United States, could tap into a growing industry surrounding Mexico's crime concerns. Kidnappings, robberies and fraud are common here, and Mexicans are constantly looking for ways to stay ahead of criminals. The microchip, the size of a grain of rice, is implanted in the arm or hip and can contain information on everything from a person's blood type to their name. Applied Digital Solutions Inc. introduced reporters to the VeriChip and used a syringe-like device and local anesthetic to implant a sample in the right arm of employee Carlos Altamirano. "It doesn't hurt at all," he said. "The whole process is just painless." Another chip user, Luis Valdez, who is diabetic, said the chip is "as innovative to me as the cell phone." Antonio Aceves, the director of the Mexican company charged with distributing the chip here, said that in the first year of sales, the company hoped to implant chips in 10,000 people and ensure that at least 70 percent of all hospitals had the technology to read the devices. The VeriChip can track subjects who are within 5 miles, but officials want to develop a new chip that can use satellite technology to track people who are farther away and may have been kidnapped.
Microchips: The New Surrogate Parents?
July 29, 2002, Fox News
A bunch of new devices claim to help parents keep an "eye" on their children – even when they're not around. The most controversial of these gadgets is an under-the-skin personal location device from Applied Digital Solutions. Using Global Positioning Satellite technology, a microchip surgically implanted in the body finds children and notifies parents of their whereabouts. Ads says the device, which is the size of a wristwatch-face and may become even smaller, could be used to find kidnapped children, locate young kids who wander away from parents and track teens who participate in at-risk behavior. Cossolotto says VeriChip ($200 plus $9.95 a month), an under-the-skin, tamper-proof method of identifying one person against another, could help prevent kidnappings like the one of Utah teen Elizabeth Smart. Digital Angel ($399 plus $29.95 a month) is a wearable GPS device that indicates when a person has moved beyond certain preset boundaries. The alerts may be sent to cell phones, computers or pagers. "The chip has an alarm button and is hidden from any perpetrators," Cossolotto said. many feel these devices are nothing short of miraculous. "I've gotten over a thousand enthusiastic e-mails about Safe Force; only two complained about Big Brother invasions of privacy," Selditz said. Other parents were more skeptical.
Chipping at the Future
September 23, 1998, ABC News
http://more.abcnews.go.com/sections/world/dailynews/cyborgman.html - (Using Internet Archive)
[Kevin] Warwick, a cybernetics professor, had doctors surgically implant the 3mm-wide, 23mm-long chip above his elbow for a 10-day trial. It allows cyber-communication between the living and the inanimate. As Warwick heads down the main hall, lights turn on. When he turns to the right, an office door unbolts and opens. Each step is clocked and recorded. The building knows who he is, where he is, and what he expects to happen. Warwick predicts chip implants will one day replace time cards, criminal tracking devices, even credit cards. Capable of carrying huge amounts of data, they may, he says, one day be used to identify individuals by Social Security numbers, blood type, even their banking information. Asked if he felt he was part-man, part machine, Warwick said..."I feel mentally different. When I am in the building I feel much more closely connected with the computer. I am not a separate thing. It changed what I feel like mentally which I hadn't expected and which is very strange and a bit scary." As scary –or liberating– as the new technology may be, Professor Warwick has opened a door to the future. Cyborg technology has arrived. It may be only a matter of time before we have to ask ourselves if we are willing to join this new frontier.
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