High Technology: Friend or Foe, Part 2


Part 2: Bar-Coding & Implanting Humans Is Here

We are inching closer to the day when every person can be monitored and their whereabouts known due to implantable radio frequency identification microchips and global positioning satellite technology (GPS).

Applied Digital Solutions has created and successfully field-tested a prototype of a GPS implant for humans and is hoping Americans can be persuaded to undergo a surgical procedure to embed the device, about the size of a grain of rice, which contains a unique verification number that is captured by briefly passing a proprietary handheld scanner over it.

In addition to the $200 price for the chip, those implanted also pay for the doctor’s fee and a monthly $10 database maintenance charge.

FDA approves chipping
Applied Digital Solutions has coined the tagline, "Get Chipped," to market its product, VeriChip.

Once inserted into a human, the FDA-approved microchip can be tracked by GPS technology and the information relayed wirelessly to the Internet, where an individual’s identity, location and health history can be stored in a database containing the client’s file for future reference.

Despite some concerns about the potential health effects of the device in humans, the FDA ruled that the VeriChip was not a regulated device when used for "security, financial, and personal identification and safety applications."

The VeriChip emits a 125-kilohertz radio frequency signal that transmits its unique ID number to a scanner. The number is then used to access a computer database containing the client’s file. Customers fill out a form detailing the information they want linked to their chip when they undergo the procedure.

In less than 15 minutes, the chip is embedded with local anesthetic, usually in the hip or above the triceps of an arm. Inserted by a thick needle deep under the skin, a half-inch-long microchip inside a glass and silicone cylinder carries, among other information, the person’s permanent identification number – the social security number of the future, some are saying.

Advocates say the financial, security and health care benefits of this VeriChip outweigh the privacy issues. This will allow doctors to call up medical records if a person is unconscious or too injured to answer questions. The chip can also be used as ID to prove to security personnel an individual is not a terrorist, and give the person access to their ATM by showing their arm instead of punching a PIN number.

Critics see this as Orwellian, giving potentially dangerous power to businesses and government.

Nonetheless, RFID tags are already being implanted in convicts, animals, many children and in all government employees of the Mexican government. "Chipping" is done in Mexico in an effort to eliminate corruption and crime, and monitor the activities of the employees.

Local governments in the United States have not yet forced its employees to be "chipped," but some city agencies are tracking employees by other means.

High-tech ID Cards
New York City is issuing high-tech identification cards with microchips, holograms and other hidden security codes to prevent identity theft and to electronically track employee work hours, according to reports by The New York Post.

The state-of-the-art cards will be introduced to the NYPD’s nearly 50,000 cops and civilian employees as a prototype for the rest of the city’s 200,000 work force, officials said.

The centerpiece of the new NYPD card, with the Statue of Liberty on the front, are two microchips. One chip holds vital personal information about the cardholder, from blood type to telephone numbers, and to who to call in case of an emergency. The other memory chip will contain the cardholder’s fingerprints and handprints.

Police officials say the NYPD eventually will install biometric hand scanners to ensure the palm and fingerprints of the person bearing the card matches the data contained in the chip.

Rather than being swiped through a device, the so-called "proximity" cards can be read at a distance by a scanner. The process will allow quicker access to thousands of users, afford tighter control over who is using them, and allow police brass to immediately access the whereabouts and numbers of cops on duty at any time, according to officials.

Teenagers being tracked
Meanwhile across the pond, The Connexions Card – a "smart" card that carries personal data – is being offered to more than two million 16 to 19-year-olds in Europe. Nearly 200,000 already have been issued.

Teenagers are not required to possess the cards, although they may be obliged to if their school or university uses them to record attendance. However, students are encouraged to apply by the prospect of rewards. Holders accumulate points for good work or attendance that can be exchanged for sports shoes, CDs or days off.

Because it displays the date of birth and a photograph, the card is being championed by the government as a proof-of-age card. Although the card has been introduced across the country and a high profile national advertising campaign is planned, the government states that it is voluntary.

Opponents believe such ID cards are being introduced by stealth to convert children, knowing there would be fierce objections to such a card by adults.

Because of 9/11, most people throughout the world, particularly in the United States, are placing concern about their safety above that of their rights to privacy. Whether that continues, only time will tell.

Coming in Part 3: Biocomputers in the brain, and bionic and half-silicon chipped humans.

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Brenda Miller
Brenda Miller is a forecaster and whole-systems design strategist. As a Certified Master Professional Futurist, and Certified Trainer in Emotional Intelligence, she specializes and helps people, businesses, and organizations see, understand, and respond to change so they can creatively design a brighter future. Ms. Miller is President and Chief Global Strategist of New Crotona, a Futures-based consultancy providing services in futures planning, advertising, marketing, business strategies, team building, leadership coaching, and Internet business solutions and website development. Ms. Miller is President of the Minnesota Futurists Association and a Professional Member of the World Futurists. For more information, contact her at (651) 731-4037 or e-mail [email protected], and visit www.NewCrotona.com. Copyright © 2005 Brenda Miller. All rights reserved.


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