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Registered: Jun 2012
[hide]1 What it means for you and why you should be concerned. 1.1 Implanted RFID chip?
2 How is this technology currently being used?
3 New development in RFID technology
4 The possible benefits do look attractive
5 Here are some of the biggest issues with the VeriChip
6 Can I be tracked without an implanted RFID chip?
What it means for you and why you should be concerned.
RFID is an acronym for Radio Frequency Identification, a technology that allows information to be stored on a chip and read when scanned at the correct frequency. The chip itself is currently a passive device, as in it does not broadcast it’s signal, think of it as being like a more sophisticated barcode. Upon scanning, its unique code will be read and matched to the appropriate file in a database where the details of the tagged object will be stored. This technology has been used for some years in the shipping and logistics industry due to its accuracy and efficiency. RFID has the advantage over barcode because there is no need for a “line of sight” laser to read the code.
A pallet of stock going from a supplier to a store for example, need only pass through a sensor gate to have all the units in the order counted, verified and added to the inventory, which in turn helps reduce human error and theft. In the near future, this efficiency will continue to the point of sale, the items would no longer need laser scanning and an RFID sensor at the counter of a supermarket for example, will automatically detect the items in a trolley with no need to unpack and repack your purchase. In the future, payment would be easy too, all you have to do is walk through the scanner and it will read your implanted RFID chip and automatically deduct the money from your account!
Implanted RFID chip?
Yes that’s right, human implantable RFID chips, if you think it sounds unrealistic and too crazy for anyone to actually do, you might want to keep reading. RFID implants are not some far out idea in science fiction, they are in use NOW. The leading and currently only FDA approved human implant chip is the VeriChip developed by VeriChip Corporation, as you can see from the pictures it is very small, only a little larger than a grain of rice. The chip contains a 16 digit code which corresponds to a file in a database where all of your personal information will be stored. The current version of the chip is a close range type, requiring the scanner to be within around 1.5 feet (50cm) to be able to read. There are other chips with greater range not used as implants - more on those later in the article.
Implantation of the device is an outpatient procedure and will only take about 15 minutes, the hand is the usual site but other parts of the arm are also common such as the bicep or triceps. The hand is most common as interaction with RFID locked doors or point of sale would be difficult with the upper arm implant. The chip is covered in glass and a special plastic coating that bonds to your flesh to stop it migrating around your body.
You might be curious to know how many people actually have the VeriChip at the moment, VeriChip Corporation state the number to be around 500 Americans and “several thousand” worldwide, most of the chipped people being employees of VeriChip Corporation or those people involved in testing.
How is this technology currently being used?
VeriChip is the method through which VeriMed Health Link System functions. VeriMed is the database for the medical records attached to your chip. Once scanned, your entire medical history will be available upon admittance to hospital and be made available to doctors. A good side of this is that if you are unable to communicate or have particular details or medications a doctor would need to know about before treating you, they would have all the information regarding your medical history which would help reduce mis-diagnosis and mis-medication. This is effectively the first method of getting people used to the idea of having an implanted chip.
There is now a TV campaign started for the implanted VeriChip under the name “Health Link”. As expected, the ad is focussed on medical security and that you should get the chip as a matter of piece of mind. The ad itself displays typical persuasive techniques in that all the actors are shown either close shot or from a high camera angle, smiling and nodding while holding the chip between their fingers toward the camera. The actors are a typical cross-section of stereotyped American citizens and there’s even a slight waver in the voice of the narrator to add a degree of emotion, particularly in the last sentence, conveying a feeling of sadness and urgency. The ad is posted here for you to see and truthexposed.com will continue to post more ads as they are released.
It’s not hard to see that a way to push people into getting the chip would be to offer discounted medical insurance to those get chipped, what will happen though is that in the future, medical insurance providers will require that you have an RFID chip implanted as part of your insurance contract.
New development in RFID technology
VeriChip stocks soared to triple their value as they have now secured the patents for the technology that will allow VeriChip to develop a Virus Triage Detection System. Scott R. Silverman, Chairman and CEO of VeriChip, said,
"In a short period of time following our announcement earlier this month that VeriChip has agreed to acquire Steel Vault Corp. and form PositiveID Corp., we have been intently focused on maximizing our product portfolio and relationships in order to bring identification technologies and tools for consumers and businesses to market. Our strong balance sheet immediately positions us to invest in our partnership with Receptors and we believe that receiving the exclusive license as it relates to this application of the '364 and '076 patents, which are the foundation of the virus triage detection system being developed with Receptors, is a key step in the evolution of PositiveID."
Receptors is a private company based in Chaska, Minnesota. The company’s basic outline is to develop and advance technology in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases using artificial receptors for research and industry. VeriChip and Receptors are now in Phase 2 of developing a glucose sensing chip which will be used by diabetics to determine blood sugar levels without the need to draw blood.
PositiveID Corporation is effectively the final incarnation of the company merger. PositiveID will the first company to address the issue of online security when it comes to electronic health records.
VeriChip has announced its plans to fund its existing partnership with Receptors to develop the Virus Triage Detection System for the H1N1 virus. The companies have published a white paper entitled, "An Integrated Sensor System for the Detection of Bio-Threats from Pandemics to Emerging Diseases to Bioterrorism" This will turn the chip into a device that will give the owners of the technology even more information about you than you know yourself!
The triage chip will also be developed to recognize whether you have been vaccinated against diseases as well, you may have seen Greece make the news recently, being one of the first countries to mandate H1N1 vaccination of all 12 million citizens. The Triage Chip would make the escape of mandatory vaccinations virtually impossible, a government would know if there were any who had escaped vaccination, be able to locate them and freeze accounts and restrict travel, eventually forcing them to comply.
As for the marketing of the Triage VeriChip, it will no doubt be very convincing that the technology is secure and safe for everybody with an almost endless list of benefits. From a marketing perspective, the Triage VeriChip would be a very easy product to promote.
The possible benefits do look attractive
Automatically detect a virus or bacteria in your blood.
Diagnosis of viral or bacterial condition early means more effective treatment.
Modification to detect blood alcohol, too drunk to drive? Your RFID car knows about it.
Car theft? Assign drivers RFID to the car RFID! No match? No ride!
Chip readers at the school gates, now you know if any kids are skipping classes!
Need the extra security for those private documents on your computer? Activate the RFID security and it will only work when you’re near it!
Although there are some positive reasons for getting the chip, there is a list of negatives too. Some of these reasons alone are enough to cause serious concern, never-mind being in a list with others.
Here are some of the biggest issues with the VeriChip
Your interaction in society will eventually depend on the chip Should the chip reach mainstream implementation, your participation in society will depend on interactions with the chip, as mentioned before, all banking transactions and identification processes will eventually use RFID technology. If for any reason your chip is deactivated or there is malfunction, simple interactions in society will become very difficult. You do not control the data assigned to your chip. The existence of a database linked to your chip means any interaction will be recorded to it. Banking transactions, any product you buy and any public building you enter will be logged to your file. You do not know who owns the data. VeriChip Corporation is exactly that, a corporation. You have no control as to who ultimately owns the data or in what fashion it will be used or sold. There are currently NO regulations regarding the limit of information gathered. No policy has been issued that limits the collection of data for RFID chips of any kind, much in the same way that every website you visit, every text message you send, every call you make and every trip made with a GPS unit is logged and stored in a database file with your name on it, the same will go for RFID. Security of the data / chip cloning. VeriChip admits the insecurity of the chip. Anyone with a reader at the proper frequency will be able to read the code on the chip, therefore making cloning the chip possible. Your consent is not needed for the chip to be scanned, anyone with the appropriate scanner within a few feet of range can read your chip. Test results in labs have shown cancers in rats at implant site. The results of three studies in the USA and Europe have shown an increased risk of cancer ranging from 1 to 10 percent in rodents that received the chip. VeriChip disputes the findings, noting that the VeriMed Patient Identification System has been cleared by the FDA and that neither the article nor the research cited suggest a link between cancer in humans and microchip implants. "As the article states, research protocol guidelines clearly indicate that making such a link from mice to humans is a very big leap," the company maintains.
There are many people who are opposed to the chip for many of the reasons mentioned here, ramifications of this technology being misused are overwhelming. VeriChip have stated that they cannot guarantee the availability of the database at all times which leads us to more questions; What happens if the database goes down? What happens if there are data corruptions? What happens in the event of chip cloning?
Can I be tracked without an implanted RFID chip?
You sure can, after 9/11, the American government requested that every country in the world modify its passport to include an RFID chip. You can find the chip easily enough, it’s a thicker page made from plastic with warnings on it not to break it or get it wet. Your personal data is stored in a database and is used for identity verification at the airport. There is another chip entering full implementation in the USA, every drivers license will contain a “Gen 2 EPC RFID Chip”. This chip is like most other RFIDs with the main difference being that the chip can be read from a much greater distance and more easily. The range is around 6 meters, making scanning a group of people from a distance possible. Let’s say you attend an RFID protest, an undercover agent could walk through the crowd of people and be able to compile a list of all individuals in attendance and create a database of those opposed to the technology. As for what happens to the data after that, could it be sold to VeriChip? Sold to data mining companies like Acxiom or Choice Point? Sold to the government? Who knows?
As you can see, there are some benefits to the technology but there are many issues to consider as previously stated. One would hope that the use of this technology is purely the choice of the individual and that there would be no regulations or laws passed forcing anyone to have an implanted chip. This was supposed to be the case with vaccination but as we see in the news, there need only be a threat (be it real or false *cough swine-flu cough*) believed to be severe enough for governments to force new laws on people in the name of “national security” or “the war on terror”.
The implementation of RFID in society will no doubt be a slow one, but eventually it will be difficult to carry out certain actions without it. You don’t have to make it mandatory that everyone has an RFID chip, you just make it difficult for those who don’t.
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