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VeriChip Implants 222 People With RFID 306

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-trust-my-ass-chip-to-linux dept.
cnet-declan writes "Anyone remember VeriChip, a company that came up with the idea of implanting chips in humans for tracking them? They've been behind ideas like RFID tagging immigrant and guest workers at the border, and they've persuaded a former Bush Health Secretary to get himself chipped. In this CNET News.com article, we offer an update on how successful the idea has been. It turns out that, according to IPO documents, 222 people have been implanted, with sales revenue of $100,000."
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VeriChip Implants 222 People With RFID

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  • I'd do it (Score:5, Funny)

    by 2.7182 (819680) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @10:45AM (#18012126)
    but I'd hate to have to eventually pull that glowing red ball through my nose just to get to Mars.
    • 666? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Cpt_Kirks (37296) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @10:58AM (#18012326)
      Hey, if they triple the number of implanted, they will be spot on!
      • Re:666? (Score:5, Funny)

        by SNR monkey (1021747) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:10AM (#18012528)
        Think about this... They implanted 222 people with chips. 222 is three twos, which would could write as 32. Thirty-two, as everyone one knows, is twenty-three backwards. The number 23 is everywhere!
      • by MarkGriz (520778)
        "Hey, if they triple the number of implanted, they will be spot on!"

        Great news. I just read that the number of people implanted with RFID has tripled in the last 6 months.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Mizled (1000175)

      but I'd hate to have to eventually pull that glowing red ball through my nose just to get to Mars.

      No need you can just put a wet towel over your head for now... >.>

    • The best place to put this chip: the forearm. It's worked well for identification purposes before, and considering that ultimately it'll be used for the same reasons now, there's no real reason to put it anywhere else.

      Maybe also couple it with a fashion accessory - like a pattern on the chest of various pieces of clothing, consisting of two intertwined triangles, lighted in yellow LEDs, when a person with a certain boolean tag in their chip puts it on.
  • Fancy that (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vengeance (46019) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @10:45AM (#18012136)
    People aren't lining up around the block to have uniquely identifiable bits of technology inserted into 'em? How come?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sokoban (142301)
      I don't know. They've sold 222 so far for about $100,000. That's nearly $500 per person. I guess people who are getting this done are willing to pay out the nose for it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They already carry cellphones, so they neededn't do that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by SevenHands (984677)
        Kind of off topic, or maybe not. I couldn't help notice that a tracking feature is contained within the last two cell phones I've uesd. A feature called "assisted GPS" seems to mysteriously and unobtrusively be enabled by default from the factory. From what I understand, this location tracking feature is in addition to tracking one's location via cell tower triangulation.

        Scary thing about this is that the vast majority of the people I talk to do not even know this feature is available, less enabled by de
    • Re:Fancy that (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kabocox (199019) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:18AM (#18012608)
      People aren't lining up around the block to have uniquely identifiable bits of technology inserted into 'em? How come?

      Cause God beat the government to it. ;) We don't need another unique identifier. We have DNA, fingerprintes, footprints, retina scans, facial thermal imaging scans, picture photos, and voice scans. We've used race, sex, hair color, eye color, height, and wieght when searching for criminals or posting limited ID traits on DLs. Do we really need more? I could see family, friends, schools, religions, employeers, and community clubs (Greenpeace or NRA) wanting to track "their" members, employees, family, or those involved with that religion. I think it's funny. We don't know if God exists so we are going to build a system that can tell where everyone is at any given time because that's one of the things only God was suppposed to be able to do and then worship it. I have no religious reason to object to anyone trying to track or control others that's the fundamental thing that God, governments, and humans generally try to do (control those that don't have the power to stop them.) I'm fairly certain that privacy will become a myth within my lifetime and most people won't even notice its gone.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jez9999 (618189)
        We have DNA, fingerprintes, footprints, retina scans, facial thermal imaging scans, picture photos, and voice scans. We've used race, sex, hair color, eye color, height, and wieght when searching for criminals or posting limited ID traits on DLs.

        Well, that's one hella unwieldy composite primary key, and still not guaranteed to be 100% unique! Actually, that would apply were it not for DNA, which I think probably is primary key-like in humans.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Greyfox (87712)
          Except in Kentucky where, as Carlos Mencia points out, they all have the same DNA.
    • by mikael (484)
      Because here in the UK at least, people are busy voting against having uniquely identifiable bits of technology inserted in their cars [pm.gov.uk]. At the time of this article submission, 1,422,143 signatures have been signed opposing the proposed tracking and taxing of car journeys.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by m0rph3us0 (549631)
        Like a VIN number?
        C
        What is the point of complaining about that once you've blanketed the country in CCCP... er.. CCTV?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Can't you just defeat these implants like you can the RFID chips in the US passports...with a hammer? Heck, if they implant them in the thumb, most "weekend carpenters" will disable them without even knowing.

  • I would leave FAST (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VEGETA_GT (255721) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @10:48AM (#18012184)
    if they tried to put one of those in me. I am a Canadian, and am working under contract in the US. but lets say they make it so all workers like me in a few years are required to have these flags, I can tell you now I would be going back to Canada fast. to me its a complete violation of my rights, and I well not stand for it and no one else should. Where I am is my business, and no one else's.
    • by Lord Ender (156273) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:35AM (#18012880) Homepage
      Can someone please explain to me how this is a violation of privacy? I'm seriously curious.

      The medical benefits of EMTs being able to instantly know a person's blood type, allergies, and medical history are obvious.

      What isn't obvious is why people think short-range RFID is the same as battery-powered wild animal tracking collars. Are they just stupid? Look at the way RFID works. A person CAN NOT use it to track someone as they walk around a city. A device capable of generating the power to operate these over more than a very short distance would be very obvious to spot and would probably break every PDA and wrist-watch in the area. Also, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to survey a large number of RFID devices at the same time because of the way collisions are handled.

      If you are afraid of this yet you carry a cellphone, you are a hypocrite. For practical purposes, small* RFID tags are a slightly-longer-range barcode.

      *I realize that large tags can be read from greater distances. But that's not what we are talking about here.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fishbowl (7759)

        >The medical benefits of EMTs being able to instantly know a person's blood type, allergies, and medical history are obvious.

        Can a person with an RFID implant get an MRI?
      • by evilviper (135110) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:40PM (#18013836) Journal

        The medical benefits of EMTs being able to instantly know a person's blood type, allergies, and medical history are obvious.

        Then get a medical bracelet with a barcode. They can read it just as easily, but you'd KNOW if someone was reading it. RFID circumvents physical security constraints.

        A person CAN NOT use it to track someone as they walk around a city.

        A person can't. A large company or government could. Quite easily, in fact.

        A device capable of generating the power to operate these over more than a very short distance would be very obvious to spot

        You can "spot" anything. That doesn't mean you have any way of knowing that street light you're walking by actually has a built-in RFID reader.

        If you are afraid of this yet you carry a cellphone, you are a hypocrite.

        I could almost agree with that (I don't have a cell phone), except for the fact that cell phones can be disabled at will, left at home, given to someone else, etc. Cell phones are a big privacy issue, but implanted RFID takes it to a whole new level.
        • A person can't. A large company or government could. Quite easily, in fact.

          I'm just going to call BS on that. It doesn't matter how much funding big-scary-government has. It can't violate the basic laws of physics. These tags are SMALL. They have to be hit with a magnetic flux powerful enough to induce a current in their tiny coils powerful enough to transmit a radio signal which can be picked up at a significant distance.

          It can also be easily jammed / spoofed.

          It would be cheaper and more reliable just to h

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by barik (160226)
        I'd to love to use this if I were a human resources or hiring manager. Hey, we can't ask directly whether or not the potential candidate has a medical condition, but thanks to this chip, we can silenty dismiss these canditates cheaply and effectively without any legal ramifications. Just stick the RFID scanning device under the table during the interview and you're good to go! Thank you government!
        • we can silenty dismiss these canditates cheaply and effectively without any legal ramifications.

          Your ignorance is stunning. There certainly are legal ramifications for violating HIPAA and other laws.

          Also, how do you plan to gain access to the medical history database? You won't be able to do so legally...
    • by Ozwald (83516)
      Ditto on all counts.

      What's funny is that in the end this is all about feeding the American fear with easy short term patches. Soon only the immigrants who mean no harm will accept it while the red necks and terrorist continue to blow shit up. At least according to the article it's acquired Canadian companies supplying the hardware so we should feel a little better.

      Ps... as a Canadian, you probably have in your memory the process of getting your passport and remember how difficult it was. Just for shits a
  • by Hrodvitnir (101283) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @10:48AM (#18012192)
    However, sales will skyrocket as soon as the RFID chip is required to vote on American Idol.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @10:48AM (#18012194)
    When it becomes part of the hardware required to run Vista. That way, a generation of PCs later, everyone will need an implanted RFID chip.
    • by dan828 (753380)
      Na, it'll be required for the next version of windows when it's released. So we have nothing to worry about.
    • When it becomes part of the hardware required to run Vista.

      I think we're safe. Vista will never have the required drivers. ;)

    • by Pichu0102 (916292)
      Why would everyone need a chip to run something they won't use?
  • by coren2000 (788204) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @10:57AM (#18012300) Journal
    Where do they put said chip? The forehead or the back of the hand?
  • People please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @10:57AM (#18012302)
    We need to stand united against this. No matter what, don't allow yourself to be implanted.

    I'm really scared about this. The most scary part is that 222 people actually paid to have this done to themselves. What were they thinking? Can they really be that stupid?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      YES
    • by peragrin (659227)
      actually i can see a use for this tracking technology. Think a military complex. Not only does one have an ID card, but in order to access a secured area they have to have the RFID chip.

      With additional sensors placed through out a complex, tracking one person would be easier. Though not fool proof. a dedicated attacker would still get by it would be harder.

      I don't see the point of having these things in the general population though. or even for Foreigners. heck even tracking inventory by them isn't tha
    • Do you carry a cell phone?

      Then you are both a hypocrite and and idiot.

      It would be MUCH easier and cheaper to just follow you around the city than to put ultra-high powered RFID readers on every corner.
      • by k_187 (61692)
        yeah, but they want to track everybody man. EVERYBODY. They're not your big brother or MY big brother. They're OUR big brother, man.

        Yeah, I can't pull off ultra-paranoid very well. What all these conspiracy theorists never consider, is that if they wanted to track you, they could do it now.
      • by JustNiz (692889)
        The difference is that I can choose to turn off my phone or leave it at home.

        Also the chances that the government will require your cellphone to prove your ID, or make carrying a cellphone at all times obligatory is a lot less likely than them making RFID implants compulsory.
  • Excellent! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:01AM (#18012368)
    Excellent, We've hit 1/3 of our goal!
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:01AM (#18012370)
    Osama Bin Laden
    Secret Mountain Stronghold
    Durkadurkastan


    You are a winner!

    Congratulations Mr Bin Laden your name was selected from millions of entrants. However our couriers are having some difficulty in locating you so we are providing you with a bright new shiny RFID tag and tag injection device. Simply swab a spot on your arm (we dont want you getting an infection now do we), press the injection device against your arm and pull the trigger. Yes, its that simple! Shortly thereafter the light and sound extravaganza we have prepared for you will begin when the courier drops in your thermonuclear prize!


    Yours etc.
    G. W. Bush
  • No ID tag? Soon enough my neighbor may be mistaken for a runaway dachshund - Go get'm boy.
  • Solution (Score:5, Funny)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:12AM (#18012542)
    I read somewhere that if you want to defeat this scheme, you just need to microwave the person for like, 2 minutes tops.
    • by e4g4 (533831)
      Actually, the only way to defeat this scheme is to dress from head to toe in nice, shiny tinfoil.....and we thought RFID-enabled credit cards were hard to protect...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AmberBlackCat (829689)
      The part they left out is you have to make sure the person is wet before heating, or you might damage your microwave.
  • What the hell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by el_womble (779715) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:19AM (#18012618) Homepage
    What the hell is wrong with some people? Who, outside of crazy, Nazi scientists and ralieans thinks its a good idea to voluntarily put a chip in a persons body for no good reason. The few people who this might help, the few who are randomly incapacitated by illness have several, better alternatives: bracelets, id cards and if you want to get medievil tattooing themselves. A better alternative would be to place the chip in body jewelery. At least then, you can remove it.

    Why would you do this to yourself, and perhaps more importantly why would you invest millions in R&D? The only way this system would work on a national level was if it was mandated by government. If that happens its time to start the revolution and get in line at the gun shop not the chip shop.
    • >>
      Who, outside of crazy, Nazi scientists and ralieans thinks its a good idea to voluntarily put a chip in a persons body for no good reason.
      >>

      Lets say I have a condition requiring a medic alert bracelet. I don't know, lethal allergy to eggs, perhaps (causes complications with all kinds of medicines cultured on egg yolk these days). I could quite rationally say "Chip me, doc" on Feb 14th, 2007 so that I don't have to take the risk that on April 18th, 2027 I leave my medic alert bracelet (or ID
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sqrt(2) (786011)
      These chips are one of those technologies that would serve an amazing purpose to better humanity as as whole if it were not for the inherent flaw that they would used by a species that is inherently flawed. Imagine being able to tell instantly what medication a patient is on, their complete medical history, drug allergies, and conditions. That information could save lives. Or imagine never seeing another story of a missing/abducted child in the news. Less important things to, you could pay for goods simply
    • by revery (456516)
      ah, but the next generation of "smart" guns will only fire for people with chips...

      You didn't think you had a right to bear... [whistles nervously] own a gun, did you?
    • Well the technology behind this is sound and valid.

      Most people that develop stuff like this dont have to wrestle with the morality of using the devices, or how they can easily be abused.

      Get in line at the gun shop for the next revolution? Better do it quick, if you havent noticed the government is attacking that industry to remove it from the face of the earth.
    • by kabocox (199019)
      Why would you do this to yourself, and perhaps more importantly why would you invest millions in R&D?

      Um, a unique ID chip that can communicate via RF to a reader is really useless to me. Now, if they were able to thrown in 4-8 GB storage, GPS tracking, and lots of medical monitoring then I might think about it. (Actually, you are right that bracelets or maybe watches would be better. It's far easier to change though also to loose.) I have a routine of when I get home taking my watch, wallet, and a few
      • by YGingras (605709)

        I'm curious when the first GPS tracking watches/braclets for kids are out with a web tool that easily lets parents know where their kids have been/are. That'll sell.

        That would be so trivial to defeat that I don't see the point. You just stash the watch in the place where you are supposed to be and you are free. You think about bio-monitoring? Just elect a watch nanny who will put on the watches for the others while they go out. Each person in the gang take its turn as the watch nanny.

    • by c6gunner (950153)
      It makes sense to research this technology, since it could definitely have useful applications. For instance, a good argument could be made for chipping all felons for the duration of their probationary period. It would let you cut down on parole officers, would discourage re-offending, and would make re-incarcerating violates much easier.

      Other uses: chipping soldiers involved in combat (dogtag replacement), young children for safety, animals for tracking, etc. There are plenty of legitimate uses for thi
  • by navygeek (1044768) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:22AM (#18012666)
    I can replace those RFID's for the fraction of the cost - with the same basic outcome.

    Ladies (yeah, there are so many here) and gentlegeeks, I give you....

    The dog collar and leash!

    Already made fashionable by Goths and kinksters the world over - these handsome and/or lovely accessories come in a variety of shapes and colors to fit every occasion. Great for keeping track of guest workers, immigrants, and wandering children.
  • 1)Find a few people who've been tagged and experiment w/ this RFID tagging system.
    2)Develop 3rd party hardware and a web application that integrates w/ the google maps api to pin-point where such a person is.
    3)Create a web page called Tommy Thompson Watch that shows exactly where in the world Tommy Thompson is at any given minute! At the very least, Tommy's wife might use the site. Hell, I would... Tommy's a sexy for an old man.
    • by Sancho (17056) *
      RFID doesn't work like that unless there are receivers all over the place to send you that information. Or maybe you were just making a joke.
  • Upgrades (Score:3, Interesting)

    by boyfaceddog (788041) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:33AM (#18012860) Journal
    What happens when Microsoft gets into the RFID reading business? The standards in place today will be meaningless. The people with the "fist generation" RFID chips will have to have those removed and upgraded. I can see people with two, three or even four different RFID chips in their arms, legs, foreheads just to make sure all of their info is readable by whoever wants it.

    Have we learned nothing from 20 years of consumer electronic devices?
  • Wasn't something like this done in Jurassic Park? It was proven ineffective as all of the tagged and monitored dinosaurs were accounted for. Too bad there were others that were not tagged. Untagged or unchipped terrorists would be the ones to lookout for. Although I'm more worried about chippers than the chippees.
  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:51AM (#18013152)

    "During the war, I was in my world's warrior class. We saved each other's lives a dozen times over."

    "Commendable! But what does that have to do with..."

    "With nanotechnology? Glad you asked! You've heard of it, haven't you? Machines too small for the human eye to see? You can even shield them, make them invisible to electronic detection. Like the one you just swallowed in that drink. I imagine it's firmly latched on to your intestinal tract by now."

    "What??!"

    "Oh, it's nothing harmful, Ambassador! It's a location transmitter."

    [He points a pen-like device at him and presses a button. A light flashes and it emits a "beep-beep".]

    "See? It should dissolve in about... five years. But until then, Ambassador, my friends in my warrior caste have this frequency. And if anything should happen to [this place], they have instructions to track down that transmitter and... well, why spoil the surprise?"

    "This is an outrage!"

    "This is insurance. What you do here is your own business. You can scheme, and plan, and play all the games you want, but get this straight. If you ever endanger this [place] again, my people will find you. And the results will be most unpleasant."

    "I'd say he took that pretty well. Think they'll ever find that transmitter you slipped [him]?"

    "No... because there isn't one."

    "There isn't? Wait --"

    "I lied. I figured if there were a transmitter, sooner or later they'd find it and remove it. But if I just told them there was, they'd keep looking! Indefinitely!"

    "Commander, do you have any idea of the tests they'll put him through, the things they'll do to him trying to find a transmitter that's not there?"

    "Yes."
  • by DoubleEdd (178052) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:52AM (#18013170)
    People have asked why it's not better to just have a bracelet, ID in your wallet, or whatever. Here's why I'd like one so that a paramedic or whoever can get the info they need about me.

    Two reasons:
    1) I cannot leave home without it. I can't go anywhere without it, and as importantly, I can go anywhere with it. I can go to the pool and if I have some medical emergency it won't matter that my wallet is in the locker or whatever. If you're a parent, your kid can't choose to leave it behind (and if you're wondering why they might want to leave their ID behind see point 2)
    2) It actually preserves your privacy. Sure, someone with an RFID scanner might spot get some serial ID number, but without access to a corresponding database they don't get my medical info. There are tracking issues, but they're minor. On the other hand, anyone who sees I've got some bracelet on immediately knows I have some medical condition, and they don't need to be scanning for RFID to tell that.

    The sooner some of us have the option to get these the better.

    • by geekoid (135745)
      You are assuming that your rfid number stay private. Since you will only bhave one, and every database will need it, it won't stay private for long. See SSN.
    • 1) Yeah, that's great for you. It's so convient that they might just wanna make it mandatory. Imagine! People everywhere can easily be tracked. RFID scanners in business doorways, kwik-e-mart counters, park benches, wherever! But hmm, gee, that guy over there isn't registering.... What is HE hiding? Better drag him down to the station and chip his ass.

      Part 2 in regards to your kids, I'm sure they'd just LOVE that. Forget about building trust and a solid relationship with your children, just chip them
  • by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:57AM (#18013250) Homepage
    I think this is a grand idea. However, instead of using it for guest workers, we make it tied to the activation of iPods. Then everyone will get 'em!
  • I have to wonder if implantable RFID could survive the intense magnetic and RF conditions inside of an MRI unit. The RF energy is sufficient to cause heating of tattoos in some cases, and RFID chips are basically tiny antennas, if I understand how they operate. Not only could these units destroy said chips, but localized heating from the RF absorption could cause some serious internal burns--especially if they're implanted deep or near to important organs.

    The obvious next question is to ask how well thes
  • I don't really have a problem with a permanent identification system. It would solve a lot of problems, mostly with our rediculously antiquated medical administration system. I cannot see why, in 2007, we are so reliant on dead trees to store our medical information and trust to verify a person's identity. Not to mention the problems that could be avoided if emergency room doctors could see an unknown person's medical history and allergies.

    My problem with RFID is that it's permanent and easily read illicit

  • by lifebouy (115193)
    Just let me know when you get to number 666.
    I just thought of a jingle for Verichip:

    If you're evil and you know it get a chip.
    If you're evil and you know it get a chip.
    If you're evil and you know it,
    Get the Mark so you can show it:
    If you're evil and you know it get a chip.
  • I am really friggin against this RFID tagging of people, but I would not be surprised in the least if RFID tagging were to replace dog tags in the military.

    I also could see certain companies mandating RFID tagging for their employees. "Sure, we'd love to have you! Naturally there is the mandatory drug screen and chip implant :-)"

    I don't really see the government doing this to all US residents, but it probably will be done to armed forces, likely some government agencies, and I'm certain some private com
  • Its getting real hot here - they chipped Ensign Robert !
  • by Miamicanes (730264) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @02:25PM (#18015104)
    A few problems with implanted IDs:

    * They have to be removed prior to a MRI. Otherwise, some Very Bad Things(tm) will happen to both the implant and the tissue surrounding it.

    * If they're implanted into an extremity (like a finger) to minimize MRI problems, you create problem #2: thieves using gruesomely low-tech means to obtain those implants and use them before you can have them deactivated. Think: mugger with bolt cutters and gun who wants your index finger RIGHT NOW.

    * Current ID-broadcasting implants could EASILY be spoofed by organized crime with minimal resources in the near future (if not today). So within a few years (I'd say 5, 10 max) current chips will become totally useless for cash-free transactions (subway fares, vending machines, etc). And if they implement two-factor authentication (like implant + PIN), you've just negated most of the convenience the implant is supposed to provide. Challenge-response is a possibility, but that throws a monkey wrench into the whole idea of an open standard anyone can use because THEN you need to involve a third-party both you and the seller trust to perform the authentication... and collect a few cents from you while they're at it.

    Here's a better idea: get 3M to spin off a line of NexCare bandages with embedded RFID chips. Or embed it in your wedding ring or watch. Or superglue it to a toenail (or fingernail, if you want to make a geeky fashion statement).

    The point is, having something embedded that's almost guaranteed to be technologically obsolete within a decade anyway -- and can cause random grief with things like MRIs in the meantime -- is just silly. You can achieve 99% of the convenience with bandages, superglue, or clothing accessories.

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