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Implanted RFID Tag To Replace Cash? 793

Kulic writes "Wired is running a story about using subdermal RFID microchips to pay for goods. Applied Digital Solutions are marketing the VeriChip as the world's only implantable ID technology. CEO Scott Silverman says they could someday replace credit cards, but a final product is a few years away. They are also receiving condemnation from some fundamentalist Christians who believe that this is the fabled 'mark of the beast' of biblical lore." waytoomuchcoffee adds a link to a similar story at CNet.
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Implanted RFID Tag To Replace Cash?

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  • Why not retina scans (Score:2, Interesting)

    by upside ( 574799 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:11AM (#7567542) Journal
    How is this better than biometrics?
  • Speedpass (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rhs98 ( 513802 ) * <> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:13AM (#7567549) Homepage Journal
    Its kinda like the card in HongKong called octopus - Which is used on the MTR and in shops and busses. Its great and a neat idea - you just wave your walet over the reader and thats it.
  • Mark of the Beast ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:13AM (#7567551)

    It does certainly bear similarities to said mark... I seem to recall that one had to had the mark to be able to buy goods.

    Anyway, whether it's the mark of the beast or not, I'm not going to put such a chip on my body.

  • by billmaly ( 212308 ) <bill.maly@mcleod ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:13AM (#7567552)
    Gut reaction here says that someone, somewhere, would setup some means of remotely reading an RFID tag, hacking whatever PW/encryption is on it, and draining bank accounts. I could see it for small transactions, tolls, fast food, gas, etc. but would be leary about this sort of thing for all financial transactions.
  • by ddilling ( 82850 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:16AM (#7567574) Homepage

    I don't know about any "Mark of the Beast" but having a chip that anyone can track, that I can't just set down? Um, yeah. Uncomfortable with that. I think my personal habits are well enough documented by shadowy figures I am unaware of already, thankyouverymuch.

    (Yes, Disney, Best Buy, etc. count as shadowy. Don't you agree?)

  • Religion and Belief (Score:3, Interesting)

    by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:19AM (#7567591) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that religion really brings out the nutcases.

    Because religion is about belief; and being a nutcase is about deranged belief.

    This is not to say that all religious belief is deranged; far from it. But nutcase belief often has something in common with religion. If I hear voices in my head, is it because of my deranged brain chemistry? Or because God is speaking to me? (Answer: God only knows.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:23AM (#7567617)
    My wife used to work there. All this embedded-RFID stuff they are doing (this isn't their first attempt) really gets the loonies worked up. And a lot of the staff is pretty creeped out by it, too, truthfully. The sad part is they ditched several PROFITABLE lines of business to pursue this RFID stuff full-time. The only thing that has been paying off is embedded ID's for pets, and even that isn't doing so hot.
  • by aheath ( 628369 ) * <adam,heath&comcast,net> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:26AM (#7567636)
    An implanted RFID chip is not better than biometrics. It is an alternative to biometrics that has some of the same security concerns as biometrics. There is no reason why a determined thief would prefer to remove an implanted RFID chip instead of removing an eyeball, a finger or a hand.

    I think that any biometric or RFID authentication technology should be combined with a PIN. It's just common sense to combine a secuity token that you posses with a PIN that you must memorize. This doesn't lead to perfect security, but it wraps the physical posession of an authentication token in another layer of security.

    The best argument that I can see for requiring a PIN is the ability to assign a "duress PIN" to users. A duress pin enables the security token holder to signal their distress when they are being forced to use their PIN under duress. For example, if someone held up at gunpoint and forced to use an ATM, they can enter the duress PIN. Use of the duress pin would signal the bank to notify the authorities that a robbery is in progress at a particular location. In a computer security environment, a duress PIN could be used to provide access to a honeypot network instead of the production network.

  • by Fembot ( 442827 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:28AM (#7567655)
    What about people who have more than one credit/debit card?? Will that become an impossible thing of the past?
  • Why? Why?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maradine ( 194191 ) * on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:29AM (#7567664) Homepage
    Why do fundamentalist Christians have a problem with this? Every time one of the prophetic things come to pass, they're like, "my god, the number of the beast! Satan is among us! You cannot do this!!"

    Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Know Your Religion! Guess what guys? The New World Order and the anti-christ's coming are a bloody prerequisite for your savior's return. Remember that bible thing?

    You guys should be cheering this stuff on.
  • Countermeasures (Score:3, Interesting)

    by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:36AM (#7567715)
    Assuming these things are adopted, I see a few countermeasures to avoid being "read" by scammers or govt officials.

    1. tin foil armband over the device to block reception/transmission of RFID bits.

    2. removable bracelet with multiple dummy chips that confuses scanners with too many hits.

    3. Scanner detector device that beeps when an RFID reader is in the neighborhood.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @09:44AM (#7567775)
    Cash is king... always has been. always will be.

    Credit and transactions that are completely executed in the digital relm are fundamentally evil because they are about reducing you're freedom.

    Nevermind that funadamentalist christian crap.

    I suppose it all boils down to just much control you're willing to hand over to the powers that be. Everyone assumes that complete transparency is a good thing (as some of the SiFi writer have written rosely about). The fact of the matter is that there is someone out there who thinks, you're not paying enough tax, or you're too sick to be in their healthcare system or you need to buy more of their brand-x product that you don't need... the list really is endless and their version of reality will be projected onto your life as some very basic fundamental level once completely digital transactions become ubiquitous.

    Me? I'm completely for freedom as long as it doesn't infringe on my physical space and/or well-being. That means privacy. The privacy you need to smoke pot in the your own home. The privacy you need to buy your pain killers. The privacy you need to crack open a beer and watch the game while cooking burgers in the back yard (oh, wait, you don't need privacy to do that any more).

    So, go ahead and get that implant. Opt-in for convience and good wholesome living that a proper citizen gives to society (or whatever bullshit help you to sleep at night). Just don't come crying to me when you're healthcare system ejects you because a routine lab test required for your driver's license flags you as having an expensive to treat disease.

    Opt-in for freedom and just say "know" to tracking, demographics and the completely digital lifestyle.
  • Re:Why? Why?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:18AM (#7568072) Homepage Journal

    Actually, we welcome the Return of the King. But we would hate to receive the "mark of the beast" and be denied entrance to the Kingdom.

    According to one interpretation of Revelation, when these things occur, though, Christians will be persecuted in a way that will make the Holocaust seem like a fairy tale. Then, after the tribulation, the faithful will join Christ in his Kingdom.

  • by kormoc ( 122955 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @10:25AM (#7568158)
    The Bible continues to say that the number of his (the anti-Christ) name is 666. I don't think it's the credit card number above your name.

    And that means what? If I take bill gate's full name, convert it to ascii and do some calculations I can get 666 out of it, same as if I did it with anyone's. This is useless information to give.

    Those who accept the mark will KNOWINGLY be pledging allegiance to the anti-Christ. I personally have nothing against technological advances. Believe me, though: no one will be fooled into taking the mark. All who take it will know to whom their allegiance lies.

    So then you have no problem with these cards, cause your are not pledging your allegiance with a evil god to use them, your only a customer of a company. If you look at it this way, might as well support this. And second, if you don't beleive in satan, how do you pledge your allegiance to him?

    There's no point to forcing a cash-only society. The future has already been written. It's just a matter of time before it comes to pass.

    Sure, and it's only a matter of time till the sun blows up and kills us all.
  • Re:Why? Why?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:21AM (#7568758) Homepage
    Hey there! Welcome to "You Don't Know My Religion"!

    The prophecy of Revelations is what will happen, not what has to happen first.

    In other words -- the End Times don't occur just because some people decided to try to make it occur. They may do a pretty damn good job of recreating the living hell that is described in Revelations, but that doesn't make it Revelations.

    I could go out today and "convince" everyone on earth to wear my "Mark of the Burke" (slogan: "Easier than cash; better than being shot!"). That doesn't make me the anti-Christ, and wouldn't put Christ's return a day sooner. Even a pet genetically-engineered seven-headed giant monitor lizard (who I'd call "Gnashy") wouldn't qualify me.

    Unless of course I -am- the anti-Christ. I'm pretty sure I'm not. I'm certainly not going to go make peoples' lives miserable on the off-chance that I am.

    Another way to look at is this: Revelations describes some of the worst human suffering imagineable. World War II involved some of the worst human suffering imagineable, but it wasn't the war of Revelations. If World War III occurs, it may or may not be the war of Revelations as well, but it will still be an unimagineable human disaster.

    I know you were being facitious, but you also are saying "Know Your Religion" when you are the one who is less informed.

    Although there are people who think exactly what you're saying and they claim to have read the Bible. Apparently they missed the part, which I thought was pretty clear, when it is said that you won't know when the end times are here.

    So advocating, allowing, or heaven forbid causing human suffering in the hopes of seeing Jesus return is really, really stupid.
  • by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:22AM (#7568768)
    Wow, some neat ideas there. I especially like the first one. I'm not sure if you're offended, or just think I'm an arse. I don't really care either way to be honest. I believe that religion is a fundamentally flawed concept, and in general a bad idea best forgotten. Therefore I reserve the right to make fun of those who practice it. Note that I fully accept the right for people to believe what they wish, and have no intentions of malice. If they in turn wish to point and laugh at me for being a total nerd, then I have no problem with that.

    I have no intention of ever having kids, so your final point is moot. But nice attempt at offence nonetheless :)
  • by ( 545967 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:27AM (#7568820)
    Has a single prediction fortold in either that or the bible come true yet? Actually, the Bible foretold of the coming of the Savior in the Old Testament. The Savior did arrive in the form of Jesus Christ. Hence, we have the new testament.

    The Bible foretold of the flood. It happened and Noah and his family were saved to repopulate the world.

    The Bible foretold of the resurrection of Christ after three days. This, too, came to pass.

    Nostradamus was a false prophet as is anyone who makes a prediction that does not come to pass.
  • Re:Why? Why?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @11:58AM (#7569152) Journal
    Unless you think you're being funny mentioning "_bloody_ prerequisite" you obviously need to read the Bible a bit more with less biased eyes, sure the the returning of the Savior is a good thing. But the coming of the Antichrist is not. There are lots of other bad things that will happen around then too.

    Why don't you go ask a mother-to-be if she's worried about labour pains (even if everyone knows it's going to go well in the end), I mean she should be cheering the birth of her baby right?

    I won't be very happy the day the Beast or his minions revoke my smartcard's digital cert just because I decided the new "EULA" just wasn't agreeable to me[1].

    Within 30 days (or certificate revocation list update period), my identity certificate then becomes invalid, can't buy, can't sell, can't travel.

    As for people talking about "why not biometrics". They're ignorant. YOUR biometrics will be included in YOUR certs, so it will be easy to validate that a certificate belongs to a person and wasn't "ripped off" from another. e.g. if the certificate is valid, but the included photo, iriscan, fingerprints don't match, it's been ripped off from someone else.

    Oh yeah cheer this stuff on. Lots of us in the tech industry are sure speeding it along. But you got to give credit to the guys making stuff like DMCA, Patriot Act and so on too.

    And the malware writers, hackers and spammers are sure helping too - "We" "need" a Global Gov, Court and Legal system to handle cross border problems like this and inconvenient nations who refuse to kowtow - (freedom fries are a beginning symptom). Centralisation + Globalisation of everything. Single point of failure.

    I'm not saying it'll all happen the way I mentioned - I'm no prophet. But it sure looks possible soon.

    Not even sure I should be writing all this here, but it should be pretty obvious to those who are preparing the Beast's throne anyway.

    You want to cheer this stuff on go ahead. Remember though, if you're not careful you might even be cheering the wrong stuff on too when the day comes. Maybe with a fake smile on your face just in case the Beast notices. Maybe you'd have to do what a German guy did and carry large parcels under both arms all the time so as not to have to salute. Not sure if that saved anyone's lives (other than his), but it's hard to fault him.

    "Know Your Religion"? Well what do you really believe? Sure lots of fundies are pretty stupid, but Christianity is not just for the totally stupid. e.g. I'm only stupid most times and not all the time.

    [1] Naturally the Govs will say only the "Bad People/Terrorists" won't agree to the "EULA". The real security people know what a lie that is. But hey didn't a bunch of people try to introduce IDs after 9/11, despite the hijackers having valid IDs? Eventually enough people will believe or allow them to do it.
  • Re:Religion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by j3110 ( 193209 ) <> on Thursday November 27, 2003 @04:28AM (#7575924) Homepage
    1> According to Christianity, God is perfect. If God were to make the program, it would work the way he wanted to begin with.
    2> Assuming that God, like I, am not perfect, finding where one went wrong would be the first question. You don't blame the program for being faulty if you are all knowing and all powerful. You fix the problem. Fixing the problem surely isn't beyond God's power, is it?
    3> Are you completely out of your head? Believing that the current physical properties to continue is not on the level of faith. Through out all recorded history, we have never seen pigs fly. I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that pigs will never fly. Through out all recorded history (and most importantly my life) we have never seen a god. The only evidence you can dig up is a very very old book... and no two religions agree on very much at all. In fact, they disagree so much they shoot, kill, and terrorism each other and every one else.

    4> Actually it is quite easy. I've seen it done with a toaster oven. You take standard chips like a PIC, ATMEL, etc. and you solder components on them... voila, you have a circuit. They even make these handy testing tools that clamp onto the very small pins of surface mount chips. Check out some ATMEL prototyping tools. My roomate does that kind of thing all the time. Right now he is hooking atmels up to WinBond voice synthesis and recognition chips... The same kind that come in newer cell phones.

    Also, you can get nice software to design circuits and have ASIC chips made to your design. This is how watches are made. Sure it's expensive, but if I'm going to have surgery done for it, I'm not going to be skimping. You can usually get it less expensive if you happen to have a friend at an Electronics Engineering school.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.