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VeriChip Implants 222 People With RFID 306

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 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 would leave FAST (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VEGETA_GT ( 255721 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:48AM (#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.
  • Re:Fancy that (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sokoban ( 142301 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:48AM (#18012186) Homepage
    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.
  • by coren2000 ( 788204 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @11:57AM (#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 @11:57AM (#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?
  • by AMindLost ( 967567 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:03PM (#18012400) Homepage
    Even if you've been invited into that country and you're going about your peaceful business and breaking no laws in the process?
  • by InsaneProcessor ( 869563 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:03PM (#18012406)
  • by SocratesJedi ( 986460 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:04PM (#18012414) Homepage

    Where I am is my business, and no one else's.
    Not if you are a guest in a foreign country.
    The interest a government has in preventing an attack does not imply that it would be right for that government to track all foreign nationals within its borders. At least, I would not support government policy that wanted this level of surveillance on foreigners. Even if you've bought into this nationalist mentality that foreigners are inherently more dangerous than domestic citizens consider: Once that infrastructure to track large numbers of foreigners is in place it would not be difficult to expand it to include tracking of citizens. I'm not willing to support any policy that will bring the government under which I live any closer to that type of police state. Are you?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:04PM (#18012416)
    The people behind this project need to be shot. The slope is a right angle!
  • Re:prospect (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:09PM (#18012504)
    Bringing the total number of people with the implant to 888?

    Perhaps I don't get the joke :>
  • Re:Fancy that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kabocox ( 199019 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:18PM (#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.
  • What the hell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by el_womble ( 779715 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:19PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:24PM (#18012698)
    And it'll start glowing bright red once you turn 30.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:42PM (#18013008) Homepage Journal
    When you consider the the rights gaurenteed through the constitution applies to all people, not just citizens. On might say they are inaliable to all men.
  • Re:What the hell (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:46PM (#18013078) Journal
    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 walking out of the store with you items. Now, a lot of these things can be done now with alternative technologies, but if these chips could be implemented as part of a national (or global) system the changes would be immense (although not all for the better).

    But we'll never see the benefits, and if we do they'll come with so many trade offs to our freedom and privacy it wont be worth it.
  • by DoubleEdd ( 178052 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:52PM (#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.

  • Re:Fancy that (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EdwinBoyd ( 810701 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @12:59PM (#18013268)
    Scarier food for thought is wondering if turning off the "feature" actually makes any difference.
  • Re:Fancy that (Score:4, Insightful)

    by badfish99 ( 826052 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @01:05PM (#18013360)
    Those people should have gone to the vets. We got our cat microchipped for less that one tenth of that price.
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @01:40PM (#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.
  • by barik ( 160226 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @01:42PM (#18013860) Homepage
    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!
  • by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:25PM (#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.
  • by alienmole ( 15522 ) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @05:31PM (#18016740)
    Your ability to think rationally has been seriously degraded by fear and/or propaganda. Implating chips in all foreign nationals is very much like outlawing guns: only the criminal foreign nationals would have no chips (they'd remove them if necessary), and the monitoring effort would be focused on exactly the wrong group, the law-abiding foreign nationals. You'd have to implant chips in all citizens for it to be meaningful, but then you'd have to do something about the 11 million illegal aliens who wouldn't have chips, most of whom aren't terrorists and are instead looking after your babies, washing your clothes, picking your fruit, and writing your software.

    But it is interesting to watch fascism bubbling from the grassroots up, apparently with an utter lack of self-awareness. Look in the mirror: you are responsible for the world around you. If you want it to ever change, learn to think past the jerking of your knee.

If I set here and stare at nothing long enough, people might think I'm an engineer working on something. -- S.R. McElroy