February 11, 2006

This is really creepy.

The increasing use of RFIDs — small devices that can be put into vehicles, products, credit cards, and animals to track their movements — has a lot of people worried about their effects on privacy. And those worries have even more basis when RFIDs are implanted in people.

And they are being injected into people — make no mistake about it. Check out this story from The Register:

Wouldn't you love one of these under your skin?

The RFID device on top is for humans; the one below it is marketed for animals.
[Photo: © 2006 Liz McIntire]


A Cincinnati video surveillance company CityWatcher.com now requires employees to use Verichip human implantable microchips to enter a secure data centre. Until now, the employees entered the data centre with a VeriChip housed in a heart-shaped plastic casing that hangs from their keychain.

The VeriChip is a glass encapsulated RFID tag that is injected into the triceps area of the arm to uniquely identify individuals. The tag can be read by radio waves from a few inches away.

The news was reported by CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering), a US organisation that opposes the use of surveillance RFID cards.

Although CityWatcher does not require its employees to take an implant to keep their jobs, they won't get in the data centre without it. CASPIAN's Katherine Albrecht says chipping sets an unsettling precedent. "It's wrong to link a person's paycheck with getting an implant," she says.

As creepy as the work-mandated microchips are, I think that Citywatcher,com's public statement on the implants may be even creepier:

Whereas CityWatcher.com is a provider of video solutions for government and business, we wanted to not only improve security for highly secure areas, but wanted do so with the next generation of product that would integrate with our existing system.

You'd think that they were just upgrading some software, wouldn't you? Scary!

Spychips.com has much more on the use of RFIDs in humans and in general. Their press release on the Citywatch.com RFIDs is here.

Thanks to Just a Bump in the Beltway for the tip.

Posted by Magpie at February 11, 2006 12:59 PM | US News | Technorati links |