July 23, 2004 11:29 AM PDT

Portuguese pooches to get radio-tagged

Once a tech industry darling, radio frequency identification tags have officially gone to the dogs.

Actually, RFID remains a hot topic in hardware, software and retail markets, but other applications of the technology, which marries microchips with radio antennas to foster easier tracking of inventory, have taken wing, or at least paw. On Friday, Digital Angel, which sells RFID scanning and communications tools for tracking everything from airplanes to farm animals, announced that it had won a $600,000 deal to start affixing radio tags to dogs in Portugal.

The deal was granted under a government initiative to control rabies in the country. Portuguese legislators have mandated that the estimated 2 million canines in the nation must be implanted with radio tags and registered in a national database by 2007. Digital Angel's deal covers the first phase of the program, in which 200,000 or so animals are to be tagged. The company said it will bid on the rest of the Portuguese business over the next two years.

"We fought like cats and dogs for this business," said Digital Angel Chief Executive Kevin McGrath. "Seriously, though, we think it's a great opportunity to show off how reliable and easy to read our RFID products are."

RFID chips for animals, which are extremely small devices injected via syringe under the creature's skin, are nothing new. The chips are programmed with data pertinent to a given animal, such as its name and owner's address, and can be scanned using a handheld device. In Digital Angel's case, the chip contains a number assigned to the animal, and the other information resides in a separate database.

Other European countries already require that pets have RFID chips or tattoos for quick identification. In the United States, McGrath estimated, RFID technology last year helped return about 6,000 tagged animals to their owners per month.

However, the Digital Angel deal underscores the growth of RFID as a mainstream technology. The company has plans to release a new product next year that not only stores animals' data but also takes their temperature, to help consumers figure out whether an animal might be sick. McGrath says such applications, which could save pet owners and farmers millions of dollars on visits to the vet, will help drive RFID into many new consumer markets.

Over the last year, RFID has gotten a big push forward from the retail sector, where radio tags are being deployed by several major chains, including Wal-Mart Stores and Target, to improve inventory management and related supply chain logistics. But the technology is also finding favor in a number of other venues, such as at Narita Airport in Japan, where passengers' luggage is being tagged to help match items with the specific individuals who check them, to guard against terrorism. Delta Air Lines has announced a similar plan to begin tagging bags.

In another, more controversial application, Japanese officials in the city of Osaka have decided to run a test under which children in one primary school will be tagged with chips to track their movements. Denmark's Legoland theme park introduced a similar scheme this year to help locate young children who have gone astray.

1 comment

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Not Good, NOT Good AT All!!
(Written by myself on the date of April 8th, 2004, at 4:30 p.m., originally posted on a forum that I am still currently a member of, discussing the reality of the measures used to control the masses of this planet through corruption, control, fear and greed of any and all 'political' structures/regimes of this planet currently. I only hope that one will use discerment when dealing with the privacy issues of these 'chips' and the long term ramifications of having these privacy invading monstrocites implanted into ones body.)

Hello All. I have some very disturbing news to bring all of you. It
seems as though the 'so called' powers that be, are tightening the
noose around our necks, that much more. Most of you may be familiar
with Coast to Coast AM, hosted by George Norry, Mon. thru Fri
nights, and by Art bell on the weekends. Last night,(which would be
April 7th), George was giving the strange news from around the
World, as is done in most every show. As I listened, I couldn't
believe what I heard the first time, and I am thankful that he
repeated himself, for I needed the conformation before I wrote about
this, and there it was. Last night, George spoke of the 'chips' that
people have been implanting in their Elderly, small children, and
pets, in case of their sudden disappearence, and/or any medical
situations that arise due to ill health, in which these 'chips' have
the personal medical histories of the living persons, or animals
injected with them. Of couse, these are only the so called 'pros'
spoken about of having them in our bodies. But WHY in the world are
they not speaking about the 'cons'? I'll get to that in a moment. On
to George's further commentary.....He stated that there is now a
mobile service, that has just recently been created. It seems that
instead of you going to your family doctors/practicioners office to
have this 'chip', no bigger than a grain of rice, implanted, there
is a van that is now going, as we speak, from city to city, bringing
this monstrocity to your front doorstep, hoping you will receive
this device of your own free will. It is happening as I write this
article. Now, for those of you willing to have this 'chip' injected
under your skin, yes, it might save your life, or the life of one of
your loved ones, maybe once, or even twice, but please, think about
the long term consequences of the 'cons' that are not mentioned
about this chip. Yes, everyone has their own individual free will,
and you, as an individual, will make whatever choice you are going
to make. But, as far as the 'cons' go about this chip, in my
opinion, please let me say that if it was meant to be in our bodies
in the first place, we all would have been born with them there. And
last, but SURELY not least, I'm sure you are all also familiar with
the 'On Star' system for vehicles now, right? Well, lets just say
that this new 'chip', is exactly the same darn thing, but only
implanted in our bodies. I feel there will be a time when not enough
people will take them of their own free will, and as a
consequence, 'They' will try to force ALL of us into taking them.
That time is closer than anyone here thinks. The bottom line here,
is all about control of the masses, through greed and power.
Be mindful of this VERY negative situation we have found ourselves
Love AND Light to you all,
Highlander. =)
Posted by highlanderrc (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.