February 15, 2005 5:16 PM PST

The man with the RFID arm

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To many, implanting radio frequency ID chips into humans is the face of impending Orwellianism. But to be honest, it looks like a mosquito bite.

Joseph Krull, an executive at Flanders, N.J.-based Virtual Corp., had a doctor stick an RFID tag from VeriChip under his skin on Jan. 10. The residual blemish amounts to a small red dot.

"It felt like a bee sting," he said during a meeting at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco. "They use a syringe and a local anesthetic."

Under-the-skin RFID tags have emerged as one of the most controversial technologies of the past few years. Privacy advocates have asserted that private information from the radio tags could be intercepted by corporations and identity thieves. Fears that governments could exploit the chips for tagging a person's whereabouts have alarmed libertarians and those with strong religious beliefs.

On the other hand, tagging prisoners in some institutions has cut down on inmate violence. Some fears about RFID, moreover, seem a little farfetched. Privacy advocates have asserted that RFID would let the government know what books you checked out of the library, ignoring that your library card already records that information.

Krull, for his part, got the chip for medical purposes. He's allergic to two medicines and has a small metal plate below his left eye that had to be put in following a skiing accident. By sweeping a reader over the chip, a doctor in an emergency could get a 16-digit password, which in turn would let the doctor access a Web site that would give the hospital Krull's name, regular doctor, emergency contact and other information.

It's particularly important that doctors know about the existence of the metal plate. Krull's left eye is permanently dilated, and without that information, a doctor could misdiagnose the situation and, in some situations, start to drill holes in his skull, he said.

Like most, Krull, who has not received payment from VeriChip, admits he was uncomfortable with the concept behind the chips. Friends and fellow security experts also warned him of the potential dangers.

Still, the security risks can be controlled, he said. For one thing, the chip only contains one piece of information--the number that serves as a password on a Web site. The Web site contains only information that the user has agreed to place there, in this case key medical information.

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If other information were to become mandatory, "I would be the first to opt out," Krull said.

Reading the chip also requires a reader that, at least by my own tests, works only when about 3 inches or closer to the tag. "I'm not concerned about someone sneaking up to me on the subway," Krull said.

Whether and how this market will develop remains an open question. One potential although ultimately mandatory application could lay in replacing military dog tags with RFID chips, Krull said. The tags fall off all the time. Web sites containing information about tagged military personnel could also be further protected by additional passwords and security precautions to prevent enemies from obtaining information.

Still, isn't he afraid of being tracked, or getting an infection, or getting kidnapped and having his arm hacked off so the police can't trace the kidnappers?

"We heard the same things about cutting off fingers and then using it to log in through biometric systems," he said.

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RFID, Freedom, Fear, and Terrorism
It isn't just alarmed libertarians and people with strong religious beliefs who are alarmed. Today RFID is optional, but twenty years from now it may be mandatory. In fact, it might be required to be implanted at birth. Today a scanner may need to be within three inches, but in twenty years it might be detectable from a satellite, a moving car, or fixed scanners in businesses or on power poles where cameras are currently positioned in residential neighborhoods, like in Tacoma Washington. I am neither an alarmed libertarian nor a person with strong religious beliefs, but 32 years ago when I started my first job in IT, we discussed just this possibility and what it might mean. It appears that the fear of terrorism has created a situation where the free people of the world might ultimately lose their freedom. This nation appears to be losing its grip on reality.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt said during his First Inaugural Address on Saturday, March 4, 1933, So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itselfnameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes& To me, the fear of terrorism has created unfounded fears, fears that have no place in our world.

RFID alone will not destory our freedom, it is the use of fear and RFID that will.
Posted by tbeckner (56 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I would add
that with the bill the House approved today, which authorizes "unprecedented fines for indecency," up to $500,000 for an [i]individual entertainer[/i] who is found guilty of saying naughty words over the airwaves, our leaders are working on yet another "fear angle."

Their going to try to make us afraid to [i]say[/i] anything about it!
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
You know what?
9/11 happened so that america will submit to the new world order, and that's all there is to that!
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Link Flag
I can't believe that people are falling for this crapola
Only through acts of terror will the masses be talked into RFID.
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Link Flag
Dear beloved reader,

Let us watch at a IBM promotion video on You tube about marketing the RFID tag.
And have some positive constructive criticism about this.

This video has to be good because some people are really enthusiastic about it, something that is probably the life-seal out of Revelation of Johannes.This lifes-seal is going to buy out 144.000 and save some out of secrecy.
The life-seal will provide in food-supplies. Those who accept will be saved from more upcoming disasters from any-kind. It is the only way. God wants peace, love and financial stability in their live.

Watch promotion videos such as: "IBM markets implantable chips as cool". Other brands may have these videos 2 on You Tube. This is the only video so far I could find in the more positive catagory.

Do not watch all videos that make people frightened or being in panic. These videos should never have
been permitted and have to be flagged.

Maybe you would like some more to know at http://therevelation.welcome2me.com.
This link is only available within use of a Windows Internet Explorer. Paste it in at the left side.


Thank You,

Samuel

PS: >>>Gospel House
Music GHM radio<<<
Posted by Samuel334 (9 comments )
Link Flag
K-Man with the bagels & cream cheese, coffee and CNET conference room
This is your first RFID focused article since many moons back. It offers good data, but is essentially about a narrow RFID subject, passive subcutaneous RFID REAL ID tagging.

Yes, the detection-reading range for current state-of-the-art subcutaneous passive RFID tags is around 3 - 4 inches (8 - 10 cm), a detection-reading range that represents a very low threat of anyone surreptitiously reading one thats implanted in a person. This very short reading-deciphering range application lends itself to containing and controlling the RFID security and privacy risks to individual citizens.

Techno-Netizens like me want CNET journalist-contributors to rattle out more in depth and detailed technical and philosophical reporting on all representative applications of passive and active RFID, both state-of-the-art and whats coming down the techno-pike. For example, applications such as E-Pass RFID, Wal-Mart RFID, Drivers LicenseID RFID, USDOS Passport RFID&etc.

It is my understanding that the typical, state-of-the-art maximum reading-deciphering range for E-Pass, Wal-Mart, DMV, DOS type RFID applications is around 33-65 feet (10-20 meters). Specially equipped Three-Letter Agency folks likely can easily double this stand-off reading range to 65-130 feet (20-40 meters) using cutting-edge RFID reading-deciphering technologies.

Order up some donuts, bagels &#38; cream cheese, carafes of coffee and maybe some lattes and schedule a conference room. Then hold a Brain-Storming meeting on all aspects of RFID. Invite Alorie Gilbert, Declan McCullagh, Jo Best, Martin LaMonica&et al. You know best whom else to invite to that RFID confab. Brain Storm in front of a white-board or newsprint flip chart then outline and bang out the full 5X5 RFID story, tamp it down into article or special report size like the one done on e-Terrorism back in 2002, and e-launch it to us CNETizens out here in the vast e-wasteland.

Enquiring e-Minds Want To Techno-Know. JP B-)
Posted by Catgic (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Three-Letter Agency
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/mini_cooper_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/mini_cooper_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Ubber geek (325 comments )
Link Flag
Dear beloved reader,

Let us watch at a IBM promotion video on You tube about marketing the RFID tag.
And have some positive constructive criticism about the video.

This video has to be good because some people are really enthusiastic about it, something that is probably the life-seal out of Revelation of Johannes.This lifes-seal is going to buy out 144.000 and save some out of secrecy.
The life-seal will provide in food-supplies. Those who accept will be saved from more upcoming disasters from any-kind. It is the only way. God wants peace, love and financial stability in their live.

Watch promotion videos such as: "IBM markets implantable chips as cool". Other brands may have these videos 2 on You Tube. This is the only video so far I could find in the more positive catagory.

Do not watch all videos that make people frightened or being in panic. These videos should never have
been permitted and have to be flagged.

Maybe you would like some more to know at http://therevelation.welcome2me.com.
This link is only available within use of a Windows Internet Explorer. Paste it in at the left side.


Thank You,

Samuel

PS: >>>Gospel House
Music GHM radio<<<
Posted by Samuel334 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dear beloved reader,

Let us watch at a IBM promotion video on You tube about marketing the RFID tag.
And have some positive constructive criticism about the video.

This video has to be good because some people are really enthusiastic about it, something that is probably the life-seal out of Revelation of Johannes.This lifes-seal is going to buy out 144.000 and save some out of secrecy.
The life-seal will provide in food-supplies. Those who accept will be saved from more upcoming disasters from any-kind. It is the only way. God wants peace, love and financial stability in their live.

Watch promotion videos such as: "IBM markets implantable chips as cool". Other brands may have these videos 2 on You Tube. This is the only video so far I could find in the more positive catagory.

Do not watch all videos that make people frightened or being in panic. These videos should never have
been permitted and have to be flagged.

Maybe you would like some more to know at http://therevelation.welcome2me.com.
This link is only available within use of a Windows Internet Explorer. Paste it in at the left side.


Thank You,

Samuel

PS: >>>Gospel House
Music GHM radio<<<
Posted by Samuel334 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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