July 27, 2004 12:47 PM PDT

Under-the-skin ID chips move toward U.S. hospitals

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VeriChip, the company that makes radio frequency identification--RFID--tags for humans, has moved one step closer to getting its technology into hospitals.

The Federal Drug Administration issued a ruling Tuesday that essentially begins a final review process that will determine whether hospitals can use RFID systems from the Palm Beach, Fla.-based company to identify patients and/or permit relevant hospital staff to access medical records, said Angela Fulcher, vice president of marketing and sales at VeriChip.

VeriChip sells 11-millimeter RFID tags that get implanted in the fatty tissue below the right tricep. When near one of Verichip's scanners, the chip wakes up and radios an ID number to the scanner. If the number matches an ID number in a database, a person with the chip under his or her skin can enter a secured room or complete a financial transaction.

"It is used instead of other biometric applications," such as fingerprints, Fulcher said.

The approval process does not center on health risks or implications, Fulcher said. VeriChip can already sell implantable RFID chips in the United States for standard security applications and the financial market. The company's basic technology has also been used in animals for years.

Instead, the FDA may mostly examine privacy issues, Fulcher indicated. In other words, the agency will look at whether the technology will lead to situations where confidential information can get improperly disclosed.

Technically, the FDA on Tuesday issued a letter stating that there were no equivalent products on the market. This allowed VeriChip to then seek a de novo, or additional, review. The application process started in October 2003.

The Italian Ministry of Health kicked off a six-month trial of the chips for hospitals in April.

VeriChip, a division of Applied Digital Solutions, generated headlines worldwide recently with the announcement that the Attorney General of Mexico implanted one of the small company's RFID tags in his arm.

Fulcher said the basic technology has been around for a while. For 15 years, Digital Angel, a sister company under the Applied corporate umbrella, has sold thousands of tags for identifying animals. The U.S. Department of Energy employs Digital Angel's technology to monitor salmon migration. Several implants have been placed in household pets and livestock.

"We believe the tags can last 20 years," Fulcher said.

The idea for employing the tags to identify humans came after the horror of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Fulcher said. Richard Seelig, vice president of medical applications at Applied, saw on TV how firemen were writing their badge numbers on their arm with pen so they could be identified in the event of a disaster.

He inserted Digital Angel tags in his body and told the CEO that they worked. VeriChip was born. In June, the company hired Next Level and Motorola alum Kevin Wiley as CEO.

About 7,000 VeriChip tags have been sold, and approximately 1,000 have been inserted in humans. The chips only work with VeriChip's scanners. Along with scanners, VeriChip also sells complementary security systems for opening or shutting doors after the identification process.

So far, most of the sales have been outside the United States. Along with its attorney general's implant, Mexico has evaluated the chips as a way to better identify children in the event of a kidnapping. The Baja Beach Club in Spain has used them as electronic wallets to buy drinks. Sales have also taken place in Russia, Switzerland, Venezuela and Colombia.

"The applications that have taken hold at this point have been international so far," Fulcher said.

But FN Manufacturing, a South Carolina gun maker, is evaluating the technology for "smart guns," which contain sensor-activated grips so that only their owners can fire them.

The chips themselves are inserted into humans and animals with a syringe. When emerging from the syringe, the chips get coated with a substance called BioBond, which insulates the chip from the body and allows it to adhere to local tissue. If removed, it becomes inactive.

Privacy has been an issue for the company, but the complaints have actually begun to die down. "The pushback is less and less," Fulcher said.

The chip is an ID tag, Fulcher emphasized. When a person with an embedded chip passes near a scanner, the dormant chip simply wakes up and issues an ID number. The administrator of the security systems and databases determines how the information is used. A person has to stand within a few feet of a scanner for the tag to wake up. Thus, the tags can be used to follow someone's steps only when they are near scanners. The company's hand scanners can ping chips about 12 inches away, although the devices for counting salmon are 10 to 12 feet away from the fish.

Also, VeriChip is working on an implant that will contain a Global Positioning System. Such a device would allow an individual with a scanner to pinpoint someone's position on the globe.

The lab device, however, is relatively large right now, about the size of a pacemaker.


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Under the skin ID chips
I would just like to say that, I am really interested in seeing how this is going to pan out. I am presently employed in the health industry and am also a full-time student studing to be a physicians assistant. Therefore, I actually would like to know more about this. In our company, the name tags that we use now often get old, lost, wet and many other things. I believe this new technology would help. My only draw back from it would be is the chip seems a little big.
Posted by (1 comment )
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reasons NOT to get the chip
first of all, they can explode, thus rendering whatever part of your body the chip was in to hamburger meat. remember the california teen who was recently in the news, because her cell phone exploded in her back pocket (for no apparent reason)? imagine that happening inside your body ...

second of all, try to imagine yourself being tracked by someone who doesn't like you -- maybe you ticked off your boss & now they're using the device to build a case against you (eg. you spent too long on break, you were caught in an unauthorized area, you were with an unauthorized person, etc.), which would be very easy to do once you have a tracking device placed in your body ...

third, the bible DOES predict that there will be a time in the future when people will need a "mark" (the Greek word used is: "stigma" -- to puncture, or prick; a mark denoting ownership) in either their hand, or head, without which they will not be able to participate in the economy (i.e. you can't go shopping, you can't pay your bills, etc.) & that anyone who takes that mark will be doomed ... & this technology fits that prediction to a tee, does it not? & we all know that once the technology starts being used, it will be used for more & more things until it is EVERYWHERE.

for me, the first item is reason enough to NOT get the chip, but ALL THREE reasons taken together? NO WAY, baby. i'm not taking a chip, no way, no how, not under ANY circumstances. i'd rather die first.

for more info:


blessings to all,
barefoot christian
(eph. 6:18)
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
I don't understand what is so wrong with fingerprints, retinal scans, voice print, or any one of dozens of ways to identify an individual. To do things this way just does not make sense. We must retaine control of the technology, this opens the doors for the technology to control us.
Posted by Prndll (382 comments )
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End of Days
There is no conceivable reason for me to believe this chip technology is necessary, even if 'terrorists' come knocking at my door on a daily basis to so much as give this crap away. This is no less than cattle-tagging and computer-controlled elitism and by my own blood I will see to it that no one I know or love will be branded by this device.

If I ever so much as suspect that such a thing has been injected into any place in my body it will be destroyed by whatever means available. If it takes physically and crudely digging the thing out I am willing to walk that path. If it takes a magnet strong enough to interfere with my very heartbeat to fry the chip or draw it at slightly subsonic speeds out from my flesh I will do so.

Imagine a pickpocket that doesn't even have to move to do his job. He just leans against the handrail at the bottom of the subway steps in sunglasses a trench coat and fedora, smoking, while a scanner in an inner pocket sniffs numbers. Better cancel your credit cards before that 'EuroTrip'. Can VeriTech really assume that the common man will be incapable of reverse engineering the scanning method?

Ghost in the Shell? Gattaca? Deus Ex? Half Life 2? Isn't there enough bright-flashy-color-bloop-bloop-bleep-bleep media (It really is too much to ask that anyone read even Brave New World these days... only two colors but the resolution is good) presented in hi-def, retina-scorching, eardrum-liquefying, Twenty-First-Century Razzle-Dazzle, right in front of us, warning us of the catastrophic effects on our very civilization individual tagging connected to a global database would have, not 'potentially', but with an utmost certainty?

In just the above examples Kokakukidotai offers a vision of cybernetic augmentation and direct-to-cortex network interfaces as the future of human evolution (yes I know that's only a small sliver of what the movie meant...), but apparently fails to mention that such super-humanity would be riddled with tracking devices, remote kill switches, and guilty-until-innocent mind probing by federal bodies. The Stand Alone Complex TV series often ends up stepping on its own toes as the same cast of characters who before were chasing down a hacker powerful enough to intrude on digitized consciousnesses now find themselves chasing down 'terrorists' who are sometimes guilty of little more than refusing to 'jack in'.

Deus Ex offers a future where the common man is given no option to jack in and the elite keep such bio-enhancement technology to themselves, be it cybernetic augmentation or nano-machine controlled protein synthesis, and choose instead to kill off the vast majority of the world's population through psyop, anarchy, propaganda and manufactured diseases - the perfect 'Neo-Con' world sans compact mega-cities.

Gattaca threatens to partition the populous into a middle-to-upper class segment and a poverty-to-lower class segment where human potential within such a society is strictly capped based on one variable or another- in this case one's genotypic quality.

Half Life 2 puts us on the long black train to 'City 17' - the compact mega-city with all the living standards of a bombed-out Rothenburg where life is supervised by constant martial law double-dog-daring the inhabitants down the path of doomed periodic revolts.

Perhaps you have to be a twenty-something burger shoveler making $7000-10000 a year working two full time jobs to be bothered by the idea of RFID tags and computer controlled access to private meetings, VIP lounges, HOSPITALS, and banks. But most of the stuff I see tagged ends up gutted, drip dried, and sold by the pound and socially held in absolutely zero regard.

Imagine such things marketed to younger generations already seduced by Sony, Nokia and McDonald's as 'hip' and 'trendy'. Now imagine weak-minded parents obsessed with being 'liked' by their own children giving in to their every whim and seeking out a VeriTech vendor- every torendiigaru in town skipping happily to the local shopping mall to have a GPS beacon permanently installed in their bodies with all the foreboding of getting their first piercing.

Who doesn't see this as being a requirement for a drivers license within ten years? How 'bout five? Then one day you wake up and you're on your way to the hospital because you can't get a license, get a job, cross a state border, get on a toll road, buy medicine or BUY ANY FOOD without your trendy little cattle-tag. I think that was mentioned in a best selling Book somewhere...

So then you can't get much done without one, why aren't you jacked in yet? All your friends got their mercury-laced flu shot, why won't you? "Don't be a baby" they say... Do it or there'll be more terrorist attacks they say...

Better report this post to the moderators folks, I've gone way past wired and skidded out of control into the weird.

First these chips are a curiosity, then they're a fad, then they're the law. You don't want to be on the business end of another Ruby Ridge, do you?

I will forever look upon these devices with utmost odium and consider any coercion otherwise or forced installation thereof not assault - but rape.
Posted by Viktor King (9 comments )
Link Flag
It's stupid!!!
I think that the whole Verichip thing is stupid because it is not human. It is putting things into our bodies that doesnt belong there and it will make us feel like we are some kind of machine or something. I personally wouldnt want something like that to be in my body, and that has a chance to explode in my body or even turn my tissue to hamburger meat!!!! SORRY!!!!! I really dont approve of this kind of technology!!
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
It's pretty simple really.......

Who do you trust more???? YOUR GOVERNMENT?????

OR YOUR HOLY BIBLE......? "no one will be able to buy or sell unless he has the mark of the beast on his hand or forehead"...... sound familiar?
Posted by luvterre (1 comment )
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