Implantable Chip, On Sale Now
Many people think the implantable chip may be the
mark of the beast. I'm not sure I agree with that at this point in time, but
it IS interesting to note that it is available here and now. Plus now it is
really really small:
The maker of an implantable human ID chip has
launched a national campaign to promote the device, offering $50 discounts to
the first 100,000 people who register to get embedded with the microchip.
The rice-size device costs $200. Those implanted
must also pay for the doctor's injection fee and a monthly $10 database
maintenance charge, said ADS spokesman Matthew Cossolotto.
The VeriChip emits a 125-kilohertz radio frequency
signal that transmits its unique ID number to a scanner; the number is used to
access a computer database containing the client's file. Customers fill out a
form detailing the information they want linked to their chip when they
undergo the procedure, Cossolotto said.
Earlier this week, ADS announced that the FDA had
ruled that the VeriChip was not a regulated device when used for
"security, financial and personal identification/safety
The agency's sudden approval of the microchip came
despite an FDA investigator's concern
about the potential health effects of the device in humans. (Microchips have
been used to track animals for years.)
The company is marketing the device for a variety
of security applications, including:
* Controlling access to physical structures, such
as government or private sector offices or nuclear power plants. Instead of
swiping a smart card, employees could swipe the arm containing the chip.
* Reducing financial fraud. In this scenario,
people could use their chip to withdraw money from ATMs; their accounts could
not be accessed unless they were physically present.
* Decreasing identity theft. People could use the
chip as a password to access their computer at home, for example.
Cossolotto said ADS has gotten
"hundreds" of inquiries from people interested in being implanted.
Meanwhile, privacy advocates are wondering about
the specter of forced chippings.
"(ID chips) are a form of electronic leashes,
a form of digital control," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of
the Electronic Privacy
Information Center. "What happens if an employer makes it a
condition of employment for a person to be implanted with the chip? It could
easily become a condition of release for parolees or a requirement for
Rotenberg said EPIC has filed a Freedom of
Information Request to learn more details about the FDA's sudden approval of
The chip has also alarmed some Christians, who
fear it is the biblical "Mark
of the Beast"; dozens of websites
allude to the Satanic implications of the technology.
The company has consistently tried to allay such
fears since the chip debuted in December 2001.
"It's a voluntary device that we think has
enormous utility," Cossolotto said. "This is intended for good
The company hasn't decided yet if it will sell or
freely distribute the scanner needed to read the chip, which costs about
ADS said seven health-care facilities, located in
Arizona, Texas, Florida and Virginia, have signed up to distribute the chip,
in addition to mobilizing a large bus the company has outfitted as a mobile
"chipping station." Would-be customers can also register online.
The company plans to release an implantable GPS ID
chip by the end of the year.