According to Cnet, implanting people with RFID chips isn’t as lucrative, or popular, as we are led to believe. Ever since VeriChip went public with their idea to implant humans, their stock has been struggling. The chip, to be used for medical purposes, has attracted a mere 222 humans willing to be chipped.
Three years ago, VeriChip began its ad campaign about how wonderful and useful it would be to be chipped. Everyone from civil libertarians to my grandma balked at the idea, claiming that there were severe privacy issues at stake in such an endeavor.
Cnet also points out that
Virtually all the company’s revenues come from two Canadian companies it acquired in 2005. These companies, EXI Wireless and Instantel, specialize in infant tracking and “wander” detection systems in rest homes. In these systems, RFID tags alert nurses and medical professionals if an infant or other patient is passing through the exits or into unauthorized areas. In these systems, however, the RFID chip is contained in a wristband.
VeriChip, however, has stated that they intend to continue to market their RFID chips because it’s a good idea for medical patients to always have their records with them. While these chips are a good idea for tracking things such as a lost pet or merchandise, it’s not a good idea to tag every single human just because it’s a convenience. In theory, tagging grandpa in the old folks’ home to keep track of where he’s wandered off to, again, is a good idea. However, you already pay thousands of dollars to have actual, live humans do this job. And they’ve been doing this job for decades. Has there suddenly been a huge increase of old folks running off the reservation?
Using the VeriChip for other medical reasons might also seem reasonable if you have severe allergies or you have some sort of special needs. However, it is not reasonable to use my tax dollars to force hospitals across the USA to redo their emergency rooms solely because you can’t be bothered to get a bracelet and an ID card listing your medical condition. It is your responsibility to take care of your health matters and not place the burden on someone else.
One Problem not addressed in implantable RFID chips are what to do when you need an MRI. It is known that the skin around the tag will burn when subjected to devices like an MRI. You could solve this by implanting the RFID tag in a finger, but that just makes it easier for a thief to take that finger with them when they rob you. If you want to prevent identity theft, then you have to introduce two factor identification, which negates the benefits of having a chip at all because third parties would be introduced, making the entire system less secure than advertised.
Larger problems deal with the end of life issues of a chip. Technologies change and, in ten years, the chip will not work with the latest technologies. This would force a person to get a new chip. If standards are not imposed, you will need different chips for different things. It makes much more sense to create human RFID tags to be placed in something the person wears every day, such as a wedding ring or a bracelet. Upgrades will create nightmares, literally, for people once the chip becomes obsolete and a person must return to have the chip removed and replaced.
It’s also no surprise that no one wants this from VeriChip. We are already uniquely identifiable by a dozen or so different processes. We have retina scans, fingerprints, DNA and voice recognition. Then, there are the “minor” unique characteristics such as race, hair color, eye color, height, weight, and shoe size. The only thing an RFID chip can do is put this into one place, making it easier than ever to track every single thing you do in life.
The slippery slope in this argument is that we’ve already tracked cargo, then pets and cattle. Next, we will track immigrants. Who do you think is the last stop? That’s right. It’s you. The government is going to shove a leash up your ass and you’ll like it. Within a short period of time, you’ll not even notice it’s there.
These chips can and will be abused to determine what you are doing. You think it’s bad now, with Presidents getting FBI files on their political enemies? Hitachi now has a chip so small that you can literally dust an area with them and connect the dots later. Imagine what can be done when there are no longer any paper trails to expose illegal activity. RFID will be used to see exactly who you voted for, what dissident group you belong to, and who you co-mingle with that also does not like the current governmental regime.
There is no way to justify implanting legal, foreign nationals who have chosen to live here. In order to do it, you would have to chip every American citizen as well. Then, you would be faced with the prospect of what you are going to do with the illegal citizens who have no chips? They will stick out in a field of chipped Americans and the government will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to illegal immigration. Worse yet, would be the tit-for-tat retaliation that other countries will enforce against the United States.
I am a, mostly, law abiding citizen. I do not take kindly to people telling me what I can and cannot do. I do not like people tracking my whereabouts. When I leave my home, no one knows where I am except “out” and I’d like to keep it that way. There is not a soul on this planet that needs to know where I am every moment of every day. I wear a medic alert bracelet should something terrible happen to me while I’m out. If wearing a bracelet versus being implanted means that those two seconds are the difference between life and death for me, then I chose death. I will not be tracked and I will not allow others to decide that I need to be tracked. Keep your RFID tags and chips and use them to track Fluffy or your cargo. Do not come near me with them.
Our privacy is slowly disappearing. Some care. Most do not. I suspect that, by the time I am an old lady, rocking in my chair on the front porch each afternoon, that I, and a few like me, will remember a time when privacy mattered. I will witness the erosion of privacy and individual rights as the generations behind me freely give up what the generations before me fought so hard to preserve.