Some day we may be able to walk into a store and be completely alone and not have to see a living person in sight, imagine walking out holding the items you want and being billed instantly just as you leave the store. No confrontations, no customer service, no cute check-out girl, isn't our future grand.
To entice you more, APS is offering $50 Off to the First 100,000 registrants at the time of the their first "chipping" procedure.
Does anyone remember James Coburn in that 1967 paranoid classic movie The President's Analyst? At one point Coburn's character is kidnapped by "The Phone Company" because "The Phone Company" wants Coburn to convince the President of the United States to authorize the implantation of embedded telephone devices in everyone's brains that would allow everyone to think a phone number and have a phone connection made instantly to that phone number. Well, this proposal is not quite as radical. But effortless totally automated and instantaneous shopping check-out certainly would take us in that general direction.
VeriChip is a subdermal, radio frequency identification (RFID) device that can be used in a variety of security, financial, emergency identification and other applications. About the size of a grain of rice, each VeriChip product contains a unique verification number that is captured by briefly passing a proprietary scanner over the VeriChip. The standard location of the microchip is in the triceps area between the elbow and the shoulder of the right arm. The brief outpatient “chipping” procedure lasts just a few minutes and involves only local anesthetic followed by quick, painless insertion of the VeriChip. Once inserted just under the skin, the VeriChip is inconspicuous to the naked eye. A small amount of radio frequency energy passes from the scanner energizing the dormant VeriChip, which then emits a radio frequency signal transmitting the verification number. In October 2002, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that VeriChip is not a regulated device with regard to its security, financial, personal identification/safety applications but that VeriChip's healthcare information applications are regulated by the FDA. VeriChip Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions.
Recall that one reason carjackings have become popular is that it is much harder for criminals to steal unattended cars that have more technologically advanced anti-theft features. So attempts to steal a car from a person who has the key in hand or in the ignition are a response to technological advances in anti-theft technology. Well, it is easy to imagine some of the ways that criminals might respond to embedded credit cards:
Biometric tests combined with an embedded chip would eliminate the value of just taking the chip out of the body. A really advanced biometric test could even check the body temperature or iris response to light in order to verify that a person is alive and conscious. Another possible counter would be to put sensors on the device that check via various means whether it is still in the target host body and whether that body is still alive and free of trauma. One can even imagine an embedded cell phone technology where the device would phone for help in event that it is either removed from its host or the host is significantly harmed. So each counter the criminals might develop could be met by still more technological counters.
Yet this is precisely why Katherine Albrecht, the founder of the consumer advocacy group CASPIAN, finds Veripay frightening: "It's a lot easier to cancel and credit card account than it is to gouge a chip out of your arm." She worries that the chips will provide tracking opportunities for advertisers wishing to know the intimate shopping habits of particular consumers.
If the idea of this device seems too creepy keep in mind that the use of it is voluntary. Will embedded credit cards take off in popularity? Or will some other first application be able to better break through popular resistance? For instance, I'd expect embedded devices that could identify a person's location to catch on with less resistance than embedded credit cards might encounter since many parents would be strongly attracted to the idea of being able to rapidly find a kidnapped child. Another target market for embedded devices that will meet with less resistance are devices for health problems. An embedded device that would have the ability to do a cell phone call to alert that a person is having an epileptic fit or a heart attack would be attractive to many people. Also, for Alzheimer's patients the ability to find them if they wondered off or for law enforcement personnel to scan one of them to figure out who they are and where to return them would be of some value.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2003 December 01 02:32 PM Surveillance Society|