Big Brother Gets Under Your Skin
By Julie Foster
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com
Source: WorldNet Daily
Big Brother Gets Under Your Skin: Ultimate ID Badge, Transceiver Implanted In Human
New implant technology currently used to locate lost pets has been adapted for use in humans, allowing implant wearers to emit a homing beacon, have vital bodily functions monitored and confirm identity when making e-commerce transactions.
Applied Digital Solutions, an e-business to business solutions provider, acquired the patent rights to the miniature digital transceiver it has named “Digital Angel®.” The company plans to market the device for a number of uses, including as a “tamper-proof means of identification for enhanced e-business security.”
Digital Angel® sends and receives data and can be continuously tracked by global positioning satellite technology. When implanted within a body, the device is powered electromechanically through the movement of muscles and can be activated either by the “wearer” or by a monitoring facility.
“We believe its potential for improving individual and e-business security and enhancing the quality of life for millions of people is virtually limitless,” said ADS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sullivan. “Although we’re in the early developmental phase, we expect to come forward with applications in many different areas, from medical monitoring to law enforcement. However, in keeping with our core strengths in the e-business to business arena, we plan to focus our initial development efforts on the growing field of e-commerce security and user ID verification.”
Dr. Peter Zhou, chief scientist for development of the implant and president of DigitalAngel.net, Inc, a subsidiary of ADS, told WorldNetDaily the device will send a signal from the person wearing Digital Angel® to either his computer or the e-merchant with whom he is doing business in order to verify his identity.
In the future, said Zhou, computers may be programmed not to operate without such user identification. As previously reported in WND, user verification devices requiring a live fingerprint scan are already being sold by computer manufacturers. Digital Angel® takes such biometric technology a giant step further by physically joining human and machine.
But e-commerce is only one field to which Digital Angel® applies. The device’s patent describes it as a rescue beacon for kidnapped children and missing persons. According to Zhou, the implant will save money by reducing resources used in rescue operations for athletes, including mountain climbers and skiers.
Law enforcement may employ the implant to keep track of criminals under house arrest, as well as reduce emergency response time by immediately locating individuals in distress.
The device also has the ability to monitor the user’s heart rate, blood pressure and other vital functions.
“Your doctor will know the problem before you do,” said Zhou, noting peace of mind is possible for at-risk patients who can rest in the knowledge that help will be on the way should anything go wrong.
Indeed, peace of mind is Digital Angel®’s main selling point.
“Ideally,” the patent states, “the device will bring peace of mind and an increased quality of life for those who use it, and for their families, loved ones, and associates who depend on them critically.”
Referring to the threat of kidnapping, the patent goes on to say, “Adults who are at risk due to their economic or political status, as well as their children who may be at risk of being kidnapped, will reap new freedoms in their everyday lives by employing the device.”
Digital Angel®’s developer told WND demand for the implant has been tremendous since ADS announced its acquisition of the patent in December.
“We have received requests daily from around the world for the product,” Zhou said, mentioning South America, Mexico and Spain as examples.
One inquirer was the U.S. Department of Defense, through a contractor, according to Zhou. American soldiers may be required to wear the implant so their whereabouts and health conditions can be accessed at all times, said the scientist.
Illustration of application of Digital Angel(R) from DigitalAngel.net website.
As of yet, there is no central DigitalAngel.net facility that would do the job of monitoring users — the task will most likely fall to the entities marketing the device, said Zhou. For example, if a medical group decides to market Digital Angel® to its patients, that group would set up its own monitoring station to check on its device-users.
Likewise, militaries employing the implant will want to maintain their own monitoring stations for security purposes.
But for critics, military use of the implant is not at the top of their list of objections to the new technology. ADS has received complaints from Christians and others who believe the implant could be the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.
The Book of Revelation states all people will be required to “receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark.” (Rev. 13: 16-17)
In an increasingly cashless society where identity verification is essential for financial transactions, some Christians view Digital Angel®’s ID and e-commerce applications as a form of the biblical “mark of the beast.”
But Zhou dismisses such objections to the implant.
“I am a Christian, but I don’t think [that argument] makes sense,” he told WND. “The purpose of the device is to save your life and improve the quality of life. There’s no connection to the Bible. There are different interpretations of the Bible. My interpretation is, anything to improve the quality of life is from God. The Bible says, ‘I am the God of living people.’ We not only live, we live well.”
Sullivan, responding to religious objections to his product, told WorldNetDaily no one will be forced to wear Digital Angel®.
“We live in a voluntary society,” he said. According to the CEO, individuals may choose not to take advantage of the technology.
Zhou alluded to some Christians’ objection to medicine per se, adding such opposition wanes when the life-saving, life-improving benefits of technology are realized.
“A few years ago there may have been resistance, but not anymore,” he continued. “People are getting used to having implants. New century, new trend.”
Zhou compared Digital Angel® to pacemakers, which regulate a user’s heart rate. Pacemakers used to be seen as bizarre, said Zhou, but now they are part of everyday life. Digital Angel® will be received the same way, he added.
Vaccines are another good comparison, said the scientist, who noted,
“Both save your life. When vaccines came out, people were against them. But now we don’t even think about it.”
Digital Angel®, Zhou believes, could become as prevalent as a vaccine.
“Fifty years from now this will be very, very popular. Fifty years ago the thought of a cell phone, where you could walk around talking on the phone, was unimaginable. Now they are everywhere,” Zhou explained.
Just like the cell phone, Digital Angel® “will be a connection from yourself to the electronic world. It will be your guardian, protector. It will bring good things to you.”
“We will be a hybrid of electronic intelligence and our own soul,” Zhou concluded.
In the process of merging with Destron Fearing Corp., a manufacturer and marketer of electronic and visual identification devices for animals, DigitalAngel.net is scheduled to complete a prototype of the dime-sized implant by year’s end. Company executives hope to make the device affordable for individuals, though no cost projections have been made.
ADS, DigitalAngel.net’s parent company, received a special “Technology Pioneers” award from the World Economic Forum for its contributions to “worldwide economic development and social progress through technology advancements.”
The World Economic Forum, incorporated in 1971 with headquarters in Geneva, is an independent, not-for-profit organization “committed to improving the state of the world.” WEF is currently preparing for its “China Business Summit” in Beijing next month for the purpose of forging new economic alliances with the communist nation.
A Chip for Your Thoughts
by John Hanchette
Gannett News Service © copyright 2000
Second of three parts
Source: Asbury Park Press
May 15, 2000
Privacy advocates fear that as rapid advances are made in technology, the personal lives of Americans may be shadowed by a cloud no bigger than a computer chip.
MicroStrategy founder Michael Saylor proposes uploading information direct to people’s brains via computer chip. One proposal, drawn from a recent science fiction film, is close to reality.
Michael Saylor the 35-year-old founder of MicroStrategy, who perhaps is most famous for watching his personal net stock worth drop $6 billion in a single morning without whimpering is involved with the concept.
Saylor wants to beam information directly into your mind; he calls it “telepathic intelligence.”
Saylor would do it by having a tiny transmitter surgically implanted in your skull or by sewing a computer chip into your wrist and having it transmit to an embedded radiolike device near your ear bones.
His computers already process a mammoth amount of data; pertinent portions would be tailored to your life and interests, then transmitted to brain or ear instantaneously 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Your stock is tanking sell. You’re on the wrong street turn here. Your spouse wrecked the other car call the insurance company. Your house is being burglarized call the cops. The doctor called in your prescription visit the pharmacy.
“I don’t know who in their right mind would let somebody implant this in their head,” says Fordham University Law School professor Joel Reidenberg, an expert on information privacy. “To the extent that we begin to create a system of automatons responding to chip implants in people’s brains, we will be destroying the foundations of a democratic society.
“Without question, there would be a great opportunity for mischief here.”
MicroStrategy spokesmen confirm that Saylor “sees potential in the future of such a chip” and that the firm’s Strategy.com subsidiary a network of “customer intelligence channels” that sends 300,000 people some 2 million personalized messages a week is working long term on the idea.
But MicroStrategy spokesman Michael Quint said this would be what computer business calls “opt-in”: “”It’s all permission marketing. If you’re talking about the privacy thing, we’d need to get the permission of the customer or the consumer.”
Reidenberg is not impressed: “The notion that it’s “permission marketing only’ is a hoax. There’s no way a citizen in our society can make an intelligent, informed decision about the risks of these implants, which
would be sold through very sophisticated marketing by organizations with large economic interests whose goals are not to promote the public interest. That’s a very scary vision for a democratic society.
“Forget the health and safety issues. Assume they figure out how not to kill people when they put it in. The information-control aspects are beyond what George Orwell could have dreamed about.”
Not everyone is upset by this techno-vision.
When online prankster Bill Cross a few months ago put up a hoax Web site that offered $250 for letting surgeons insert an electronic chip under the right palm for cashless purchases, he was stunned at the response. People signed up for the nonexistent implant “in droves,” he says.
And the techno-vision is reality.
Three months ago Applied Digital Solutions a publicly traded firm based in Palm Beach announced it had developed a high-tech transceiver chip, thinner than a dime, that could be implanted in flesh and used as a tracking device by transmitting the person’s whereabouts to a global positioning satellite.
Trademarked as the “Digital Angel,” the chip could be inserted in children at the behest of parents who fear kidnappers or in elderly parents at the behest of children who fear those afflicted with Alzheimer’s will wander off. The chip can hold medical and financial information.
Applied Digital says the implant would be voluntary, making the privacy issue moot.
But David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., worries the device could evolve into a workplace requirement one that “would dwarf polygraphs and drug testing.”
And more than 500,000 pets now carry between their shoulder blades an implanted, scannable computer chip carrying owner and vaccination data.
“The technology is there to implant chips allowing programming of devices, like in your pacemaker,” says Washington privacy consultant Robert Gellman, who calls Saylor’s idea “Big Brother on steroids.”
Says Gellman: “I keep thinking one day soon they’ll be able to beam commercials into your pacemaker that warn, “Buy our product, or we’re going to skip a couple of heartbeats.’ Think of all the people who believe the CIA is beaming rays into their heads already.”
Saylor bothers privacy advocates in another way.
He wants the government to make the huge Medicare database available online so it easily could be compiled and searched by his firm to discover dangerous medications and unsafe physicians, about whom you would be warned.
“Give me your medical records, and I will give you more life,” Saylor says.
“Privacy advocates should take him seriously,” said Evan Hendricks, publisher of the watchdog Privacy Times. “He’s putting out his own version of “Mein Kampf.’ Saylor is very genuine, I think. The more data they have, the more strategic decisions they can make.”