lkl on Sun, 1 Aug 2004 02:30:55 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Chip implanted in Mexico security workers

   Hello Nettimers. This article might be old news to some of you
   but for the ones who have not read it, it makes for an interesting
   read. While the United States and the rest of the Global market place
   discuss RFID chips as solely as an item for consumer goods, the
   Mexican government simply implemented RFID chips to their most
   efficient potential, the security and access of individuals, by
   embedding RFID chips into government officials and workers. The recent
   unofficial leak of official US documents in Mexico might make this
   unprecedented step a 'logically' proper one but I am sure it also
   makes some Sam Walton executives turn green. Finally, the technology
   is a simple upgrade to a chip developed by a livestock tracking
   company with the moniker straight out of a modern Hollywood Sci-Fi
   Revelations update, DigitalArial Angel Corp. 
   Chip implanted in Mexico security workers 
   - - - - - - - - - - By Will Weissert July 14, 2004  |  MEXICO CITY
   (AP) -- Security has reached the subcutaneous level for Mexico's
   attorney general and at least 160 people in his office -- they have
   been implanted with microchips that get them access to secure areas of
   their headquarters. It's a pioneering application of a technology that
   is widely used in animals but not in humans. Mexico's top federal
   prosecutors and investigators began receiving chip implants in their
   arms in November in order to get access to restricted areas inside the
   attorney general's headquarters, said Antonio Aceves, general director
   of Solusat, the company that distributes the microchips in Mexico.
   Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha and 160 of his employees
   were implanted at a cost to taxpayers of $150 for each rice
   grain-sized chip. More are scheduled to get tagged" in coming months,
   and key members of the Mexican military, the police and the office of
   President Vicente Fox might follow suit, Aceves said. Fox's office did
   not immediately return a call seeking comment. A spokeswoman for
   Macedo de la Concha's office said she could not comment on Aceves'
   statements, citing security concerns. But Macedo himself mentioned the
   chip program to reporters Monday, saying he had received an implant in
   his arm. He said the chips were required to enter a new federal
   anti-crime information center. It's only for access, for security," he
   said. The chips also could provide more certainty about who accessed
   sensitive data at any given time. In the past, the biggest security
   problem for Mexican law enforcement has been corruption by officials
   themselves. Aceves said his company eventually hopes to provide
   Mexican officials with implantable devices that can track their
   physical location at any given time, but that technology is still
   under development. The chips that have been implanted are manufactured
   by VeriChip Corp., a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions Inc. of
   Palm Beach, Fla. They lie dormant under the skin until read by an
   electromagnetic scanner, which uses a technology known as radio
   frequency identification, or RFID, that's now getting hot in the
   inventory and supply chain businesses. Scott Silverman, Applied
   Digital Solutions' chief executive, said each of his company's
   implantable chips has a special identification number that would foil
   an impostor. The technology is out there to duplicate (a chip)," he
   said. What can't be stolen is the unique identification number and the
   information that is tied to that number." Erik Michielsen, director of
   RFID analysis at ABI Research Inc., said that in theory the chips
   could be as secure as existing RFID-based access control systems such
   as the contactless employee badges widely used in corporate and
   government facilities. However, while those systems often employ
   encryption, Applied Digital's implantable chips do not as yet.
   Silverman said his company's system is nevertheless save because its
   chips can only be read by the company's proprietary scanners. In
   addition to the chips sold to the Mexican government, more than 1,000
   Mexicans have implanted them for medical reasons, Aceves said.
   Hospital officials can use a scanning device to download a chip's
   serial number, which they then use to access a patient's blood type,
   name and other information on a computer. The Food and Drug
   Administration has yet to approve microchips as medical devices in the
   United States. Still, Silverman said that his company has sold 7,000
   chips to distributors worldwide and that more than 1,000 of those had
   likely been inserted into customers, mostly for security or
   identification reasons. In 2002, a Florida couple and their teenage
   son had Applied Digital Solutions chips implanted in their arms. The
   family hoped to someday be able to automatically relay their medical
   information to emergency room staffers. The chip originally was
   developed to track livestock and wildlife and to let pet owners
   identify runaway animals. The technology was created by Digital Angel
   Corp., which was acquired by Applied Digital Solutions in 1999.
   Because the Applied Digital chips cannot be easily removed -- and are
   housed in glass capsules designed to break and be unusable if taken
   out -- they could be even more popular someday if they eventually can
   incorporate locator capabilities. Already, global positioning system
   chips have become common accouterments on jewelry or clothing in
   Mexico. In fact, in March, Mexican authorities broke up a ring of
   used-car salesmen turned kidnappers who were known as Los Chips"
   because they searched their victims to detect whether they were
   carrying the chips to help them be located.

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