implant arrives for cashless transactions
World Net Daily
At a global security conference held today
in Paris, an American company announced a new syringe-injectable microchip
implant for humans, designed to be used as a fraud-proof payment method
for cash and credit-card transactions.
The chip implant is being presented as an advance over credit cards and
smart cards, which, absent biometrics and appropriate safeguard
technologies, are subject to theft, resulting in identity fraud.
Identity fraud costs the banking and financial industry some $48 billion a
year, and consumers $5 billion, according to 2002 Federal Trade Commission
In his speech today at the ID World 2003 conference in Paris, France,
Scott R. Silverman, CEO of Applied Digital Solutions, called the chip a
"loss-proof solution" and said that the chip's "unique under-the-skin
format" could be used for a variety of identification applications in the
security and financial worlds.
The company will have to compete, though, with organizations using just a
fingerprint scan for similar applications.
The ID World Conference, held yesterday and today at the Charles de Gaulle
Hilton, focused on current and future applications of radio frequency
identification (RFID) technologies, biometrics, smart cards and data
The company's various "VeriChips" are RFID chips, which contain a unique
identification number and can carry other personal data about the
implantee. When radio-frequency energy passes from a scanner, it energizes
the chip, which is passive (not independently powered), and which then
emits a radio-frequency signal transmitting the chip's information to the
reader, which in turn links with a database.
ADS has previously touted its radio frequency identification (RFID) chips
for secure building access, computer access, storage of medical records,
anti-kidnapping initiatives and a variety of law-enforcement applications.
The company has also developed proprietary hand-held readers and portal
readers that can scan data when an implantee enters a building or room.
The "cashless society" application is not new - it has been discussed
previously by Applied Digital. Today's speech, however, represented the
first formal public announcement by the company of such a program.
In announcing VeriPay to ID World delegates, Silverman stated the implant
has "enormous marketplace potential" and invited banking and credit
companies to partner with VeriChip Corporation (a subsidiary of ADS) in
developing specific commercial applications beginning with pilot programs
and market tests.
Applied Digital's announcement in Paris suggested wireless technologies,
RFID development, new software solutions, smart-card applications and
subdermal implants might one day merge as the ultimate solution for a
world fraught with identity theft, threatened by terrorism, buffeted by
cash-strapped governments and law-enforcement agencies looking for easy
data-collection, and corporations interested in the marketing bonanza that
cutting-edge identification, payment, and location-based technologies can
Cashless payment systems are now part of a larger technology development
subset: government identification experiments that seek to combine
cashless payment applications with national ID information on media (such
as a "smart" card), which contain a whole host of government, personal,
employment and commercial data and applications on a single, contactless
In some scenarios, government-corporate coalitions are advocating such a
chip be used by employees also to access entry to their workplace and the
company computer network, reducing the cost outlay of the corporations for
individual ID cards.
Malaysia's "MyKad" national ID "smart" card is the foremost example.
Meanwhile, privacy advocates have expressed concern over RFID technology
rollouts, citing database concerns and the specter of individuals' RFID
chips being read without permission by people who have their own hand-held
Several privacy and civil liberties groups have recently called for a
voluntary moratorium on RFID tagging "until a formal technology assessment
process involving all stakeholders, including consumers, can take place."
Signatories to the petition include the American Civil Liberties Union,
the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information
Center, Privacy International and the Foundation for Information Policy
Research, a British think tank.
Commenting on today's announcement, Richard Smith, a computer industry
consultant, referred to what some "netizens" are already calling "chipectomies":
"VeriChips can still be stolen. It's just a bit gruesome when to think how
the crooks will do these kinds of robberies."
Citing MasterCard's PayPass, Smith pointed out that most of the major
credit-card companies are looking at RFID chips to make credit cards
quicker, easier, and safer to use.
"The big problem is money," said Smith. "It will take billions of dollars
to upgrade the credit-card networks from magstripe readers to RFID
readers. During the transition, a credit card is going to need both a
magstripe and an RFID chip so that it is universally accepted."
Some industry professionals advocate having citizens pay for combined
national ID/cashless pay chips, which would be embedded in a chosen
Identification technologies using RFID can take a wide variety of physical
forms and show no sign yet of coalescing into a single worldwide standard.
Prior to today's announcement, Art Kranzley, senior vice president at
MasterCard, commented on the Pay Pass system in a USA Today interview:
"We're certainly looking at designs like key fobs. It could be in a pen or
a pair of earrings. Ultimately, it could be embedded in anything -
someday, maybe even under the skin."