VERICHIP INJECTS ITSELF INTO IMMIGRATION DEBATE
Company Pushes RFID Implants for Immigrants, Guest Workers
Scott Silverman, Chairman of the Board of VeriChip Corporation, has
alarmed civil libertarians by promoting the company's subcutaneous human
tracking device as a way to identify immigrants and guest workers. He
appeared on the Fox News Channel earlier this week, the morning after
President Bush called for high-tech measures to clamp down on Mexican
Privacy advocates Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre are warning that a
government-sanctioned chipping program such as that suggested by
Silverman could quickly be expanded to include U.S. citizens, as well.
The VeriChip is a glass encapsulated Radio Frequency Identification tag
that is injected into the flesh to uniquely number and identify people.
The tag can be read silently and invisibly by radio waves from up to a
foot or more away, right through clothing. The highly controversial
device is also being marketed as a way to access secure areas, link to
medical records, and serve as a payment device when associated with a
"Makers of VeriChip have been planning for this day. They've lost
millions of dollars trying to sell their invasive product to North
America, and now they see an opportunity in the desperation of the
people of Latin America," Albrecht observes.
VeriChip's Silverman bandied about the idea of chipping foreigners on
national television Tuesday, emboldened by the Bush Administration call
to know "who is in our country and why they are here." He told Fox &
Friends that the VeriChip could be used to register guest workers,
verify their identities as they cross the border, and "be used for
enforcement purposes at the employer level." He added, "We have talked
to many people in Washington about using it...."
Silverman is reportedly also planning to share his vision on CNBC's
Squawk Box if a slot opens up tomorrow (Friday) morning sometime between
6 and 9 AM Eastern Time. He was originally scheduled to appear on the
show this morning, but technical problems at the Florida studio
prevented his appearance.
The numbering and chipping of people seems like a plot from a dystopian
novel, but the company has gotten the buy-in from highly placed current
and former government officials, including Columbian President Alvaro
Uribe. He reportedly told Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) that he would
consider having microchips implanted into Colombian workers before they
are permitted to enter the United States to work on a seasonal basis.
"The mantra 'chip the foreigners' has little appeal once people realize
the company wants to stamp its 'electronic tattoo' into every one of
us," cautions McIntyre. "Electronically branding and tracking visitors
like cattle is VeriChip's excuse to get the government on board. But if
that happens, we'll all be in their sights."
Tommy Thompson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services joined the
board of VeriChip Corporation after leaving his Bush administration
cabinet post. Shortly thereafter, he went on national television
recommending that all Americans get chipped as a way to link to their
medical records. He also suggested the VeriChip could replace military
dog tags, and a spokesman boasted that the company had been in talks
with the Pentagon.
Privacy advocates warn that once people are numbered with a remotely
readable RFID tag like the VeriChip, they can be tracked. Once they can
be tracked, they can be monitored and controlled.
Albrecht and McIntyre, the authors of "Spychips: How Major Corporations
and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID" believe the
world's people will stand firm against chipping. "Our country was
founded on principles of freedom and liberty. We're betting that the
American people will see the end game and buck VeriChip's attempts,"
said Albrecht. "We also believe the people of Latin America will rise up
in opposition once they read our book."
The Spanish language version of "Spychips" will be hitting shelves
across Latin America next month.
[Source:CASPIAN: Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering Opposing supermarket loyalty cards and other retail surveillance schemes since 1999You're welcome to duplicate and distribute this message to others who may find it of interest.]