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Implanted Chips in Our Troops?
A Florida company wants to get under the skin of 1.4 million U.S. servicemen and women.
VeriChip Corp, based in Delray Beach, Fla., and described by the D.C. Examiner as "one of the most aggressive marketers of radio frequency identification chips," is hoping to convince the Pentagon to allow them to insert the chips, known as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips under the skin of the right arms of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen to enable them to scan an arm and obtain that person’s identity and medical history. The chips would replace the legendary metal dog tags that have been worn by U.S. military personnel since 1906.
The device is usually implanted above the triceps area of an individual’s right arm, but can also by implanted in the hand if scanned at the proper frequency. The VeriChip responds with a unique 16-digit number, which can correlate the user to information stored on a database for identity verification, medical records access, and other uses. The insertion procedure is performed under local anesthetic, and once inserted it is invisible to the naked eye.
The company, which the Examiner notes has powerful political connections, is "in discussions” with the Pentagon, VeriChip spokeswoman Nicole Philbin told the Examiner. "The potential for this technology doesn’t just stop at the civilian level,” Philbin said. Company officials have touted the chips as versatile, able to be used in a variety of situations such as helping track illegal immigrants or giving doctors immediate access to patient’s medical records.