Thursday, July 26, 2007

Getting Chipped

Last Sunday's paper had a front page article about how a year ago "Americans had, for the first time, been injected with electronic identifiers to perform their jobs..." These identifiers were glass-encapsulated microchips with antennas about the size of two grains of rice end to end*, that were embedded into their forearms by means of a large-gauge hypodermic needle. Called RFID's -- radio frequency identification -- they were in this case, a high-tech way of restricting access to vaults holding sensitive data, a step beyond key cards and clearance codes, more akin to retina scanners or fingerprinting. To gain access, the chipped employee need only pass his arm before the reader and the door opens.

I have no idea why the paper felt it needed to put this story on the front page, seeing as it's a year old, but I'm glad they did. I have seen the email photos of the chip that looks like a grain of rice*, and contains your identification information, medical records, and even a small GPS. I've also read how in other countries (notably Brazil) the children of wealthy people are being chipped to aid in finding them if kidnapped. Others with certain medical conditions are chipped so that their medical records can be accessed in short order should an emergency arise and the person be away from their usual doctors. (VeriChip is the FDA's approved chip for implantation in humans) Of course they've been chipping pets for years now, also to help find them should they run away.

The gist of the article is that the chipping of the two surveillance equipment company employees set off a firestorm of debate over "the proliferation of ever-more-precise tracking technologies and their ability to erode privacy in the digital age." That's a valid concern. Though the article said that the technology doesn't yet exist for chips to have global positioning transceivers in them so the government can pinpoint a person's exact location, 24/7, it's clear the chips can be tracked. So perhaps the transceivers can be put into the chips, and the government can locate someone who's missing, it just doesn't have the wherewithal to keep tabs on every citizen, all the time -- yet. For one thing, every citizen would need a chip, and we're still a good way from that happening.

However, it did say that thieves could make their own readers, aim that at people and pluck out their personal information from the chip in their arm.

And what about the fact that with chips embedded in a great deal of merchandise ("unbeknownst to many consumers, on a host of individual items at Wal-Mart and Best Buy") along with credit cards we can just pass before a reader, the technology is here for us to walk through the store, collect our purchases, flash the credit card and walk out the door. Only instead of a credit card, how about just flashing our hand before the reader so it can scan the rice-sized chip embedded under the skin? Or maybe, alternatively, it could be placed, oh, along an eyebrow, which would make it even easier, because then you wouldn't have to fool with the hand-reader, you could just pick up what you needed and walk out of the store, leaving the readers over the exit to handle your transaction. It could scan both purchases and purchaser all at one swipe. Pretty convenient, huh? No more standing in line...

There'd probably be a slight lump though, both on hand and on the brow. One that could be seen if looked for... though with today's fixation with tattooing and piercing, perhaps people wouldn't care. It might even be a status symbol at the start, a sign of the hip and the cool, the bar placed on the forehead right above the bridge of the nose where, as everyone knows, the third eye is supposed to reside. If the glass encapsulating the chip were colored, I wonder if it might even show through the skin. And what if the chip had a small light in it? Would that show up as well...? I will definitely be using this in Black Box!

When in history have we ever, EVER had the technology to do such things as would obviously and thoroughly fulfill such passages as Rev 13:16 - 17?
"And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead, and he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

We truly live in exciting times!


*Grains of rice is a nice visual, but when I look at the paper's picture of the chip in actual size, it really looks more like a meal worm, or a maggot than grains of rice. And maggots are probably a more appropriate comparison! Unless you're trying to get people to like the idea of having a chip in their arm. LOL