rfid Radio Frequency Identification

VeriChip - a Human-implantable RFID

VeriChip is a human-implantable RFID (radio frequency identification) device from VeriChip Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions of Delray Beach, Florida.

 verichip human implant
Promotional Photo of the chip

VeriChip is the first FDA-approved human-implantable RFID microchip. VeriChip received United States Food and Drug Administration approval in October 2004. About twice the size of a grain of rice, the device is typically implanted above the triceps area of an individual’s right arm.

Once 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, is invisible to the naked eye. The process can be performed in a physician’s office and takes only a few seconds.

Primarily marketed for medical applications, the VeriChip can link patients to their password-protected medical history, advance directives, important contact information and other related information in VeriChip-enabled emergency rooms during the first few minutes of care. As of January 2006, 68 U.S. hospitals had signed up to adopt the technology in their emergency rooms. The company estimates that approximately 2000 people currently have a VeriChip worldwide. On 2006-02-10, a surveillance company in Cincinnati became the first American business to use the VeriChip for access to its datacenter.

Implant Controversy

While some Christian leaders have come out against the device, speculating that it might be the Mark of the Beast, health experts including Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, who sits on the board of directors of VeriChip’s parent company Applied Digital, support the VeriChip as a useful tool in sharing medical information with health care providers in emergency situations.

Privacy advocates have also protested the VeriChip, labeling all such RFID devices as "spychips". While the debate continues, VeriChip’s passive RFID transmission capabilities (limited to a matter of inches) and user-controlled information sharing limit the risk of any type of GPS tracking capability or identity theft.

The VeriChip RFID implant has been shown to be insecure. The RFID emits a unique identification number involving no cryptography. An implanted VeriChip was cloned in January 2006 as a demonstration. Instructions for cloning VeriChips are available on the web [2]. Katherine Albrecht said, "A man with a chip in his arm may soon find himself wondering whether that cute gal on the next bar stool likes his smile or wants to clone his VeriChip. It gives new meaning to the burning question, 'Does she want my number?"

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "VeriChip".