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. The chip can also be attached to a watch or other piece of jewelry so it can be removed for privacy reasons.

VeriChip is the first Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved human-implantable RFID microchip. VeriChip received United States FDA approval in 2002. About twice the size of a grain of rice, the device is typically implanted above the triceps area of an individual’s right arm, though is sometimes implanted in the hand, or attached to jewelry outside the body to be easily removed for privacy. 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 easily be performed in a physician’s office.

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. A number of them have already abandoned the trials because of lack of acceptance and privacy concerns. 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.

Government Violation: Privacy advocates have also protested the VeriChip, warning of potential abuse and denouncing this type of RFID devices as "spychips". The primary concern is a government's ability to monitor someone's movement against his will, as governments in the US do with cell phones, the "black boxes" in many cars, and public security cameras. This could be done, once such a chip were common, simply by placing sensors around public places, as the city of New York has placed other kinds of sensors in New York subways and city streets without public notice, citing potential terrorism as a justification.

This concern can be partially mitigated by using such a chip without implanting it, as by inserting it into the wristband of a watch. This can then be removed when privacy is desired, though it would still allow the user to be involuntarily tracked when he's simply going about his business and passing by appropriate sensors during his movements when wearing it, as on a city street.

Identity Theft: The information contained in this chip could easily be stolen, so that storing anything private in it would be to risk identity theft. What is stored in the chip, however, is chosen by the user.

Accessible by Anyone: The VeriChip RFID implant has been shown to be insecure. The ID contained in the chip is completely unencrypted, and can be read by anyone, without permission or password. An implanted VeriChip was cloned in January 2006 as a demonstration. Instructions for cloning VeriChips are available on the web.

Revelation: Christian leaders have come out against the device, speculating that it might be the fulfillment of a prophecy from Christianity, where each person is marked for an identification by the corrupt government headed by Antichrist. This is one of the most famous passages of The Book of Revelation, a section of the Bible thought by some to be prophecies of the end times. At 13:16-17, a common translation is:

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. The number is six-hundred and sixty-six.

According to a recent ABC News article, some of the people being implanted with this chip do, in fact get it in their right hand.

Bodily Sanctity: There are various religions and sects which abhor the penetration of the human body, as with surgery or the implantation of devices. VeriChip, when implanted, violates the mores of such groups, though not if worn in a piece of jewelry.

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?'"

Liz McIntyre, co-author of Spychips commenting on the lengthy VeriChip waiver of liability for product failure: "I wouldn't buy toilet paper that required that kind of a disclaimer, never mind a product that's supposed to serve as a lifeline in an emergency."

Some 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 Solutions and holds a considerable share of the VeriChip, support the VeriChip as a "useful tool in sharing medical information with health care providers in emergency situations".Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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