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History of the Implantable Microchip

Doesn't totalitarianism just get under your skin?

by Phillip Day

In all of mankind's history, the current age is the first time total control of the population can be accomplished using high-tech tracking devices and super-computers. Clearly technology is moving further and further towards an ability to track everything from motorised inventory to livestock, and finally humans.

The breakthrough to a co-ordinated system of control came with the development of the Global Positioning Satellite system (GPS) and its applications, developed by the market leader, Trimble Technologies of Sunnyvale, California. Albert Wheelon, a former chairman of Hughes Aircraft Corporation, remarked, "Communications satellites were the first great success in space. But GPS is going to dwarf that - GPS is going to pervade everything we do."

Scientists discovered that, since satellites maintain a stable orbit around the earth, radio signals picked up by a receiver on the ground could indicate the position of that receiver with remarkable accuracy. Initially it was the potential for navigation which first caught the imagination of commercial business, but as we shall learn, the wider applications for telecommunications and inventory control soon became evident.

According to The Futurist magazine (March/April 1996), "Telecommunications projects now constitute the number one infrastructure program around the world. The global information super-highway is a trillion-dollar project involving many nations and firms."

Researcher Terry Cook reports, "Motorola. has proposed the Iridium Project which would use a constellation of 66 satellites to cover the world. Teledesic has proposed a $9 billion system that involves 840 satellites in lower orbit. Because [of the stability] of satellite orbits, the triangulation of signals from at least four satellites, or 'ranging' as it is known, has proven to be highly accurate. Equipped with atomic clocks, these satellites can land a plane on a runway 'with centimeter accuracy'. Geologists [using satellite technology] can now measure the motion of the earth's tectonic plates down to just a few millimeters."

Commercial uses for GPS have since become widespread. Airliners, ships, haulage firms, and taxis equipped with GPS transponders make use of this technology not only for pin-point navigation, but also for inventory control purposes. Trimble has installed GPS-based Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems for 911 emergency services in Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Phoenix, Portland, Cincinnati, Chicago, Milwaukee and even Mexico City. Elsewhere across the world, similar programs have been initiated in major conurbations, providing real-time locations for ambulances, fire engines, police cars, trucks, land-diggers and bus fleets.

In Denver, Colorado, GPS receivers are used to track more than 825 buses and 95 support vehicles. In Scottsdale, Arizona, city personnel were involved in an eighteen-month project, tagging over half a million city assets against vandalism and theft - from water and utility features to lighting fixtures and mobile traffic lights.

According to The Bulletin, Bend, Oregon, "Some visionaries anticipate the day when virtually everything that moves in society - every shipping container, aircraft, car, truck, bus, farm tractor and bulldozer - will contain a microchip that will track and, in many cases, report its location. Massive computer systems, they say, will tie together the movements of assets in the economy, providing a sophisticated information system. The technology, now poised to leap into virtually every aspect of the American economy, is expected to create a $5-10 billion industry by the end of this decade and more than 100,000 jobs."

RFID Implantable Biochips

GPS technology took a quantum leap with the development of bionics capable of being tracked by satellite once implanted in animals or humans. These tiny devices, powered by a lithium battery, could be geographically detected, using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), to within inches anywhere on the surface of the planet. Lithium is employed as a miniature power-plant for the chip since it self-energises through changes in the host's body temperature. Thus the site for the implant will usually be those body parts demonstrating the greatest variations in temperature - in the back of the hand or front of the head. Lithium does have one drawback, experts say. It produces an infection when brought into contact with exposed organic tissue.

The Washington Times, 22nd May 1995, reported that in England, Prince William, second in line to the British throne and widely tipped to be the next monarch, "...was electronically 'tagged' [for security reasons] when he entered Eton [college].." In the United States, Relevance magazine discovered that "trial runs of biochip implants in children have been conducted in Florida day-care centers."

Companies such as VeriChip, Trimble, Destron Fearing, Texas Instruments, Bio-Medic Data Systems Research, GEC and others are at the forefront of this research. Sematech Corporation announced the development of their chip in 1993 that was 1/200th the size of a human hair (0.35 micron) and announced that current research was attempting to perfect a device only 0.1 micron. Sematech's chip is not an implant chip, but its partner corporation, Texas Instruments, has developed the implantable TIRIS device (Texas Instruments Registration and Identification System), which, as its corporate video sales information informs us, is now used to inventory and catalogue millions of livestock throughout the United States.

It may come as a surprise to some, but chip implants are now administered as a matter of routine. Not only farmers use them for livestock, but animal pounds and 'conscientious' owners tag everything from horses and parrots to cats and dogs and other assorted creatures. Chips are naturally capable of storing medical and vaccination data required by veterinarians, as well as even a log of the animal's fluctuations in body temperature, if required.

In Marin County, California, the City of Novato requires mandatory tagging of cats. "Overriding objections that their actions have Orwellian overtones," writes The San Francisco Chronicle, 27th April 1995, "Novato City Council members mandated early yesterday that cats have identifying microchips implanted between their shoulder blades."

The Marin Humane Society sponsored the law, noting that "since the society began a voluntary microchip identification program six years ago, the reunion rate [between owners and their lost pets] shot up by 200%."

Proponents of this new system are keen to broadcast the fact that, prior to this program, cats and dogs missing in Marin County were reunited with their owners only 14% of the time. Since implementing the scheme, the figure is now as high as 80%, with the failures being untagged pets in almost all cases.

The St Louis/Region, 3rd June 1995, sports an article headed, Mane Event - County Rangers Get Their Horses Microchip IDs. The story begins, "Queen Elizabeth II's dog has one and now, so do the St Louis County Park Rangers' horses. They're sporting a microchip injected into their necks to help identify lost or stolen pets. Each chip - about the size of a grain of rice - has a unique number that can be found with a hand-held scanner."

Selling Chip Implants to the Public

Tim Willard, of the Washington DC-based World Future Society, remarks that the public is happy to go along with the idea of implanting animals. "But just suggest something like an implant in humans and the social outcry is tremendous. While people over the years may have grown used to artificial body parts, there is definitely a strong aversion to things being implanted. It's the 'Big Brother is watching' concept. People would be afraid that all of their thoughts and movements were being monitored. It wouldn't matter if the technology was there or not, people would be worried."

The Daily Mail headline of Thursday, 24th September 1998 read:
£20 Identity Tag For Pets Microchip under the Skin of Every Dog and Cat in Britain

The angry reactions to this news however were not over civil rights, but the cost of the tags. The article explained the purpose of MP John Prescott's proposed measure: "It is designed partly to control a fast-growing problem with strays. But it is also seen as vital to the success of proposed anti-rabies laws, unveiled yesterday, which would allow pets with microchips to re-enter Britain from some countries without undergoing quarantine."

Who scoffs now that the chipping of pets will not be mandatorily applied across the board in the near future? What will happen if you refuse to have little Fifi tagged? As the bio-tagging of animals is closely sold alongside the scrapping of Britain's hated quarantine laws, few believe the measure will not be enthusiastically accepted across the country and become the staple for identifying animals and livestock in the very near future.

The quartz scanner message, 'No ID Found' will come to symbolise an 'illegal' dog or feline, possibly suffering from all kinds of health complaints hazardous to decent, law-abiding animals. Authorities will ask themselves, "Why wouldn't the owner have chipped his pet? Did he have something to hide?"

The political spin placed on the future benefits of RFID technology is already impressive. The idea of using chips to track kidnapped or runaway children is suggested by futurists and social workers every time a grotesque child abuse incident appears in the papers. In fact, human tagging has been on-going for some time. A US Marine Corps friend of mine, involved in Desert Storm, remarked that it was common knowledge at the time that implantable chips were given to volunteer GIs and their efficacy tested by satellite during the Ground War.

Paroled prisoners, Alzheimer's sufferers and convicted shoplifters have all demo-ed the ubiquitous chip, mostly in the form of a biometric bracelet or other 'fashion' accessory, so that authorities may keep tabs on their whereabouts. Is it but a short hop, skip and a jump from the bracelet to a permanent implant in the hand for the population at large?

Scientists have been melding biometrics with the awesome power of super-computers to a degree that is almost unbelievable. The technology already exists whereby over 3,000 pages of documentation can be stored on the implantable chip, information which can then be accessed by satellite or scanners linked to computers for all manner of purposes, including logging medical records, social security information - even as a replacement for cash. Today, the produce we buy is scanned for barcodes, tomorrow we may pay for our shopping at the checkouts, not with paper and coin, but by simply passing our hands over the scanner and having our accounts debited accordingly.

Technical author Maxwell Longren comments, "Everyone is touting the positive benefits of the implantable biochip. No one to my knowledge, outside of an increasingly uneasy minority, is discussing its destructive capability for abuse and control. In the past, mankind has never learned from the lessons of history. Nothing, I'm afraid, is going to change in the future. "