“It’s really no different than a tamperproof passport you can carry all
the time,” Applied Digital CEO Scott Silverman, attempting to explain
why his company’s proposal to use surgically
implanted RFID microchips to help keep tabs on immigrants is really not as
frightening as it sounds. Silverman says Applied Digital subsidiary VeriChip wants to work
with the Department of Homeland Security to develop a guest worker program
using the technology.
The VeriChip was approved by the Food and Drug
Administration for human use in 2002 but has not seen widespread usage in the
healthcare industry. By way of contrast, the company claims the VeriChip has been implanted in about 30 million animals.
In an interview on Fox News several weeks ago, Silverman said
several congressional leaders have expressed interest in the idea of using the
technology for border control.
FOOTNOTED: It turns out that the Department of Homeland
Security may not be all that keen on the idea, anyway. A DHS sub-committee
released a report Wednesday which concludes that using RFID to track people is
probably not a good idea in the first place. The report, titled “The Use of
RFID for Human Identification” by the Emerging Applications and Techology
Subcommittee, warns that potential privacy problems make the technology something the government should avoid for now. That conclusion
drew protests from the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) ,
an industry trade group. While conceding
that privacy issues exist, a spokesman for the group blamed the negative review
on “insufficient industry expertise” on the panel…
Amazing the things you learn if you read magazines
with exciting titles like Government Technology. I’m hooked.