VeriChip and remote-controlled societies

Despite efforts by proponents of implantable identification microchips to popularize them, most Americans are strongly against the use of VeriChip.

The Verichip.

The Verichip.

In 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted clearance for VeriChip, an identification system using implantable Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, consisting of a handheld reader, a microchip approximately the size of a grain of rice (containing a unique 16-digit ID number), which is implanted in the right arm, and a database.

VeriChip Corporation, the producer of the microchips, considers them as a fast and secure way of accessing medical information for thousands of patients brought in emergency departments either unconscious or unable to communicate due to medical conditions.

The US and certain other countries are currently implanting these microchips in the body of infants. There has also been talk of replacing ID and credit cards with VeriChip.

However, there has been widespread opposition to the product as these microchips not only allow authorities to control ones private life, but there is also the danger of hackers getting their hands on personal information.

On the other hand, the VeriChip seems to have been only a means of distracting the public from a far more sophisticated project, conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -- the central research and development organization for the US Defense Department.

DARPA has been investing in a new implantable chip called Multiple Micro Electrode Array (MMEA); a chip which is surgically implanted directly into a human nerve or into specific area of the brain and connects the brain to a computer.

While the medical advantages of these implantable microchips cannot be denied, a grain of rice in the right arm may prove to be much more decisive.

Perhaps the Wachowski brothers were right about a computer-controlled world of the future.

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