Sunday, July 18, 2004

I Am His Highness' Dog at Kew 

Courtesy of our esteemed colleagues at An Old Soul and The Yorkshire Ranter: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security," said one eighteenth-century wag, who was told to go fly a kite and promptly did just that. But, of course, it's all in the way you frame the issue: while "giving up essential liberty" is Tired, "buying access" is definitely Wired, if not doubleplusWired. What if you could unlock a door, make a secure purchase, qualify for a loan, or skip the airport security line simply by passing your hand over a scanner? That would be worth a few insignificant trade-offs that you'd hardly ever notice, wouldn't it? When you factor in the envy of your gadget-savvy friends . . . ?

Mexico is the test market for a new technology that could allow your every movement to be effortlessly monitored:
Security has reached the subcutaneous level for Mexico's attorney general and at least 160 people in his office — they have been implanted with microchips that get them access to secure areas of their headquarters . . . .

A spokeswoman for [Mexican Attorney General] Macedo de la Concha's office said she could not comment on Aceves' statements, citing security concerns. But Macedo himself mentioned the chip program to reporters Monday, saying he had received an implant in his arm. He said the chips were required to enter a new federal anti-crime information center.

"It's only for access, for security," he said.

The chips also could provide more certainty about who accessed sensitive data at any given time. In the past, the biggest security problem for Mexican law enforcement has been corruption by officials themselves.

Aceves said his company eventually hopes to provide Mexican officials with implantable devices that can track their physical location at any given time, but that technology is still under development.

The chips that have been implanted are manufactured by VeriChip Corp., a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions Inc. of Palm Beach, Fla.

They lie dormant under the skin until read by an electromagnetic scanner, which uses a technology known as radio frequency identification, or RFID, that's now getting hot in the inventory and supply chain businesses.

The chip originally was developed to track livestock and wildlife and to let pet owners identify runaway animals.
Advertisers, by the way, love the very notion of RFID. Here's why.

UPDATE: Before we forget -- you do know about Celldar, don't you?

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