This is part of the background information by Sylvia Engdahl for her novel Stewards of the Flame. If you don't see a menu on the left, please click here and then on "Implanted tracking chips." Firefox users please note: Because of changes in Firefox 22 that make its rendering of font and image sizes incompatible with previous versions and other browsers, with some monitors you may need to set your zoom to 80% or 90% to see the pages of this site proportioned as they should be.

Microchips Are Already Being Implanted in Humans

When I wrote Stewards of the Flame I made up the whole idea of the implanted tracking chips. It seemed to me a likely distant-future development, considering that we now microchip cats and dogs. I wasn't aware that passive chips are already being implanted in humans, and that tracking-enabled active ones are not far off. I certainly didn't know that there are many blogs and Web pages devoted to opposing this invasion of privacy, which I have discovered only recently.

A very recent news article reveals that implanted microchips have caused cancer in mice and rats and that some doctors are therefore having second thoughts about them. Of course, the possibility that they might cause cancer is not the only, or original, objection to such chips. Christian fundamentalists (though not the majority of Christians) have been saying that they are the "Mark of the Beast" referred to in the Bible. One doesn't have to believe this to consider their widespread implantation a bad idea. And the scary thing is not so much the possibility that someday an arbitrarily-imposed law might require it, but that the public may very well come to favor such a law for health-care reasons.

Friends, we need to wake up! Implanted microchips aren't science fiction. They were approved by the FDA in 2004 and hundreds of hospitals are now using them. Once people get used to the idea that they're a good way to ensure the availability of medical information, will they not be less adverse to the thought of the government using them for whatever purposes it finds convenient? It seems that my longtime conviction that medical "benefits" are a foot in the door for tyranny is not far off base.

Update: The Verichip was taken off the market in 2010 due to lack of public acceptance, but it has been acquired by a different company and is being sold to other nations. Undoubtedly it will reappear in America before long. There's still plenty of discussion about it on the Web.

Here are a couple of videos, plus links to a few of the many sites that discuss this topic:

Human GPS Microchipping: Embrace It or Ban It?, a recent article from the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

Microchip Implants Raise Privacy Concern, AP, July 21, 2007. Appeared in many newspapers. "The company's present push: tagging of 'high-risk' patients such as diabetics and people with heart conditions or Alzheimer's disease.... Recently, there have been rumors on Wall Street and elsewhere of the potential uses for RFID in humans: the chipping of U.S. soldiers, of inmates, or of migrant workers, to name a few."

Cancer Fears Raised over Chip Implants, USA Today, September 9, 2007. (AP; also appeared in other newspapers.) "A series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had "induced" malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats.... After reviewing the research, specialists at some pre-eminent cancer institutions said the findings raised red flags."

Video: ABC News - Implanting microchips in patients

Video: Implanted microchips - "Welcome to the future"
RFID Chips - Are They the Devil's Mark? Reflections (blog), April 16, 2007. "Fears generated by these new technologies trigger emotions that may be deep-seated in the human psyche, particularly the reservoir of symbols, images, and archetypes linked to the sacred."

RFID Chip Inside -- Nice One! Fools Like Me (blog), March 16, 2007. "There is a darker side, namely the erosion of our privacy and our right to bodily integrity. After all, do you really want to be required to have a foreign object implanted in your arm just to get or keep a job?"

Human Bar Code, The News Today Online, Philippines, February 2, 2007. "There is concern among various sectors of society that this 'human bar coding' would curtail individual civil liberties and violate the person's constitutional freedom and right to privacy, confidentiality, security and safety."

U.S. Military To Be Tagged With Spychips?, August 24, 2006. "If microchip maker VeriChip has its way, the armed forces will soon be trading in their dogtags for radio-frequency identifier (RFID) microchips, implanted under the skin and containing all of their medical and personal information."

Hospitals to Start Scanning Patients for Implanted Chips,, June 17, 2006. "If the Global VeriChip Subscriber Registry becomes widespread, it could be a treasure trove of data. In fact, it could become an access tool for the planned National Health Information Network."

Microchips in Humans Inevitable, Edmonton Journal, Alberta, Canada, June 10, 2006. "We'll do it in a well-intentioned way, wanting to look after people. But like with anything, as soon as you bring in the well-intentioned application, someone will figure out the evil application."

A Chip in Your Shoulder, Slate, November 10, 2004. "Last month, the FDA approved an implantable, rice-grain-sized microchip for use in humans. The tiny subcutaneous RFID chip, made by a company called VeriChip, is being marketed as a lifesaving device. If you're brought to an emergency room unconscious, a scanner in the hospital doorway will read your chip's unique ID."

GPS Implant Makes Debut, WorldNetDaily, May 14, 2003. "Once inserted into a human, the device can be tracked by Global Positioning Satellite technology and the information relayed wirelessly to the Internet, where an individual's location, movements and vital signs can be stored in a database for future reference."

They Want Their ID Chips Now, Wired, February 6, 2002. "In future applications, the chip may include a GPS receiver and other advanced features.... But an X-Files-type scheme where everyone is forcibly marked and monitored by the government worries both civil libertarians and Christians, who believe new technologies such as biometrics and biochips may be the feared "Mark of the Beast" of Biblical lore."

Mark of the Beast? by Geoff Metcalf, January 28, 2002. "It will reduce emergency response time by immediately locating individuals in distress. The device also has the capacity to monitor the user's heart rate, blood pressure and other vital functions.... Peace of mind is a big selling point for this so-called 'advancement.' They tell us, 'Your doctor will know the problem before you do,' provided someone is monitoring your medical data when you get sick."

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