A couple of months ago, I was doing some research for my novel (which is almost done, by the way) and came across an interesting piece of information. Since I won’t incorporate this information into my storyline, then I guess it’s time to blog about it. Gotta get it out of my head somehow, right? And maybe some of you out there can help shed some light on the topic.
But here’s the issue: the Israeli military is going to get chipped. Or chip Israeli citizens. Either way, it’s curious. By “chipped” I mean that Israel has placed an order for an implantable RFID chip marketed as Verichip. Verichip is the only FDA-approved implantable microchip for patient identification.
Verichip uses RFID technology – the same thing in your tollway speedpass or in the new U.S. driver’s licenses – to conduct information to RFID readers using radio waves. RFID isn’t a new concept, but one that privacy advocates have previously held at bay. Like in the late 1990s/early 2000, when an implantable microchip called “Digital Angel” hit the headlines. Privacy experts and watchdog groups were all over it. An implanted form of ID? No way.
So Digital Angel went undercover for a while. Here in the states, the company merged several times and changed names – and by 2002 it went by the public name Verichip Corporation (now called PositiveID Corp). Our post-9/11 culture wasn’t nearly as concerned about privacy, and Verichip gained FDA approval in 2004 and is now being used in multiple medical applications here in the United States and elsewhere (implantable glucochip sensors for diabetics, vascular catheter tracking, and electronic health record applications).
Which brings me to our topic: why is the Israeli military purchasing implantable ID chips from an American biotech company? Your comments and thoughts are welcome.
October 2011. PositiveID announced that it has received an order for its VeriChip microchip to be used for disaster preparedness and emergency management by the Israeli Military.
The VeriChip microchip was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 for patient identification. The company’s integration partner intends to provide the microchips to the Israel Defense Forces, the State of Israel’s military force.
VeriChip will assist emergency situations and disaster recovery in conjunction with modified cameras capable of wirelessly receiving both RFID scanned data and GPS data. A Web-enabled database will also support the gathering and storing of information and images captured during emergency response operations.
“Our partner is looking to help healthcare organizations, militaries including the IDF, and governments with their disaster preparedness and emergency response needs,” said Marc Poulshock, PositiveID’s vice president of business development.