A human implanted with microchips
Identification cards in the making

In back issues of “Michael”, we have published several articles about the newly-proposed smart card that contains a microchip the size of a grain of rice in which the user is to record his bank account, and then debit and credit this bank account as he buys and sells. Of course, if this smart card gets lost, anyone who finds it could empty out this bank account. So it has been reported from various sources that the money of the future is to be a microchip underneath the skin — so it could not be lost!

Microchips embedded in a human

Microchips are getting smaller and smaller. The August 14, 1999 issue of the Saturday Sun of London reproduced this picture with this caption: “An ant carries a 1-mm microchip in its mandibles in a promotional photograph released by the Huddersfield University precision technology centre. The centre says it"s the first in Britain to calibrate measurements and instruments at 1/10,000th of a millimetre.

Years ago, if anyone would speak about having a microchip inserted underneath the skin of people, they would have been thought of as being far out in left field, as it could not even be imagined as something so ridiculous at that could ever happen. But today, such technology does it exist, and it is being perfected all the time.

In fact, on September 16, 2001, only a few days after the terrorist attacks in the United States, Richard Seelig, a New Jersey surgeon who serves on the board of Owings Maryland-based Medical Advisory Systems, embedded under his skin tiny computer chips that can automatically transmit personal information to a scanner, a tech- nology that his employer hopes will someday be widely used as a way to identify people. Each chip can hold several sentences of information, although at the moment, they just contain serial numbers. The new chip measures slightly smaller than a Tic Tac mint, and has a miniature antenna that emits signals containing about two paragraphs worth of data when scanned by a hand-held reader. The chip is coated with a substance that encourages the body to hold it in place.

Dr. Seelig, using a local anesthetic, used a syringe-like device to insert the chip under the skin of his forearm. He followed the same procedure to implant the chip on his artificial hip. He said he decided to test the chip himself after seeing rescuers at the World Trade Center disaster site write their names and Social Security numbers on their arms so they could be identified in case they were injured or killed at the site.

After just over two weeks, all signs of the procedure were gone. “There is no deformity of the skin,” Seelig said. “I feel just the same as I did before. It was like nothing had happened.”

The VeriChip

For the last several years, Applied Digital Solutions from Palm Beach, Florida has made available microchips that have been inserted in over one million animals to be able to track and identify them. Now on December 19, 2001, it unveiled a microchip called a VeriChip which is also about the size of a grain of rice and which contains an identification number or other data, such as medical information and a person's address and phone number. The chip is the same as the one Applied Digital's subsidiary used in animals, but VeriChip can be used in humans who have a pacemaker, artificial heart valves, or orthopedic knee devices. If a patient would need help, a hospital could use a scanner to obtain information from the VeriChip.

Applied Digital has had a patent for the chips since 1999. The new technology would make Applied Digital the first company in the United States to sell microchips designed to be implanted in human beings. The company has already won a three-year trial contract with the state of California to supply a version of the product that would track paroled prisoners in Los Angeles and alert authorities when they had violated the terms of their parole by leaving a set area. The product is already being marketed in South America, while the company seeks approval in the United States from the Food and Drug Administration, which is expected to be given within the next 18 months.

A potential market for the chips would be potential kidnap victims who could use these chips in combination with global-positioning devices. Society in general could use them in place of ATM or credit cards.

In five years, it is predicted that this new chip will be used in children, the elderly, prisoners, and by employers at facilities such as nuclear plants. Already airports are beginning to use similar micro-devices to improve security by tagging bags with more detailed instructions about how they are to be handled and screened. Automakers are installing the chips in keys to deter auto theft. Libraries are beginning to use the technology to track books. As Chris Hables Gray, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Great Falls in Montana, and author of “The Cyborg Citizen”, said: “I'd be shocked if within 10 years you couldn't get a chip implanted that would unlock your house, start your car, and give you money.”

A national identification system

At present, U.S. state motor vehicle authorities are also working on a plan to create a national identification system for individuals that would link all driver databases and employ high-tech cards with a fingerprint, computer chip, or other unique identifier. The effort by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, which would take several years to implement if approved by state and federal authorities, follows disclosures that some of the Sept. 11 hijackers used false identities or obtained driver's licenses fraudulently.

Under the proposal, every state would continue to issue driver ID's. But every license and non-driver identity card would contain the same basic information and a similar set of security features to prevent tampering and fraud, association officials said. The new proposal would seek to make such changes mandatory.

Association leaders asserted that driver's licenses “have become the 'de facto' national identification card used by law enforcement, retailers, banks, and other establishments requiring proof of identification.”

A universal identification scheme

Now it has been announced that at a United Nations meeting held on Dec. 14, 2001, it was outlined that every person in the world would be fingerprinted and registered under a universal identification scheme to fight illegal immigration and people smuggling.

The plan was put forward by Pascal Smet, the head of Belgium's independent asylum review board, at a roundtable meeting with ministers, including Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock. Mr. Smet said the European Union was already considering a Europe-wide system, using either fingerprints or eye scanning technology, to identify citizens. But he said the plan could be extended worldwide. “There are no technical problems. It is only a question of will and investment,” he said.

The other side of the coin

Although this new technology of the microchip and identification cards might seem to be a good thing for security purposes, we always have to consider the other side of the coin. Concerning the microchip, Thomas Murray, president of the Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute in New York, said: “We need to consider carefully the broader implications. Alongside the possible benefits, it has the potential to be misused by forces who do not have your interests at heart.” And civil libertarians, both conservative and liberal, believe that a card with a microchip would be used by Government authorities to track individuals without their permission.

There is no doubt that a national ID card would be a ticket to the loss of much of your personal freedom. The time could come that, without a national identification card, you will not be able to travel, nor buy on credit, nor participate in tomorrow's normal life. Police, as well as employers, will consider those who resist full disclosure of their financial, academic, medical, religious, social, and political affiliations to be suspect.

And there is another problem, which is of utmost importance for any Christian. The microchip in the ID card, which will eventually be implanted under your skin, will have the "666" numbers in it, the "Mark of the Beast" that Saint John writes about in the Apocalypse. To receive this Mark or microchip, you will have to renounce Christ, and swear allegiance to the Antichrist. It will be very hard for many to resist this offer, because it will be very difficult to survive if you cannot buy nor sell. However, it is clear that he who wants to remain faithful to Christ cannot take the Mark, for it is clearly stated that those who do will burn in hell forever.

So we must not allow ourselves to become misled when we hear about measures being promoted for tighter security. Yes, we need to have adequate security – but not at the cost of our eternal salvation!

Melvin Sickler

This article was published in the January-February, 2002 issue of “Michael”.

   

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