Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Microchip implant might be used on immigrant guest workers

Originally designed as a means to access medical records, track Alzheimers patients or tag pets, the RFID technology made by Florida based Applied Digital may now be used as a method to keep track of the thousands of immigrant guest workers. According to Applied Digital's Chairman and CEO, Scott Silverman, he has been in contact with "key congressional leaders" about the application of his Radio Frequency Identification microchips as a "technology platform for the guest worker program."

Applied Digital's implants, which are about the size of a grain of rice, contain a sixteen digit ID number. That number, once scanned, can be linked to a database to provide the name and address of a pet owner or access the medical records of a critically ill patient. Some implants have also been used in nursing homes to monitor people with Alzheimer's in an effort to keep them from wandering off. Silverman believes the technology can easily be modified for use not only at the border, "but it could also be used for enforcement purposes at the employer level."

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In a interview with RFID Connections, an industry publication, Silvermen explained his pitch for the use of his microchip technology in tracking guest workers:

But being able to communicate a new application, potentially, for the VeriChip technology as it relates to the Guest Worker Program and the new immigration bill that came out of the Senate yesterday, I think it’s a relevant technology that can be used amongst other technologies to properly ensure that guest workers coming in and out of this country are properly registered, and that the enforcement that’s necessary to make the law work and the Guest Worker Program work can also take place at the employer level. So whether it’s biometrics, whether it’s a smart card of sorts, a tamper-proof visa or a VeriChip related to those things, I think the VeriChip is a very logical technology to use for that…

Silverman's company, which has lost millions of dollars over the last few years trying to sell their invasive product to a wary North American market, has been waiting for just this kind of opportunity. With the addition of former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson to their Board of directors in July of 2005, Applied Digital gained an important inside the beltway contact to help sell their plan. Thompson in fact is so taken with the technology, he announced he planned to have one of the companies medical "VeriMed" tags implanted into his arm. Normally, the chip is injected below the skin into fat tissue above the triceps muscle on a person's upper right arm.

Thompson is not the only one lobbying for the use of the microchip technology. According to Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA), Columbian President Alfaro Uribe actually floated the idea of placing chips in Columbian migrant workers wishing to become guest workers in the US. In a meeting with Specter in early April of this year Uribe is reported as telling the Senator "he would consider having Colombian workers have microchips implanted into their bodies before they are permitted to enter the United States to work on a seasonal basis." Specter replied that he "doubted whether the implantation of microchips would be effective since the immigrant worker might be able to remove them." Specters staff would not confirm whether or not microchip technology was being discussed as a part of immigration reform.

When asked if the government had in fact contracted to buy the system Silverman replied that, "No, they have not. We have talked to many people in Washington about using it as an application for a guest worker program. But we cannot say today that they have actually bought it for immigration purposes." But he is hopeful.


elRanchero said...

I was at a carne asada last week and a guy asked me "Why do anglosajones think we are animals?"

I tried to explain that white America doesn't see immigrants as animals. Guess I was wrong.

XicanoPwr said...

I will it be only one implant or two? When I went to the vet to take my dogs for their annual, they asked me if I wanted to microchip them and I was told their are two chips they implant because not all scanners read the same chip.

I told them no, I am protesting for this exact reason. Treat us like dogs.

True story, I was helping my sister move into her new apartment when I was approached and asked if I understood English because she wanted me to translate somethings to her day laborers. I am a fourth and fifth generation Texan, but in the eyes of others, I was just another "dirty Meskin." I am surprised they don't require all Hispanic to be tagged, just in case we are telling the truth.

Diana said...

RFID technology brings revolution not only in functionality of tracking systems but in healthcare, libraries and field of manufacturing etc.