Hightower: A Nation of Cattle?
Published on Nov 10, 2004, 07:52
Have you been chipped,
You could be soon, for the Food & Drug Administration has
now cleared the way for a Florida corporation, Applied Digital Solutions,
to market a tiny electronic device called VeriChip that is surgically
implanted under the skin of your arm or hand.
Don't worry, says the
corporation soothingly, being chipped doesn't hurt you, and it's really
for your own good. For example, they say, if you have an accident, your
implanted chip could contain vital medical information that could be
accessed by an ambulance crew (assuming the crew has bought a hand-held,
chip-reading scanner, which Applied Digital also happens to
Besides, coo the corporate hawkers, being chipped is a
matter of great personal convenience for you. No longer would you have to
carry cumbersome ID cards to get into your workplace––you could have all
the required ID stored on your chip, right inside your body. And think of
the convenience of not having to fumble with credit cards! Instead, your
credit numbers literally are implanted in you, so rather than running your
cards through a scanner, a retailer can simply scan you. Talk about
consumer progress, VeriChip turns your own body––your very own self––into
a bar-coded payment system.
After all, says Applied Digital, our
country has been implanting such devices in millions of cattle and pets,
and it has worked beautifully, so why not humans? For you fussy
libertarians who see Big Brother looming behind every scientific
breakthrough like VeriChip, the company says that being implanted is
voluntary, so where's the worry?
The worry, of course, is that
being chipped will not stay voluntary. Corporations and government will
soon insist that their employees, frequent travelers, protesters, and
others be tagged for security reasons. To rebel against this effort to
turn us into a nation of cattle, call the Electronic Privacy Information
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author
of "Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush". For more information, visit jimhightower.com.