Jim Goldman reports in abcnews.com that Leslie and Jeffrey Jacobs and their 14-year-old son Derek will be the first people to be implanted with the new Verichip I.D. chip, which is the size of a grain of rice.
?We?re doing something that is good for mankind,? Jeffrey says. ?I feel like I?m going with the flow of nature, and doing exactly what we?re here to do to improve the problems of the world.?
The VeriChip, created by Applied Digital Solutions, is implanted under the skin. The company calls its chip a potential lifesaver for Alzheimer?s patients who may get lost, as well as an effective way for doctors to identify patients who will be otherwise unable to identify themselves. However, the new chip worries privacy rights experts, since it could enable someone to track people remotely.
Jeffrey Jacobs is disabled by Hodgkin?s disease and a serious car accident. If he?s ever found unconscious, the chip will provide instant access to his medical history and list of medications. ?It?s a great feeling,? he says. ?I can be more comfortable not having to worry about myself in case of an emergency. I have more sense of security.?
The chip holds 126 characters and is activated when a handheld scanner passes over it. As a scanner is passed over the chip, ADS Chief Keith Bolton says, ?Now it wakes up, it has power, it transmits the information. As soon as it transmits the information, it goes back to sleep. No radiation, no power source of its own, it merely sits there, waiting to be activated.?
Future versions of the VeriChip will hold up to a megabyte of programmable data, and may include a global positioning tracking feature, causing some people to worry about who will have access the data. ?The first concern is that it will fall into the hands of an evil and oppressive state,? says Laurie Zoloff, a bioethicist in San Francisco. ?If you?re thoroughly known, then you can be thoroughly controlled, because they?ll know more about you than you want to be known.?
Jeffrey Jacobs says he?s not worried about privacy issues. ?I think there?s a lot more invasion of privacy now with all of those things that are currently available on cards to the population than on something nice and private hidden in your body which can?t be stolen,? he says.
His son Derek?s chip has provoked reactions from his friends that range from ?It?s really weird? to ?Cool.? But it was Derek?s idea that his family get the chips in the first place.
?It?s brand new, it really hasn?t been done in humans,? he says. ?It may have been done in animals, but it?s a totally different story when it?s put in humans. It?s used for different purposes. It?s great technology and if you?re the first person, it?s pioneering.? ADS has already has received requests from 2,000 kids across the country who want to get implanted.
?We have received an overwhelming interest in VeriChip worldwide,? says ADS CEO Richard Sullivan. ?The demand for products that add safety and security to everyday life is particularly strong in Latin America as a result of its political, economic, and social climate.? In other words, it could be a great tracking tool if you?re kidnapped.
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