The Implantable Chip comes to Switzerland
By Stephan Fuchs, Switzerland

  Applied Digital Solutions, a high-tech company from Palm Beach, USA, announced in a press release on November 10th 2003 that their daughter company Verichip Corporation received an order for 400 implantable chips and 34 scanners. Buyer is the swiss-russian enterprise RussGPS that has an exclusive licence to sell the implantable chip in Switzerland and Russia.
  Verichip is the first implantable micro chip in the form of a rice corn that is accessible to the wider public. After Mexico, Argentine, Brazil, Chilli, Paraguay, Uruguay and Spain, and after a broad advertisement tour in North America, the marketing of Verichip will now take place in Switzerland and Russia as well. In South America alone, some 135,000 chips and 7,650 Scanners will be distributed in the next four years. The Metro Risk Management Group (Miami, USA) is serving the markets in these countries. The company was set up in 1998 by security experts from CIA and FBI, and is specialized in anti-terrorism actions, freeing hostages and surveillance.
  The Swiss partner for Verichip is RussGPS, a daughter of The company is a joint venture of Russian investors and the Swiss internet service provider SwissWeb GmbH in Zurich. RussGPS has offices in Moscow and Zurich and is specialized in locating vehicles and persons. In a first tranche, RussGPS obliged to buying 1000 implantable chips and 100 scanners. The deal includes that RussGPS has to buy at least 5 1,000 chips and 2,600 scanners in the next five years to keep the exclusive marketing licence for the Swiss and Russian market. RussGPS plans to use Verichip mainly for security and identification. The technology itself is not new. Already for a while now, chips are implanted into cows, cats and dogs, but the implantable into humans frightens a lot of people. Already in 1999, the company Applied Digital Solutions ADS came with a product called "Digital Angel". It was announced as a chip that could be implanted under the skin of a person for numerous purposes. According to ADS, the primary use would have been for e-commerce, because every user would be able to prove his identity with such a chip, and would be able to be located by the satellite-location system GPS. GPS was built for military purposes but is used for civilian purposes as well. Richard Sullivan, director of the company, prophesied himself and the astonished media representatives a market of 100 billion dollars in North America alone.
  ADS head of development Peter Zhou compared "Digital Angel" with a vaccination: "Both save your live. When vaccinations were introduced, most people opposed them. But now we don't even think about them." Zhou went as far as stating that "Digital Angel" would become the connection between humans and the electronic world: "He will be your guardian. We will be hybrids between electronical intelligence and our own soul."
  Zhou was too euphoric. The chip that was meant to go under the skin met harsh criticism. Under the loud protest of different public-rights and Christian groups, ADS had to put the "Digital Angel" back in the drawer. The company suddenly demented, that they ever seriously had been thinking about the implementation of the product. In a scaled-down form the "Angel" is now only available as wrist watch on foot chain for children, convicts or people with Alzheimer's.
  But now the situation has changed again. Everything seems to be possible now, since citizens' wish to feel safe is boiling over since the terrorist attacks in America, and the management sees new opportunities arise.
  Verichip is a micro chip encased with glass. It has the form or a rice grain: 12 millimetres long and
2.1 millimetres in diameter, and can be implemented under the skin. It can be loaded with an alphanumeric identification code for the reliable identification of the carrier and with life-saving information, which allows doctors in the case of an accident fast and the correct help. One first thought the police in New York City, the military staff and all others who want to get a bigger feeling of security with Verichip and who would be willing to get the chip implemented. The procedure is done ambulant. A small prick and a band aid and the implant is ready and of course it is done voluntarily.
  The Verichip does not need internal, chip- integrated energy because it can be read as soon as it is recognised by a scanner that displays the undeletable identification code on scanner display ... just as in the supermarket.
  Verichip is manufactured by Raytheon Microelectronics Espana S.A., a daughter of one of the world's largest arms company, Raytheon. Two thirds of the turn-over stems from deals with the National Security Agency NSA and the US Ministry of Defence.
  It's a small step from the implantable chip for animals to Verichip. The company Destron Fearing is working in the field of animal identification since the 1950s and marketed an implantable chip for animals as early as 1987, In 1991, its radio frequency identification technology was bought by Hughes Aircraft Corporation, a US company that is specialized in battle plane and space technology. Hughes Aircraft modified the chip in its department "Hughes Identification Devices" to make the chip that can be implemented in humans. In patent terms, broadening the usage from animals to include humans is quite easy. According to evolution biology, humans are mammals, and the patent issue is solved. Don Small, vice president of Hughes Identification Devices: "If we define an animal as a mammal, then this would of course include humans." In 1997, the modified chip was bought by Raytheon, and Hughes Microelectronics Espana S.A. who produces the chips was renamed Raytheon Microelectronics Espana S.A. It now delivers the chips to Destron Fearing who after their merger with Applied Digital Solutions, is now marketing "Verichip".

Translated from the German original "Der implantierbare Chip erreicht die Schweiz" by Clara.