VeriMed Implanted RFID Dogtags Studied By Military, VeriChip

VeriMed, a human-implantable VeriChip RFID chip about the size of a rice grain, is being studied by U.S. Navy and Air Force generals.

The VeriMed chip will have an encrypted 16-digit identification number. According to VeriChip spokesperson Nicole Philbin, only proprietary readers will be able to decipher the number. The information that is tied to the number depends on the system; the military has extensive personnel and medical files associated with each solder.

"The Department of Defense already has an electronic health records program, and VeriChip would like to enhance the quality of care for vets and military members," Philbin said. "There is no power source. It can't be tracked. It's not a GPS device. It contains no information other than the identification number. It's not mandatory. If a person with the device is presented to an emergency room unconscious, they may be allergic to something or have a preexisting condition, and that information is crucial."

Concerns about using an implanted chip to replace standard dogtags include concerns about whether enemies could access soldier's information and whether or not they would stand up to an explosion. According to Joe Davis, spokesperson for the Veterans of Foreign Wars office in Washington, D.C.:

They issue two dog tags," he said. "One goes around the neck and the other is laced into the boot. The foot and boot will survive an explosion. DNA from the foot in the boot will survive, plus you've got your metal dog tag right there. What type of survival rate does this little chip have in an explosion?

Although this is a somewhat macabre topic (not to mention the terrible consequences of IEDs in Iraq), implantation of RFID tags has already been proposed to prevent illegal trade in cadaver body parts - see RFID Tags Proposed To Halt Blackmarket Cadaver Trade. Also, the implantation of workers by US companies has already been documented - see US Company Implants Chips In Workers. This concern has given rise to legislation in some states - see Mandadory Microchip Implants To Be Prohibited By Law. Read more about military RFID chip implantation.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/28/2006)

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VeriMed Implanted RFID Dogtags Studied By Military, VeriChip
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