Tough sell ahead for the VeriChip implant ID system


See also: Using the VeriChip ID system to replace credit cards

Richard M. Smith (rms@computerbytesman.com)
December 27, 2001

Applied Digital Solutions faces a very tough sell for its new VeriChip implant ID system for human beings. A VeriChip is a small radio transmitter about the size of a piece of rice that is injected under a person's skin. It transmits a unique personal ID number whenever it is within a few feet of a special receiver unit. The technology is designed to replace ID systems such as company ID cards and medical emergency ID braclets. In the future VeriChips may also be used like driver licenses, passports, and credit cards.

For most folks, the idea of being injected with an electronic transmitter is just plain creepy. However for many Christians, the product will likely be rejected on religious grounds. They'll be worried that the use of the product will mean paying the ultimate price: eternal damnation in hell. VeriChip sounds too much like the Mark of the Beast which is described in the New Testament.

Here's what the Book of Revelation has to say about how a VeriChip-like systems might be used in the future:

"He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name." (Rev. 13:16, NIV Translation)
Here's why Christians will likely stay away from a product like the VeriChip:
"A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: 'If ANYONE worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." (Rev. 14:9, NIV Translation)
In a recent LA Times article, Keith Bolton, the Chief Technology Officer of Applied Digital Solutions offers his thoughts why people will be more accepting of this technology:
A Chip ID That's Only Skin-Deep

"The bottom line is, when people are trying to regain their peace of mind, they're more open to new approaches"
According to a 1997 article by Stephen Morse, concerns about the Mark of the Beast killed all discussions of a national ID card for the U.S. during the Reagan presidency:
The National ID Card: It's Baaack!

Then-Attorney General William French Smith argued that a perfectly harmless ID card system would be necessary to reduce illegal immigration. A second cabinet member asked: why not tattoo a number on each American's forearm? According to Martin Anderson, the White House domestic policy adviser at the time, Reagan blurted out "My god, that's the mark of the beast." As Anderson wrote, "that was the end of the national identification card" during the Reagan years.
The technology for the VeriChip was originally developed by Destron Fearing, a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions. Their Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) products are used to track labroratory animals and livestock and help locate lost pets like cats and dogs.