Ohio company embeds RFID chips in employees

Published 15 February 2006

This may be taking controlled access or business continuity or personnel management too far: Cincinnati, Ohio-based CityWatcher.com, a private video surveillance company, has embedded silicon chips in two of its employees — the first known case in which U.S. workers have been tagged electronically as a way of identifying them. The company said it was testing the technology as a way of controlling access to a room where it holds security video footage for government agencies and the police. Embedding slivers of silicon in workers is only going to add to the controversy over RFID technology, seen as one of the next big growth industries. Sean Darks, CEO of CityWatcher, does not agree, saying that the glass-encased chips were like identity cards. They are planted in the upper right arm of the recipient, and “read” by a device similar to a cardreader. “There’s nothing pulsing or sending out a signal,” said Darks, who has had a chip in his own arm. “It’s not a GPS chip. My wife can’t tell where I am.”

Delray Beach, Florida-based VeriChip, the company which made the devices and claims to have the only chips that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said the implants were designed primarily for medical purposes. So far around 70 people in the United States have had the implants, the company said.

-read more in this story; and see the Web sites of CyberWatch | VeriChip