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The VeriChip (product name: VeriMed ) was a passive RFID - transponder , which the implant is in living things. It was manufactured by PositiveID until 2010 .


The transponder is located in a glass cylinder about 12 mm long and 2 mm thick, which in humans is usually implanted above the triceps under the skin of the right arm. Implantation in the skin fold between the thumb and forefinger is also common. The operation is performed under local anesthesia and can easily be performed on an outpatient basis. The chip cannot be seen from the outside with the naked eye. The chip can also be worn outside of the body, as part of watches or jewelry; so it is easy to take off if necessary. Since the transponder is powered by induction , it does not require any batteries. If the chip is addressed on the correct frequency , it responds with a unique sixteen-digit sequence of numbers that can identify the carrier of the chip in a database. For example, access authorizations can be queried or medical or other documents relating to the person can be accessed.

The VeriChip is the first RFID chip approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for human implantation. FDA approval took place in 2002.

By January 2006, 68 hospitals in the United States had signed contracts to use the new technology in their emergency rooms. However, some of them have already given up on their attempts due to a lack of patient acceptance and possible invasion of privacy. The company estimates that around 2,000 people worldwide wear a VeriChip. On February 10, 2006, a monitoring company in Cincinnati first used VeriChips to control access to their data center.


Health concerns

The chip as an implant is suspected of causing cancer. In test animals (mice and rats) that were implanted with the chip for study purposes, tumor tissue has formed around the chip. The manufacturer points out that humans cannot necessarily be inferred from the laboratory animals.

Privacy, data protection

Violation of privacy by authorities: data protectionists have turned against the VeriChip and warned of possible misuse of the "sniffer chips". Authorities would be able to monitor the movement of an individual against their will, as they already do with cell phones and public surveillance cameras. If implanted chips are sufficiently widespread, they could set up reading devices in public places. Under the pretext of fighting terrorism , the city ​​of New York has already installed other types of sensors on its streets and subways without making this public. This objection can be partially countered by the fact that the chip is often not implanted, but only carried outside the body and can therefore be put down in this case. However, the wearer can be monitored while carrying out his tasks without his wanting to.

Identity theft: The information stored on the chip can be easily read and stolen. Private information can be misused. However, the user determines the type and content of the stored data.

Accessible to everyone: The VeriChip RFID implant has been shown to be unsafe. The string of characters stored in the chip is unencrypted and can be read by anyone without permission or a password. An implanted VeriChip was cloned in January 2006 for demonstration purposes. Instructions for cloning VeriChips are available on the Internet.


  • Katherine Albrecht, Liz McIntyre: Spychips. How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID. Nelson Current, Nashville TN 2005, ISBN 1-59555-020-8 (English).

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