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Some High-Tech Mavericks Having RFID Chip Implants

Bennett Cunningham/ CBS | April 19 2006

Imagine being able to turn on any device or open any door all with the wave of your hand. Sounds like something straight out of ‘Star Trek’, but its here and now for a growing number of high-tech mavericks.

No more hassling with house keys for Amal Graafstra. Now the key to opening his door is always at his fingertips!

Graafstra explains, "There's a small three millimeter by thirteen millimeter glass RFID tag in both the right and left hands."

He has radio frequency identification microchips implanted in his hands! When used with RFID readers, they allow him to control devices around his house. Graafstra says, "I can get in my front door, in my car door, and log into my computer."

Mikey Sklar is ‘chipped’ too.

RFID is already out there to help people pay on the fly, track shipments and locate lost pets.

Alex Pang with the Institute for the Future says hi-tech worshipers are taking the next step, "They want to experiment with it now, though sometimes using themselves as the experimental subjects."

The whole thing is experimental, because the FDA hasn't approved Mikey and Amal's chips. In fact, there's only one device that’s been given the o.k. for human implantation, and it's for medical purposes.

Both men bought their chips online and convinced surgeon friends to do the implants. "I'm not worried about any kind of ill effects," Graafstra said.

The FDA warns of risks like rejection or infection with any RFID implants. And, the agency hopes "the physicians performing these procedures are doing so under proper clinical circumstances."

"There is a potential for a security problem," according to privacy expert Liz McIntyre. She says there's proof hackers can clone RFID chips, "...and get into your home or your computer, and potentially a secure door in your workplace."

If people go further and program tags with personal information, Pang says identity theft becomes a concern. If you think replacing a credit card is a hassle, "You can imagine if you have a tag in your body, getting that changed is a surgical procedure rather than a number of phone calls."

As for the company that sells the chips, it has a large disclaimer on its site stating the chips are not intended for human implantation or medical use.


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