Mexican officials get RFID chips
By Will Weissert AP
MEXICO CITY — Security has reached the subcutaneous level for Mexico’s attorney general and at least 160 people in his office — they have been implanted with microchips that get them access to secure areas of their headquarters.
It’s a pioneering application of a technology that is widely used in animals but not in humans.
Mexico’s top federal prosecutors and investigators began receiving chip implants in their arms in November in order to get access to restricted areas inside the attorney general’s headquarters, said Antonio Aceves, general director of Solusat, the company that distributes the microchips in Mexico.
Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha and 160 of his employees were implanted at a cost to taxpayers of $150 for each rice grain-sized chip.
More are scheduled to get “tagged” in coming months, and key members of the Mexican military, the police and the office of President Vicente Fox might follow suit, Aceves said. Fox’s office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
A spokeswoman for Macedo de la Concha’s office said she could not comment on Aceves’ statements, citing security concerns. But Macedo himself mentioned the chip program to reporters Monday, saying he had received an implant in his arm. He said the chips were required to enter a new federal anti-crime information center.
“It’s only for access, for security,” he said.
The chips also could provide more certainty about who accessed sensitive data at any given time. In the past, the biggest security problem for Mexican law enforcement has been corruption by officials themselves.
Chips read by RFID scanners
Aceves said his company eventually hopes to provide Mexican officials with implantable devices that can track their physical location at any given time, but that technology is still under development.
The chips that have been implanted are manufactured by VeriChip Corp., a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions Inc. of Palm Beach, Fla.
They lie dormant under the skin until read by an electromagnetic scanner, which uses a technology known as radio frequency identification, or RFID, that’s now getting hot in the inventory and supply chain businesses.
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