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HIGHTOWER: The Subversion of VeriChip

A computer chip about the size of a dime has already been implanted into the upper backs of several people in our country. It's called VeriChip, and its future is very vague.

It's for your own good, they tell us. Your security is our only concern. You'll be safer with this ... so be still now, while we simply implant this little silicon chip in your back. It won't hurt at all.

In novels like 1984 and Animal Farm, we were warned about the invasive power of Big Brother Government to control us, and the ultimate invasion of our humanity was to be a computer chip implanted within our bodies to manipulate our movements and thoughts. But this is no novel -- it's here and now, and it's not coming from government, but from profit-making corporations.

The Los Angeles Times reports that a computer chip about the size of a dime has already been implanted into the upper backs of several people in our country, invisible to anyone but the implantee ... until a hand-held scanner is run across the chip. Yes, like a supermarket scanner reads the bar code on a bag of potato chips. Only, this bar code reveals the person's verification number and other private information that is stored in the centralized computers of a corporate database.

It's called "VeriChip," marketed by Applied Digital Solutions Inc. It's initially targeted to the families of Alzheimer's patients, who fear that their loved one will get lost. "It's a safety precaution," says one patient ... and that's understandable.

But they won't stop there? VeriChip says it will soon have an implant that connects to satellites, so they'll always know where you are ... and you need not have a disease to fit their market profile. The marketing will be based on some vague unnamed fear -- one woman who suffers no illness already has had an implant because she says, it makes her "secure" in a troubled world. Also, Applied Digital has plans to go to seniors citizens centers in Florida with a "Chipmobile," implanting seniors right on the spot. Then there are computer geeks who might simply think the chip is cool.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... Be alert -- the undoing of our liberties can come not with a bang ... but with a soothing advertising campaign.