Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Security: What Price Will We Pay—And For What?

How much does the government want to watch everybody? Well, given the latest revelations about drone aircraft being purchased by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, the stringent new regulations about drivers’ licenses, quite a bit. Security is the big growth business, these days. Below are three related postings about Homeland Security, big business, and government grasping.

Here’s an article about the “revolving door” for Homeland Security muckymucks going to work for security-focused companies:

Sunday, June 18, 2006 - 12:00 AM

Ex-security officials rake it in

By Eric Lipton
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Dozens of members of the Bush administration's domestic-security team, assembled after the 2001 terrorist attacks, are collecting bigger paychecks in different roles: working on behalf of companies that sell security products, many directly to the federal agencies the officials once helped run.

At least 90 officials at the Department of Homeland Security or the White House Office of Homeland Security — including the department's former secretary, Tom Ridge; the former deputy secretary, Adm. James Loy; and the former undersecretary, Asa Hutchinson — are executives, consultants or lobbyists for companies that collectively do billions of dollars' worth of domestic-security business.

More than two-thirds of the department's most senior executives in its first years have moved through the revolving door.

That’s not a good sign, since DHS just rode out a storm over pedophiles working at the agency. Neither is an AP story about how police and federal cops are simply buying telephone records from commercial brokers. I’m grateful to Elaine F. for sending this on to me.

Jun 20, 2005
AP: Police got phone data from brokers
Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Numerous federal and local law enforcement agencies have bypassed subpoenas and warrants designed to protect civil liberties and gathered Americans' personal telephone records from private-sector data brokers.
The law enforcement agencies include offices in the Homeland Security Department and Justice Department - including the FBI and U.S. Marshal's Service - and municipal police departments in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Utah.
The FBI's top lawyers told agents as early as 2001 they can gather private information about Americans from data brokers, even information gleaned from mortgage applications and credit reports, which normally would be off-limits to the government under the U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act.
FBI lawyers rationalized that even though data brokers may have obtained financial information, agents could still use the information because brokers were not acting as a consumer-reporting agency but rather as a data warehouse.
© 2006 The Associated Press.

And, finally, this piece which comes from a peace group up in Pierce County, WA (and thank you, George H., these emails are great). This piece, about RFID tags, reminds me of the way the Nazis identified Jews and homosexuals—a simple RFID chip is so much more pleasing, isn't it? No more sewing, no more color clashes, just zip! and you're identifiable by anyone with a scanner. Philip Dick died too soon.

Subject: VeriChip CEO wants to use RFID to 'chip' immigrants
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 07:17:44 +0000

NEWS & INTERVIEW: VeriChip CEO wants to use RFID to 'chip' immigrants

[The web site Spychips.com has reported that the chairman of the VeriChip
Corporation is promoting the idea of "chipping" immigrants with RFID tags
under their skin as a way of tracking them.[1] -- "He appeared on the Fox
News Channel earlier this week, the morning after President Bush called for
high-tech measures to clamp down on Mexican immigrants," Spychips noted in
mid-May. -- Posted below is the transcript of the interview with Scott
Silverman, who was "chipped" himself about three years ago so as to better
advertise his product.[2] -- Thanks to Tom McCarthy for sending these



For immediate r elease


** Company Pushes RFID Implants for Immigrants, Guest Workers **

May 18, 2006


Scott Silverman, Chairman of the Board of VeriChip Corporation, has alarmed
civil libertarians by promoting the company's subcutaneous human tracking
device as a way to identify immigrants and guest workers. He appeared on
the Fox News Channel earlier this week, the morning after President Bush
called for high-tech measures to clamp down on Mexican immigrants.

Privacy advocates Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre are warning that a
government-sanctioned chipping program such as that suggested by Silverman
could quickly be expanded to include U.S. citizens, as well.

The VeriChip is a glass encapsulated Radio Frequency Identification tag that
is injected into the flesh to uniquely number and id entify people. The tag
can be read silently and invisibly by radio waves from up to a foot or more
away, right through clothing. The highly controversial device is also being
marketed as a way to access secure areas, link to medical records, and serve
as a payment device when associated with a credit card.

"Makers of VeriChip have been planning for this day. They've lost millions
of dollars trying to sell their invasive product to North America, and now
they see an opportunity in the desperation of the people of Latin America,"
Albrecht observes.

VeriChip's Silverman bandied about the idea of chipping foreigners on
national television Tuesday, emboldened by the Bush Administration call to
know "who is in our country and why they are here." He told "Fox & Friends"
that the VeriChip could be used to register guest workers, verify their
identities as they cross the border, and "be used for enforcement purposes
at the employer level." He added, "We have talked to many people in
Washington about using it. . . ."

Silverman is reportedly also planning to share his vision on CNBC's "Squawk
Box" if a slot opens up tomorrow (Friday) morning sometime between 6 and 9
a.m. Eastern Time. He was originally scheduled to appear on the show this
morning, but technical problems at the Florida studio prevented his

The numbering and chipping of people seems like a plot from a dystopian
novel, but the company has gotten the buy-in from highly placed current and
former government officials, including Columbian President Alvaro Uribe. He
reportedly told Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) that he would consider having
microchips implanted into Colombian workers before they are permitted to
enter the United States to work on a seasonal basis.

"The mantra 'chip the foreigners' has little appeal once people realize the
company wants to stamp its 'electronic tattoo' into every one of us,"
cautions McIntyre. "Electronically branding and tracking visitors like
cattle is VeriChip's excuse to get the government on board. But if that
happens, we'll all be in their sights."

Tommy Thompson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services joined the
board of VeriChip Corporation after leaving his Bush administration cabinet
post. Shortly thereafter, he went on national television recommending that
all Americans get chipped as a way to link to their medical records. He
also suggested the VeriChip could replace military dog tags, and a spokesman
boasted that the company had been in talks with the Pentagon.

Privacy advocates warn that once people are numbered with a remotely
readable RFID tag like the VeriChip, they can be tracked. Once they can be
tracked, they can be monitored and controlled.

Albrecht and McIntyre, the authors of *Spychips: How Major Corporations and
Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID* believe the world's
people will stand firm against chipping. "Our country was founded on
principles of freedom and liberty. We're betting that the American people
will see the end game and buck VeriChip's attempts," said Albrecht. "We
also believe the people of Latin America will rise up in opposition once
they read our book."

The Spanish language version of *Spychips* will be hitting shelves across
Latin America next month.


*Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track your Every
Move with RFID* (Nelson Current) was released in October 2005. Already in
its fifth printing, *Spychips* is the winner of the 2006 Lysander Spooner
Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty and has received wide critical
acclaim. Authored by Harvard doctoral researcher Katherine Albrecht and
former bank examiner Liz McIntyre, the book is meticulously r esearched,
drawing on patent documents, corporate source materials, conference
proceedings, and firsthand interviews to paint a convincing -- and
frightening -- picture of the threat posed by RFID.

Despite its hundreds of footnotes and academic-level accuracy, the book
remains lively and readable according to critics, who have called it a
"techno-thriller" and "a masterpiece of technocriticism."

The Spanish-language version of *Spychips*, titled *Chips Espias*, will be
available in bookstores in the Americas and Spain starting June 6, 2006


[Transcript of "Fox & Friends" interview with Scott Silverman, Chairman of
the Board of VeriChip Corporation.The interview took place Tuesday May 16,
2006, between 6 and 7 AM on the Fox News Channel.]

[May 2006]


TIKI BARBER, co-anchor: All right now, could implanting a microchip into
guest workers coming into the U.S. solve our illegal immigration problem?

BRIAN KILMEADE, co-anchor: Here to tell us right now why this is a viable
solution that might be used very shortly, Scott Silverman, CEO and Chairman
of Applied Digital. Scott, where is this being used right now?

Mr. SCOTT SILVERMAN (Chairman & CEO, Applied Digital): Well, this chip
today is being used for medical applications, to identify high-risk medical
patients and their medical records in an emergency and clinical situation.
The chip itself was approved by the FDA several years ago as a class-two
medical device, specifically for that application. But obviously, it can be
applicable for the immigration issues we face today as well.

KIRAN CHETRY, co-anchor: And we're going to take a look at it right now.
You have the little chip, and it's next to a penny, so we can see just how
small that chip would be. And you have one in you, so le t's go ahead and
just sort of explain how it would happen.

Mr. SILVERMAN: That's correct. My chip is in the upper right arm; it's
been there for about three years. It's a simple injection process just like
getting a shot of penicillin.

BARBER: OK. Now how exactly does it work? What does the chip actually
contain on it?

CHETRY: OK, so it -- I guess you can just run this over his arm, and it
comes up.

Mr. SILVERMAN: Well, the chip itself has a unique, 16-digit identification
number, and then through a serial port -- if I can. Kiran, on the bottom of
the scanner. Through a serial port, it attaches to a computer, where a
database would pull up and the medical application -- your medical records.
But in the immigration application, the registration of a guest worker
legitimately here in the United States, that could be used at the border.
But it could also be used for enforcement purposes at the employer level.

KILMEADE: What if you don't want it in your body? Do you have a choice?

Mr. SILVERMAN: Absolutely. It's an election on the part of the immigrant
or an election on the part of the government, when we ultimately define what
that technology is that no one has defined yet.

KILMEADE: Has the government bought this from you and said this is going to
be the new immigration policy?

Mr. SILVERMAN: No, they have not. We have talked to many people in
Washington about using it as an application for a guest worker program. But
we cannot say today that they have actually bought it for immigration

BARBER: Now, a lot of people would say that's it's dangerous, that it's
invasive, it could be used to infringe on our civil liberties by tracking
us. But this is not what this is all about.

KILMEADE: Sort of like "Wild Kingdom," right?

Mr. SILVERMAN: No, that's correct, Tiki. This is not a locating device;
this has no GPS capabilities in it whatsoever. It is purely an
identification device that reads a unique 16-digit identifier with a
proprietary scanner within a very short range. It's a passive device with
no power source under the skin that ties to a database where the relevant
information is stored.

KILMEADE: Tiki knows the Secretary of State. Maybe Tiki can get this
contract for Scott. Tiki, maybe you can get a cut back. You know, you're
not going to be playing forever.

CHETRY: That's how people get arrested in Florida, Brian.

BARBER: Exactly.

CHETRY: But it is an interesting phenomenon. I don't know how comfortable
even if you asked me or Tiki or Brian if we would be willing to do it. It
just seems, like -- it seems scary.

KILMEADE: If I wanted to come to the United States, chip me to death!

BARBER: But it really is no different than having a passport and having a
way to identify yourself. T his just is a way that you won't lose it.

Mr. SILVERMAN: Yeah. It's a benefit to the person that's in the guest
worker program, because if you leave your card at home or you leave it at
your work, you're not going to be able to go back and forth across the

KILMEADE: It's like permanently putting a string on your finger to remind
you of something.

Mr. SILVERMAN: Correct. That's correct.

CHETRY: It's quite interesting, so, keep us posted if there's more interest
in it. Thanks, Scott.

Mr. SILVERMAN: Thank you very much. Pleasure meeting you this morning.

KILMEADE: Especially if you get really rich.

Mr. SILVERMAN: OK. Thanks.

BARBER: Thanks for joining us.

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