As I was watching the NBA All-Stars game last night, the commercial below for CLEAR caught my attention.
After a quick search, I also found the commercial below.
CLEAR’s tagline is, “You get you places.” It’s ingenious, really. Can you think of a better way to prove who you are than using your unique biometric data (scans of your fingerprint, retina, iris, or facial structure) to prove you, and only you, are you?
Their website promises to make your life safer, simpler, and more secure for only $179 per year. For only $50 more, you can add up to 3 family members, but children under 18 may be added to the account at no additional cost.
The timing of their ad couldn’t have been more perfect, because it helps connect all the dots between what I have recently written and material I was preparing for a new article regarding a master’s thesis I discovered in 2008.
Over the past few weeks, I have written a number of articles regarding new (5G cellular) technology that is being rolled out in 2019 and how it will help the IMF realize its goal of transitioning to a global digital economy without physical cash. JPMorgan Chase recently took a significant step toward helping the IMF attain its goal by creating the first cryptocurrency (JPM Coin) that adheres to the IMF’s approved monetary framework by basing the value of JPM Coin on an internationally recognized currency, the US Dollar.
In another article, I highlighted the promise of 5G cellular in the advancement of RFID technology, which will help former DARPA chief (and subsequent Google and Facebook employee) Regina Dugan’s vision for wearable RFID “tattoos.” All of these articles relate to research I’ve been doing for years.
In 2005, I began tracking developments surrounding implantable RFID technology. More specifically, I was tracking Applied Digital Solution’s VeriChip®. In notes I prepared for a June 5, 2005 message as pastor of Master’s Plan Church, I wrote the following:
October 13, 2004 – The FDA approved use of the VeriChip®, an RFID microchip that is non-surgically implanted under the skin, for use in providing quick, secure access to patient healthcare information.
April 1, 2005– Applied Digital’s VeriChip® Corporation Completes Acquisition of eXI Wireless.
May 19, 2005 – Because of Applied Digial’s acquisition of eXI Wireless, VeriChip Corporation, has been added to the U.S. General Services Administration schedule, GSA# GS-35-F-0144L. The GSA contract enables all Federal Government authorities, agencies and facilities worldwide to promptly purchase eXI’s products. Commenting on the company’s addition to the General Services Administration Schedule, Kevin McLaughlin, Chief Executive Officer, VeriChip Corporation, said, “This event will allow VeriChip Corporation to build on existing installations within the Federal Government…”
Yes, it’s true! Originally promoted and distributed for animals through a company called Digital Angel, a fully owned subsidiary of Applied Digital Systems, the VeriChip is now available to humans. Each person will receive a unique, password protected number that will allow access to secure data recorded in the Global VeriChip Subscriber Registry.
There are other iterations of this technology (VeriGuard, VeriTrack, VeriMed, and VeriPay), designed for security access, GPS asset tracking, health record management, and secure, cashless and card-free financial transactions.
These chips are already in use. Mexican officials have been implanted for secure access to restricted areas, and the Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain is using them for financial transactions and VIP access.
Currently, these chips pose potential health risks, such as the inability for recipients to undergo an MRI. However, I imagine it may not be long before they partner with Biophan Technologies, a company possessing biothermal battery technology that is MRI compatible.
By 2006, my attention was drawn away from implantable RFID chips to Somark Innovations’ RFID tattoos (now SensaLab), because the biblical description of an economically necessary end-times “mark” the Apostle John provided in the book of Revelation literally means a scratching or etching in the original Greek [charagma (χάραγμα)].
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. (Revelation 13:16-17 ESV – emphasis mine)
As I was updating my RFID research in 2008 and 2009 while writing These Things Must Happen, I found the master’s thesis (below) of then Lieutenant Commander Letitia D. Haynes, written in 2001.microchip_naval_document
Her title, “Implications of User Identification Devices (UIDs) for the United States Navy,” immediately grabbed my attention because my brother was a Naval officer. At the time, I’m sorry to admit I only scanned it and then forwarded a copy to my brother to see if he was aware of the paper’s contents. I was sure he could give me the inside scoop, but I never received a response. As a result, I put it to the side until a few weeks ago when I finally read it in its entirety. Frankly, I was amazed by Commander Haynes’ insights. They were nothing short of prescient.
My first conversation with Commander Haynes was February 4, 2019, which was followed by a few email exchanges for background. We discussed her work then and her work in education now, along with my recent articles and how they illustrated current events and technology aligning with her work from almost two decades ago.
She was very warm and open during our conversation, while often crediting others as the source of both her information and inspiration. As a writer, I can appreciate her deference, but I also know the work it takes to compile and organize the necessary information into coherent thoughts. Credit is due to the original sources, but her work should not be diminished.
One person she credits for both inspiration for the paper itself and some of its content is Mr. Emmett Henderson, formerly a Global Broadcast Service specialist at Naval Space Command, who believed “embedded identity schemes such as human microchip implants” should be considered for Information Dissemination Management (p. 32).
She also refers to multiple third-party sources like the PC Computing quote below (pp. 31-32).
How’d you like to avoid waiting in lines for the rest of your life? Breeze through everywhere like you owned the place. Watch lights snap on, doors open automatically, money pop out of ATMs as you approach. Never have to show an ID, buy a ticket, carry keys, remember a password. You’d leave stores loaded with packages and waltz right past the cashiers. You wouldn’t have to carry a wallet. Ever. Family and friends could find you instantly in any crowd. There’s only one catch—you’d need to have a tiny little chip implanted in your body. No big deal. (Paul Somerson, “Inside Job”, PC Computing, Oct. 1999, p. 87)
She freely admits the overarching concept of RFID uses is not her own, but I still credit her with the foresight to consider the advantages of human microchip implants (pp. 32-34 – emphasis mine).
Unlike the current physical military ID card, a military member would be unable to lose or misplace their implanted microchip, (barring its possible migration within the body). The likelihood of UID being stolen from the member would be decreased. …
The implanted microchip could replace the need to carry business financial cards and any e-transaction cards (credit, debit, smart card). There would be no need to issue government credit cards to individuals.
The implanted microchip could replace the need to handle cash.
The implanted microchip could replace driver’s license and social security cards, and health records. This type of replacement or improvement may reduce the possible misplacement of paperwork. It could also eliminate large amounts of physical space needed to maintain documents as we currently do. Military members would not have to physically carry original documents from duty station to duty station or from medical facility to civilian facilities if needed. The microchip implants could also offer a continuous record of medial history reducing human error.
The implanted microchip could replace “memorized” passwords and personal identification number (PIN) usage in all electronic aspects and in all environments. …
Perhaps telephones could passively read your positive microchip ID and transmit it to those with whom you are talking, instead of simply sending your telephone number. This could possibly be an advanced method of caller ID.
The implanted microchip could be used as a national universal identity device and every human could have one.
Notice the attention she gave to security along with the potential convenience of replacing cash and debit/credit cards.
In our email exchange, she also alerted me to a 1994 article from the Lexis-Nexis Library, News File: “Mastercard Will Support Smart Card Technology, EFT Report, Aug. 3, 1994. The program should be phased in by the end of the year 2000 and is expected to save more than $3 billion worldwide. The changeover involves cards containing the chips and terminals to read the new cards.” A current search for Mastercard’s progress shows their integration of smart cards and biometrics (like CLEAR above) happening in real time.biometric-card-merchant-educational
Well, it’s 2019 and the full integration of smart cards and biometrics is not widely accepted, even though biometrics (facial recognition and fingerprints) is gaining acceptance in the cellular marketplace for securing mobile devices.
Due to the scope of her research, she was clearly ahead of the curve as she connected the dots between implantable RFID technology, cryptography, and biometrics:
Cryptographic “sealing” or signing, can also provide protection of stored or transmitted data from unauthorized modification. …
There are three ways to authenticate a user of a system or area; by means of “something one knows”, “something one has”, and “something one is”. The most popular process of authenticating an individual user to a system is through the use of a password. For example, when one requires entry into a computer they enter username and then a “password” that only he or she has knowledge of. This password is the authenticating measure to augment the individual’s access. In the case of “something one has”, the authenticating measure usually is a physical device such as badge or a key. For “something one is”, biometrics are used such as such as an iris pattern, or a fingerprint. (p. 39)
She also did a great job of addressing potential ethics questions regarding mandatory chipping of personnel (pp. 40-45), but the greatest takeaway for me was the progression of acceptance she foresaw in her collaboration with Mr. Henderson.
After reviewing a few mandatory programs, and analyzing today’s human adaptation to technology advancements, a sequence of reactions that one may possibly expect if the U.S. military were ever to implement a mandatory microchip implant program would be (in order):
- Fear and loathing
- Being uncomfortable
- Demand (the high point of acceptance)
Perhaps demand may continue to increase; “the populace will demand the services because they cannot maintain the quality of life they desire without them” (quote attributed to Mr. Henderson).
In my opinion, society is well on its way to being comfortable with and understanding the technology, but I’m not sure we’ve reached any level of comfort with the perceived potential for health and security risks or invasions of privacy in general associated with RFID implants. Although there is a growing awareness and acceptance in some sectors, the broader public still needs more time.
As companies like Mastercard and CLEAR promise a safer, simpler future, the gap between understanding to demand is closing rapidly. They make it very appealing.
Maybe Mastercard and CLEAR’s biometric technology is not the final stop because it’s still (potentially) susceptible to system hacks or fraud. What if they used dual-factor authentication?
Consider how secure a future system would be if it combined the unique biometrics we each possess for personal identification with a unique cryptographic “key” embedded in a visible or invisible RFID tattoo for account authentication. Like an implanted device, the tattoo could not be lost or stolen, and the same reader could scan a face, iris, or retina while scanning a tattoo on the forehead, or it could scan a fingerprint while scanning a tattoo on the hand. Convenience and virtually impenetrable security…
The technology is here and available now, and before too long it will be in demand because of ad campaigns like CLEAR.
The reason I continue to connect the dots between the advancement of technology and the push for acceptance by companies like Mastercard and CLEAR or global institutions like the IMF is due to the eternal impact it could have on the unsuspecting.
If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb” (Revelation 14:9-10 ESV).
We may still be many years away from a global system that will force allegiance or deny access to goods and services, but everyone needs to know the signs of the times. Don’t be deceived by the lure of ease and security. Life is short. Eternity is not.