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February 20, 2007

RFID Gazette Names 25 Top Influencers in RFID Industry

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RFID Gazette lobs a stinging backhand to VeriChip Corporation in its new list of the 25 Top Influencers in the RFID Industry. The publication names VeriChip CEO Scott Silverman to its number one influencer spot, yet calls him "scary." The Gazette also strongly suggests investors do a double take before buying "CHIP" stock:

"Implanted with an RFID device (supposedly), Silverman has become the poster boy for RFID implantation (tagging) while trying to nudge top government officials into implanting his company's products into immigrants, babies, soldiers, and patients. Before you make contact with this company, you might glance through the nearly 20 pages of risk factors recently published in VeriChip's Form S-1 Registration Statement (CHIP), a requirement mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). You'll discover why investors haven't jumped on this IPO or on the idea of tagging in general (52-week range over a three-month period to date = $5.67 - $6.99 per share, although VeriChip initially set the price at $6.50-$8.50 per share)."

DHS head Michael Chertoff takes spot two on the Gazette's Top 25 list, and CASPIAN's Dr. Katherine Albrecht and I are pegged at numbers 3 and 4.

See the whole story here: http://www.rfidgazette.org/2007/02/25_top_influenc.html

- Liz McIntyre

Posted by liz at 6:14 PM | Comments (2)

February 15, 2007

RFID Journal Calls VeriChip Implant "unnecessary and a little creepy"

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The RFID brethren have kicked into self preservation mode because VeriChip Corporation's embarassing IPO launch is making them look bad. Shares of the human ID implant company began trading as "CHIP" on the NASDAQ last Friday at the low end of the expected range and went downhill from there as investors examined the company's tenuous business model.

RFID Journal is doing its best to distance the RFID industry from the stock fiasco, even calling VeriChip's human implant "unnecessary and a little creepy."

In his commentary titled "VeriChip IPO Focuses Attention on Human Implants," RFID Journal Editor Mark Roberti distinguishes "mainstream" RFID companies from the tainted human chipper by drawing the line where RFID devices are inserted into flesh. He doesn't take VeriChip to task for identifying and monitoring people through RFID. Rather, he objects to the visceral nature of the implanted product and the waves of squeamishness it evokes.

"[N]ot everyone likes the idea of getting implanted. It's the stuff of TV dramas, and it scares people, " says Roberti. "My view is that a pendant with an RFID transponder in it could work just as well."

Once he makes the distinction (RFID neckware is cool, implanted chips aren't), Roberti laments, "VeriChip's initial public offering... has had a chilling effect on some people's attitude toward RFID."

He goes on to criticize the media for recent negative press that reflects badly on the spychip industry overall. Headlines like "Implantable RFID May Be Easy, But That Doesn't Mean It's Ethical," "'Spychip' Corporation Hides Implant Risks in Stock Offering," and "RFID Chips Getting Under Few People's Skin" obviously haven't been sitting well with the Journal's advertisers.

"I don't know if VeriChip is a good or a bad investment. I don't know if getting a chip under your skin is a good or bad idea," Roberti expounds, wagging his pen in defense of his corporate sponsors. "But I do know that the undue media attention focused on this one company offering a niche application of RFID is having a negative impact on the public perception of RFID. That's unfortunate, because so few people, so far, have chosen to 'get chipped.'"

For more of Roberti's take on this IPO injustice, see:
http://www.rfidjournal.com/privacy/entry/3045

- Liz McIntyre

Posted by liz at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2007

Hitachi's "Weaponized" RFID Powder

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The picture on the left shows Hitachi's infamous mu chip, once heralded as the world's smallest RFID tag. Back in 2003, it was touted as the perfect size for embedding into currency, slipping into bullets, and even tagging humans. The siren song of this dot-sized tracker even lured the Malaysian government into buying rights to it.

One can only wonder how Hitachi's new "weaponized" RFID powder could be used and abused, if reports of its existence are true. It is supposedly 64 times smaller than the mu chip, measures in at just .05 X.05 mm, but can still hold a unique 38-digit number. Specks of this RFID powder are shown next to a human hair in the picture on the right from pinktentacle.com.

For additional information, see:
http://www.pinktentacle.com/2007/02/hitachi-develops-rfid-powder/

- Liz McIntyre

Posted by liz at 10:32 AM | Comments (2)