November 29, 2004

VeriChip RFID Implants in Mexican Attorney General's Office Overstated
Dozens of news outlets unwittingly repeated overblown figure, says CASPIAN

News reports earlier this year indicated 160 employees in the Mexican Attorney General's Office had been implanted with Verichip RFID devices. New information indicates that only 18 individuals received the device, said Katherine Albrecht, Founder and Director of CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering).

"Our concern is that dozens of news outlets have repeated the inflated number, which has reached the level of an urban legend," Albrecht observed. "I myself have repeated the erroneous figure in several media interviews, and I want to set the record straight."

Albrecht stumbled upon the discrepancy while following up on the story this fall. "I contacted the Attorney General's office to get some additional information on the chipping. A foreign press official sent me a transcript of a Televisa Mexican television interview with an IT executive from the Attorney General's office. In the interview, he clearly states that only 18 employees were chipped."

Albrecht, fluent in Spanish, transcribed the interview and later followed up to verify its accuracy. Since her discovery, several reporters have independently verified that the Attorney General's office places the official figure at 18. Albrecht's translation of the interview is posted at the organization's website.

"Even Applied Digital Solutions, the creator of the VeriChip, cites the incorrect figure on their website. We have tried to contact the company to alert them to this situation, but they have not returned our calls," said Albrecht.


Interview Excerpts

CASPIAN has posted the complete translated interview with Marco Huitron of the Mexican Attorney General's Office.  Here are a few salient excerpts:

TELEVISA: In the case at hand, how many PGR officials are we talking about who have this implanted or are going to get it implanted?

JUSTICE OFFICIAL: The Access Control System, the identification to access restricted areas, is only for government officials, there are a total of 18 chips that we have for that purpose.


TELEVISA: Sir, then only 18 officials of the PGR have this chip and they are the only ones who can access the Information Center?

JUSTICE OFFICIAL: This chip is for access control, it is only used by 18 government employees.

JUSTICE OFFICIAL: The system consists of sensors to read the chips, the 18 chips that are implanted in the government employees, and a control system that allows them to be enabled or disabled.

The press has widely reported the 160 figure

The following are just some of the publications stating that 160 members of the Mexican Attorney General's staff were implanted with the VeriChip ID device. (We at CASPIAN repeated the error ourselves in a July press release.)

  • Washington Post
  • USA Today
  • Associated Press
  • Wired
  • CNN
  • Business Week
  • EE Times
  • Newsday
  • Investor's Business Daily
  • InformationWeek
  • New Scientist
  • ComputerWorld
  • San Jose Mercury News
  • Dallas Morning News
  • San Diego Union Tribune
  • The Independent (London)
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • InfoWorld
  • Atlanta Journal and Constitution
  • TechWeb
  • Slashdot
  • Portsmouth Herald
  • Houston Chronicle
  • Daily Record, Glasgow, Scotland
  • FreeRepublic
  • CCN (Canadian Corporate News)
  • TechNation
  • The Register UK
  • Security Pipeline
  • Cryptogon
  • PC Plus
  • The New American
  • Dubuque Telegraph Herald
  • Times Colonist (British Columbia)
  • Calgary Herald
  • Edmonton Journal (Alberta)
  • Daily Record
  • IT News
  • RFID News
  • RFID Gazette
  • IT News (sponsored by Microsoft)
  • Daily Wireless

VeriChip maker, Applied Digital Solutions, boasts inaccurate figure

Applied Digital Solutions, the maker of the VeriChip, has posted several press accounts containing the 160 figure on its website. There were three such stories on the company's website on November 29, 2004.

Screen capture from Applied Digital Solutions' VeriChip website. The page showcases a Business Week article stating that 160 Mexican officials were implanted with the company's VeriChip device. However, only 18 officials were implanted with the VeriChip device.


home | overview | faq | blog | press | get involved | about us

The Spychips website is a project of CASPIAN, Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering.
2003-2007 Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre. All Rights Reserved.