Sunday, April 17, 2011

Government Chips Away at Privacy

Sam Lowry, the hero of Brazil

Government Chips Away at Privacy

By Bill Britton

The Department of Homeland Security has contracted with the Digital Angel company to have its ID chips implanted in all Americans and illegal aliens. At $12 per chip and injector, the cost will total $4.8 billion, unless the government is able to negotiate a quantity discount. Veterinarians, who have implanted Digital Angel’s chips in pets and livestock for years, will be licensed for human implants. These will be free to Medicare subscribers and to those with healthcare insurance. The 50-million uninsured will pay a fee of $50 to $100.

The chip will be rebranded the Lowry Tracker, in honor of Sam Lowry, the protagonist in Terry Gilliam’s dystopian film, Brazil. The Tracker emits a 125-kilohertz radio frequency signal that transmits its unique ID number to scanners that will be installed throughout the country and in most bedrooms. The ID number then accesses a computer database containing the person's file.

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) sponsored the funding bill, which eventually passed by a slim majority in both houses of Congress. “This program will allow the government to trace the whereabouts of everyone in the U.S.,” said Kyl. “Those with incomes above $1 million per year will be exempted because they are the most trustworthy members of society, especially my colleagues on Wall Street.”

The program has alarmed some Christian fundamentalists who claim that the chips are the biblical “Mark of the Beast.” Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition, expressed her dismay at the program: “It’s just a way to get the devil under everyone’s skin. I can see it for whose families have only been here for a generation. But real Americans like me are offended by the idea. This, after we backed all those Right-Wingers and Tea Party candidates. Digital Angel? Pshaw!”

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