Mark Krieger logs on to his computer using a tiny microchip implanted between his thumb and forefinger. "I just swipe my hand across the reader and it puts my credientials in," says Mark.
It's called Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID. The same technology used to pay tolls and make credit card purchases. The computer programmer voluntarily inserted the device to make life easier. "It's always with me, always in my hands, and I'll never lose it," says Mark.
A chip, the size of a grain of rice, is implanted beneath the skin and encoded with a unique identifying number. When scanned, the readable chip allows access to information on everthing from products to people.
New Jersey police officer and Diabetic Bill Koretsky had a chip embedded in his arm for health reasons. When he crashed during a high speed chase, doctors accessed his medical history within minutes. "I couldn't answer all their questions fully, but they had all the information there in front of them," says Sgt. Bill Korestsky.
Verichip Corporation introduced the first human-implantable microchip and nearly one hundred hospitals nationwide now use the technology. Dr. Joseph Feldmen, Chairman of the Emergency Trauma Hackensack Medical Center said, "We're very dependent on getting rapid information on critically ill patients, which sometimes is a challenge."
But experts warn using RFID to exchange personal and financial data could compromise security. "You have the ability to have electronic pick-pockets, except you never know it, because everything is still in your wallet. It's just been stripped clean," stated Mark Rasch, Senior Vp of Solutionary Inc., a computer security firm. To prevent that Rasch said lawmakers need to set standards to keep this latest technology from chipping away at our privacy.
The cost of getting a human microchip ranges between $100 and $150 dollars. More than two hundred doctors across the country are offering the microchip to patients.