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'Digital Angel' set
to fly soon

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 06/14/2001 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

Beginning July 15, Applied Digital Solutions will begin beta testing on humans an implant technology capable of allowing users to emit a homing beacon, have vital bodily functions monitored and confirm identity when making e-commerce transactions.

The first production run of “Digital Angel?” devices has begun, the Florida-based, NASDAQ-traded company has announced.

While the manufacturers of the technology bill it as a potential lifesaver, others fear the advent of the device threatens personal privacy – and even raises the ugly specter of the Bible’s “mark of the beast.”
Applied Digital Solutions, an e-business-to-business solutions provider, acquired the patent rights to the miniature digital transceiver it has named “Digital Angel?.” The company plans to market the device for a number of uses, including as a “tamper-proof means of identification for enhanced e-business security.”

Digital Angel? sends and receives data and can be continuously tracked by global positioning satellite technology. When implanted within a body, the device is powered electromechanically through the movement of muscles and can be activated either by the “wearer” or by a monitoring facility.

“We believe its potential for improving individual and e-business security and enhancing the quality of life for millions of people is virtually limitless,” said ADS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sullivan. “Although we’re in the early developmental phase, we expect to come forward with applications in many different areas, from medical monitoring to law enforcement. However, in keeping with our core strengths in the e-business to business arena, we plan to focus our initial development efforts on the growing field of e-commerce security and user ID verification.”

Dr. Peter Zhou, chief scientist for development of the implant and president of DigitalAngel.net, a subsidiary of ADS, told WorldNetDaily the device will send a signal from the person wearing Digital Angel? to either his computer or the e-merchant with whom he is doing business in order to verify his identity.

But e-commerce is only one field to which Digital Angel? applies. The device’s patent describes it as a rescue beacon for kidnapped children and missing persons. According to Zhou, the implant will save money by reducing resources used in rescue operations for athletes, including mountain climbers and skiers.

Law enforcement may employ the implant to keep track of criminals under house arrest, as well as reduce emergency response time by immediately locating individuals in distress.

The device also has the ability to monitor the user’s heart rate, blood pressure and other vital functions.

“Your doctor will know the problem before you do,” said Zhou, noting peace of mind is possible for at-risk patients who can rest in the knowledge that help will be on the way should anything go wrong.

Indeed, peace of mind is Digital Angel?’s main selling point.

“Ideally,” the patent states, “the device will bring peace of mind and an increased quality of life for those who use it, and for their families, loved ones, and associates who depend on them critically.”

Referring to the threat of kidnapping, the patent goes on to say, “Adults who are at risk due to their economic or political status, as well as their children who may be at risk of being kidnapped, will reap new freedoms in their everyday lives by employing the device.”

Digital Angel?’s developer told WND demand for the implant has been tremendous since ADS announced its acquisition of the patent.

“We have received requests daily from around the world for the product,” Zhou said, mentioning South America, Mexico and Spain as examples.

One inquirer was the U.S. Department of Defense through a contractor, according to Zhou. American soldiers may be required to wear the implant so their whereabouts and health conditions can be accessed at all times, said the scientist.

But for critics, military use of the implant is not at the top of their list of objections to the new technology. ADS has received complaints from Christians and others who believe the implant could be the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

The Book of Revelation states all people will be required to “receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark.” (Rev. 13: 16-17)

In an increasingly cashless society where identity verification is essential for financial transactions, some Christians view Digital Angel?’s ID and e-commerce applications as a form of the biblical “mark of the beast.”

But Zhou dismisses such objections to the implant.

“I am a Christian, but I don’t think [that argument] makes sense,” he told WND. “The purpose of the device is to save your life and improve the quality of life. There’s no connection to the Bible. There are different interpretations of the Bible. My interpretation is, anything to improve the quality of life is from God. The Bible says, ‘I am the God of living people.’ We not only live, we live well.”

Sullivan, responding to religious objections to his product, told WorldNetDaily no one will be forced to wear Digital Angel?.

“We live in a voluntary society,” he said. According to the CEO, individuals may choose not to take advantage of the technology.

Zhou alluded to some Christians’ objection to medicine per se, adding such opposition wanes when the life-saving, life-improving benefits of technology are realized.

“A few years ago there may have been resistance, but not anymore,” he continued. “People are getting used to having implants. New century, new trend.”

Zhou compared Digital Angel? to pacemakers, which regulate a user’s heart rate. Pacemakers used to be seen as bizarre, said Zhou, but now they are part of everyday life. Digital Angel? will be received the same way, he added.

Vaccines are another good comparison, said the scientist, who noted, “Both save your life. When vaccines came out, people were against them. But now we don’t even think about it.”

Digital Angel?, Zhou believes, could become as prevalent as a vaccine.

“Fifty years from now this will be very, very popular. Fifty years ago the thought of a cell phone, where you could walk around talking on the phone, was unimaginable. Now they are everywhere,” Zhou explained.

Just like the cell phone, Digital Angel? “will be a connection from yourself to the electronic world. It will be your guardian, protector. It will bring good things to you.”

“We will be a hybrid of electronic intelligence and our own soul,” Zhou concluded.

ADS, DigitalAngel.net’s parent company, received a special “Technology Pioneers” award from the World Economic Forum for its contributions to “worldwide economic development and social progress through technology advancements.”

The World Economic Forum, incorporated in 1971 with headquarters in Geneva, is an independent, not-for-profit organization “committed to improving the state of the world.”

When delivery and beta testing begin tomorrow, it will enlist the support of a limited number of pre-registered subscribers and end users and last for a period of 90 days.

For correction to this story, read ‘Digital Angel’ not pursuing implants

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