Sherrie Gossett is associate editor for Accuracy in Media and a contributing reporter for WorldNetDaily. Her original news stories have been widely cited by the press, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Herald, Agence France-Presse, London Times, Fox News and Inside Edition. She is based in Washington, D.C. More ↓Less ↑
In e-mail communications to WorldNetDaily, public relations representative Matthew Cossolotto charges, “Your reporters always seem to get the story wrong … perhaps because they never bother to check on the facts before going to press,” even suggesting that WND reporters “intend on getting it wrong to sensationalize the story.”
Referring to the most recent of WND’s stories on implanted biochips, “Digital Angel lands in China,” published March 28, Cossolotto wrote to WND Editor Joseph Farah that the story contained information that was “simply incorrect and [reporter Sherrie] Gossett (and WND) must be aware it’s completely false.”
However, all quotes by ADS executives and partners that appeared in the article, as well as all business information pertaining to the company’s business ties to China, were taken directly from two ADS press releases.
Ironically, despite Cossolotto’s accusatory e-mails, Applied Digital Solutions’ website posted the China article in its “Interviews and Articles” section of recommended reading, where investors can glean key information about the company from media coverage.
Cossolotto singled out the following passage in the China article as allegedly being false: “As WorldNetDaily first reported, Digital Angel is a sophisticated, miniaturized tracking device intended by its manufacturer for subdermal implantation in large numbers of human beings.”
Since Sept. 11, the company has aggressively marketed a syringe-injectable biochip, the size of a grain of rice, called VeriChip. However, Digital Angel, a more complex device – that the company says is trackable via Global Position System – is currently being promoted in its externally “wearable” form only. And while ADS freely and enthusiastically promotes the implantable VeriChip – which can be read by a scanner from a few feet away – it apparently now refuses to admit publicly that the company fully intends, as it once freely stated in its promotional materials and website, that the sophisticated Digital Angel tracking chip one day will be implanted in human beings.
And judging by the $100 billion worldwide market the company has said it envisions for Digital Angel, it is contemplating implantation in large numbers of human beings.
Indeed, the central controversy that has plagued Digital Angel is the fact that, although human implantation and widespread use were key elements of its strategic marketing plan from early on, the company apparently did not anticipate the level of criticism it would receive from civil-liberties and Christian groups.
The resulting protests made strange bedfellows of the ACLU, who called the implantable chip “an outrage,” the Black Radical Congress, which called it “a fascist technology,” Christians, for whom it was disturbingly close to the biblical “mark of the beast” foretold in the book of Revelation, and privacy advocates.
Thus, two weeks prior to the unveiling of the first prototype before potential investors and Wall St. analysts – and in the wake of protests over proposed human implantation – the company quickly removed all information on its website that referred to development of the chips for human implantation. The deleted information included a reference to “future versions” of the chip for human implantation, and the need to wait for “FDA approval.” Company executives were directed to stop using the phrase “cashless society” and to use the euphemism “tamper-proof” instead of “implanted.”
Only since 9/11 and the nation’s newfound urgency over security and safety have ADS executives again begun to openly use the term “cashless society” and “human implantation.”
ADS press release, Dec. 15, 1999: “ADS Acquires the rights to World’s First Digital Device – Implantable in Humans – With Applications In E-Business To Business Security, Health Care And Criminal Justice.
“… Inserted just under the skin … miniature Digital Angel has multi-billion dollar market potential. … The implantable transceiver sends and receives data and can be continuously tracked by GPS. … When implanted within a body, the device is powered electromechanically through the movement of muscles. … We plan to focus our initial development efforts on the growing field of e-commerce security and user ID verification. … The company expects to create a working prototype by the end of next year.”
Digital Angel Web page, dated Oct. 26, 2000 (since removed from the Web), referring to the partnership with Princeton University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology: “This relationship has helped implement an accelerated schedule for delivering a working prototype,” the site said. The scientists had worked on “reception of GPS satellite signals, information transmission to ground stations, antenna size” and “body tissue absorption,” the latter being a clear reference to development of the chip for implantation.
Digital Angel web page, dated May 20, 2000, now preserved in the Internet Archive “Wayback Machine.” “The Digital Angel transceiver can be implanted just under the skin or hidden inconspicuously on or within valuable personal belongings. … When implanted within the human body, the transceiver is powered electromechanically through the movement of muscles.”
‘See you at the show’
In an e-mail exchange with Dr. Peter Zhou, president of Digital Angel.net, dated Oct, 27, 2000, this reporter wrote: “I had another question re: e-commerce applications. If I understand correctly, your system would probably be more reliable than conventional computer access systems, such as passwords and so on, because these systems can be hacked into. The security mechanisms currently in usage reside within the machine, rather than the person. … So your system would probably negate the need for utilizing multiple security techniques. … Is it possible that Digital Angel, in this application, could simplify this issue by becoming a universal and superior standard in computer access security? … Any thoughts on this?”
Zhou responded by e-mail: “You understand and describe the concept very well. See you at the show!”
“And let me be very clear on one important point,” said the CEO. “The potential marketplace I’m talking about is for an attachable device … something worn on the outside … close to the skin.” Despite the fact that seven days earlier, his website had displayed extensive information about development of the chip for human implantation, and that McKinsey & Co. consultants had prepared a marketing projection for a whopping $70 billion market in the U.S., Sullivan contended, “We’re not planning on or even considering any other application at this time. Only external uses! All of our energy … all of our focus … all of our effort is in this direction. Period. Any other approach or suggestion is purely hypothetical speculation at this time.”
During an interview the morning after the event, Oct. 31, 2000 at 10:40 a.m., in his suite at the New York Palace Hotel, Sullivan clarified his reference to “hypothetical speculation.” With Cossolotto present, the CEO said, “Some may have speculated that [human implantation], but that’s not the case.”
But was human implantation ever planned by ADS, and if so, at what point did they change their mind and course?
Sullivan answered: “That was never the business intention of Applied Digital Solutions.”
‘Large numbers of human beings’
As for the issue of the implantable chips being intended for use in “large numbers of human beings,” the company has recommended and promoted their products’ use in the following applications:
Medical monitoring, tracking of Alzheimer’s victims and autistic persons, heart patients, persons with heart regulating devices, medical implants, or prosthetic devices
Law enforcement, including use in prisoners, parolees, persons under house arrest and individuals in witness-protection programs
E-commerce security/user verification: “Requiring this ID for logon would prevent unauthorized access”
Per the Palm Beach Post, ADS is pushing for the chip to be implanted in all foreigners entering the country, claiming it could replace green cards
Airline workers, nuclear power plant workers and employees of other “sensitive industries”
Implantation in children and the elderly
Gun control – “prevention of unauthorized use of firearms”
Potential kidnapping victims, such as diplomats and top corporate executives
The list is so long and vast, it easily comprises millions of people. In fact, Sullivan said he expects Digital Angel to enhance “the quality of life for millions of people” in a Dec. 15, 1999 ADS press release.
While WND has covered ADS’s implantable chip projects more comprehensively and for longer than virtually any other media organization, other press outlets certainly have reported that the Digital Angel chip and the VeriChip were designed for human implantation, and for use in large numbers of people.
For instance, CNN.com’s “Tiny human-borne monitoring device sparks privacy fears” (Dec. 20, 1999, by Richard Stenger), referring to Digital Angel, described “a miniature digital monitoring device that can be implanted in people. … Electronic freedom activists are concerned about exploitation of the technology, which would use global positioning system (GPS) technology to track implantees … [It] would be powered by muscle movements of implantees. The company plans to complete a working prototype by the end of 2000. Planted inconspicuously just under the skin, the implantable transceiver sends and receives data and can be continuously tracked by GPS technology. …. ‘We believe its potential for enhancing the quality of life for millions is virtually limitless,’ said ADS Chairman and CEO Richard Sullivan in a statement. … ADS said the technology could ‘tap into a vast global market.’”
“It seems,” said David Kupelian, vice president and managing editor of WND and Whistleblower magazine, “that Mr. Cossolotto and the Digital Angel folks are intent on denying that they ever intended for Digital Angel to be implanted. Sorry, but that’s like denying that the sky is blue. Their own written and spoken record proves conclusively that they have advocated widespread human chip implantation – including with Digital Angel, which would mean the ultimate in worldwide surveillance – for a long time. All their denials do is make people wonder what they’re hiding.”