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Implantable-chip company in financial straits
Posted By Sherrie Gossett On 03/04/2003 @ 5:00 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Applied Digital Solutions, the controversial maker of the human-implantable VeriChip, has missed a required $46.2 million payment to IBM Credit Corporation that was due Friday.
IBM Credit Corporation has notified Applied Digital that it must make the payment on or prior to Thursday.
Under the terms of the current (third) amended and restated term credit agreement with IBM Credit Corporation, Applied Digital Solutions Inc. was required to repay IBM Credit Corporation $29.8 million of the $77.2 million outstanding principal balance currently owed to them, plus $16.4 million of accrued interest and expenses (totaling approximately $46.2 million), on or before Feb. 28.
Applied Digital stated that it continues to discuss with IBM Credit Corporation an amendment to the IBM Credit Agreement.
Since December of 1999, Applied Digital has issued press releases suggesting that it would pursue government contracts for its implantable chips, and that such contracts could be lucrative. However, no such contracts have been publicly revealed. Those press releases suggested government uses for the company’s GPS-tracked chips as well as for the short-range, RFID VeriChip – described often as an alternative ID that could be used for security and banking purposes.
A controversial history
It was in December of 1999 that Applied Digital first announced that it had obtained the patent rights to an implantable microchip, designed for human use, that could be tracked via GPS.
Shortly afterward, the company announced that it planned to market the implantable Digital Angel to law enforcement, the health-care field and other areas, and it announced it would unveil a prototype of the device at a closed meeting in New York City in October 2000.
Prior to the 2000 unveiling, the company said it believed the implantable GPS-tracked chip could be worth a whopping $100 billion. It was later revealed that McKinsey & Company had produced the market estimate, originally set at $70 billion in the U.S. alone, comprising 26 potential vertical markets.
Prior to the 2000 unveiling, however, grass-roots verbal protests over privacy issues mounted, causing a public-relations problem for Applied Digital. A company executive, CTO Dr. Keith Bolton, told WND at that time that the opposition was coming primarily from conservative Christians.
Bolton told WND that company officials were directed to stop using the term “cashless society.” Company press materials soon used the term “tamper-proof” as a euphemism for “implanted.”
Civil liberty and privacy concerns would later expand, and create strange bedfellows of the ACLU (who called the chip an “outrage” and “unconstitutional”), the Black Radical Congress (who called it a “fascist technology”), privacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and some Christian groups who called the chip “the mark of the beast.”
Implantation? What implantation?
In the two weeks prior to the 2000 unveiling, references to implantation were removed from the site, and the wording of some archived press releases was altered. It was then that company webpages stated that Digital Angel could be “either implanted in or closely bonded to the body.”
The hyperlinks in the above paragraphs are to webpages removed from the Applied Digital site, prior to the NYC unveiling. The deleted pages were picked up by a “web bot” and have since been stored in the Internet Archive “Wayback Machine.”
Mineta gives keynote speech
Applied Digital announced that Norman Mineta, then-secretary of commerce, would attend the unveiling. Attendees were surprised to see Mineta not only in attendance, but giving the keynote speech of the evening – a speech whose transcript was never archived at the Department of Commerce website, but was videotaped by a production company and French cable company Canal Plus.
Prior to Mineta’s speech, CEO Richard J. Sullivan announced “an exciting new partnership with you [Secretary Mineta] and the federal government in the important area of Digital Inclusion.”
There was little media there, and those who did attend accepted Sullivan’s comments that any suggestion Applied Digital was considering implantation was just “hypothetical speculation.”
Thus, the event was largely underreported.
In contrast to the CEO’s public seeming denial of implantation plans, the company’s chief scientist, Dr. Peter Zhou, had previously told WND: “Before there may have been resistance, but not anymore. People are getting used to implants. New century, new trend.”
The full extent of the enigmatic “partnership” with the government, company spokesman Matthew Cossolotto said, would not be announced until after the 2000 presidential election. But a preliminary announcement was scheduled (then abruptly canceled) in Palm Beach, Fla., the day before the election. Mineta was scheduled to appear at the Palm Beach PR event with Sullivan. That announcement was said to include a federal subsidizing of Digital Angel for “the elderly, minorities and the disadvantaged,” and would include the showing of an edited five-minute video of the New York City prototype unveiling.
After the references to implantation were removed from the Web, Cossolotto would angrily deny, in e-mails to WND editorial staff, that the GPS-trackable Digital Angel chip was ever designed to be implanted: “How would you implant a wristwatch and a pager anyway?” he wrote.
Despite protestations from Applied Digital Solutions and DigitalAngel.net Inc., WorldNetDaily has consistently reported that, although Digital Angel in its “current form” is being marketed as a wristwatch/pager combination, the chip was intended and developed for human implantation.
Following the 9-11 tragedy, the company returned to openly discussing a “cashless society” and other controversial topics, like implanting all visiting foreigners with a chip and requiring federal employees at airports and nuclear facilities to be implanted.
Applied Digital Solutions also conducts business in the fields of computer network, telephony, Internet and applications.
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