The Washington Post reported on Sunday that amid concerns of increasing incidents of kidnappings in Mexico, many residents of the country are turning to what the paper calls “under-the-skin” tracking devices for a sense of safety.
A Mexican congressional report that detailed a 317 percent increase in kidnappings in the country in the past five years has apparently driven Mexican citizens to seek new means of protecting themselves in a country where firearm ownership is heavily regulated. The article said that the Mexican company, Xega, which reportedly sells radio frequency identification (RFID) devices to the public and performs implantation procedures of the devices, has increased sales of the product by 40 percent recently.
“Unfortunately, it’s been good for business but bad for the country,” said Xega executive Diego Kuri, referring to the kidnappings. “Thirty percent of our clients arrive after someone in their family has already experienced a kidnapping.”
The article states that Mexican media have estimated that as many as 10,000 people in the country have elected to have RFID chips implanted into their bodies, at costs up to as much as $2,000 upfront and $2,000 per annum for tracking services.
According to the article, most American scientists doubt the abilities of the chips, which are about the size of a grain of rice, to communicate with GPS satellites without the use of a larger external transmitter.
RFID technology first made headlines in the United States around 2007 when the technology was considered for use by medical professionals in patients with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, despite screams of disapproval from privacy advocates. While the future of RFID technology remains murky, many people believe under-the-skin chips will one day become a fact of life for entire populations.
”Soon RFID tags will be in everything from pharmaceuticals to clothing. Exclusive clothiers are already using the tags to recognize customers as they walk in the door from what they are wearing,” reads a report on political radio host Alex Jones’ website, Infowars.com. The article predicts a future “cashless society” in which every individual is implanted with an RFID chip that would be linked to personal bank accounts, medical records and any number of personal identifiers.