U.S. Military Seeking Implantable Microchips in Soldiers

By:  Alex Newman
05/08/2012
       
U.S. Military Seeking Implantable Microchips in Soldiers

The U.S. government is developing implantable sensor microchips for use in American troops, supposedly to monitor their health on the battlefield, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced earlier this year seeking proposals. But critics of the scheme are speaking out, warning that the new technology could just be a prelude to expanding the use of related devices among the general population — with dangerous implications for freedom and privacy.

The U.S. government is developing implantable sensor microchips for use in American troops, supposedly to monitor their health on the battlefield, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced earlier this year seeking proposals. But critics of the scheme are speaking out, warning that the new technology could just be a prelude to expanding the use of related devices among the general population — with dangerous implications for freedom and privacy.

According to news reports about the development, DARPA believes that being able to instantly receive updates about any potential medical problems among soldiers would give the U.S. armed forces an advantage over adversaries. Calling the implants "a truly disruptive innovation," the agency said the nanotechnology could revolutionize war — especially because most medical evacuations are a result of illness or disease rather than injuries sustained in battle.

But despite supposedly not being used for tracking purposes, at least initially, privacy experts concerned about the expanding use of such technology are sounding the alarm. “It’s always in incremental steps,” noted activist Katherine Albrecht, author of the book “Spychips” about the threat of rapidly increasing use of Radio Frequency Identification chips.

According to Albrecht, the use of injectable microchips that do not necessarily track people could eventually lead to calls for systems that do. And while she does not expect the government to ever force Americans to accept the chip at “gunpoint,” the gradual process of expanding the whole system should be halted now — before it is too late. Captive audiences like soldiers and prisoners, she told World Net Daily, are merely a stepping stone to broader use.  

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