Today is Bible day at Salon. My colleagues have already done their righteous work contributing to the ConservaBible, but here at How the World Works, I'd like to focus on one section unlikely to be tampered with by the right-wing religious bowdlerizers. Let us turn to the Book of Revelation.
"He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." Revelation 13:16,17
Search Google for the words "VeriChip mark of the beast" and you will get some 18,000 plus results, most of which date back to 2007, when the Florida-based company VeriChip announced its human-implantable RFID chip. At the time VeriChip touted its gizmo as a great way to tie medical records indisputably to a particular person. The chip's 16-digit "unique identifier" would connect to "a secure, private online database that links you to your personal health record." But ever-watchful Christians, mindful of the imminent arrival of the antichrist, immediately saw through this plot to brand humanity with Satan's foul tattoo.
Not the best marketing material, you might think. But judging by a recent presentation aimed at potential investors (found via Jim Edwards' superb Pharma blog), VeriChip has hardly been deterred by the bad press.
The company is no longer content with merely linking you to your medical records, so that, say, an emergency room physician could get instant access to vital info in real time. Under the brand name PositiveID, VeriChip now wants to throw in your credit reports and Social Security number.
PositiveID puts people in control of their personal health records and financial information, bridging the gap between secure medical records and identity security
You know, I don't think you have to be a deeply devout evangelical Christian, expecting the Day of Judgment to arrive no later than next Tuesday, to feel perturbed by the idea of an RFID chip in your forearm that links you to your medical records, credit info, and SS#. Why stop there? Let's throw in Twitter feeds!
But here's where it gets really scary. VeriChip's presentation explaining why investors should jump at the chance to get a piece of their action continues:
Billions in stimulus funding available for healthcare and electronic medical records
Call it: The Market of the Beast. Yes, you read that correctly: HTWW has discovered proof that Barack Obama is indeed the antichrist. I tried to deny this for the longest time, but what's the point? Stimulus funds aimed at getting healthcare records into easy-to-access electronic form will be used to pay for implanting the Mark of the Beast in Americans! It's a fantastic opportunity and no doubt there will be some excellent synergies to be found in whatever health plan makes it out of Congress. Want the public option? Get chipped. Bwahahaha.