Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/05/19/veripay/
Barcelona nightclub chips customers
Tuesday night is implant night
A tongue-in-cheek Register story has backfired after a corporation took up a possible application we sought to poke gentle fun at.
US cybercorporation Applied Digital Solutions has developed the so-called "VeriChip", a "miniaturised, implantable radio frequency identification device (RFID) that has the potential to be used in a variety of personal identification, security, financial, and potential healthcare applications".
This subdermal RFID chip could be used to restrict use of firearms to authorised users or in a less lethal scenario pay for drinks and admission at the Baja Beach Club in Barcelona.
Yes that's right - Annanova reports how 'VeriChip' means regular clubbers at the Baja Beach will "no longer have to wait in queue to pay to get in". Absolutely in this modern age is obviously far easier to have a "brief outpatient 'chipping' procedure lasts just a few minutes and involves only local anaesthetic followed by quick, painless insertion of the VeriChip" than to flash the cash.
Tuesday night is 'chipping night'
"The nightclub has now turned Tuesday nights into Implant Night where guests can be chipped in between drinking and dancing," Annanova reports. Applied Digital Solutions (ADS) reckons the tiny gadget - "about the size of a grain of rice" - could even replace credit cards in the future or be used to store medical or security data.
ADS reckons the VeriPay application of its subdermal RFID chip is more secure than credit cards in authorising small transactions which are sometimes processed automatically without a signature or secondary authorisation. Emmm. At least with a credit card thieves would have to physical locate it and steal it from someone. With VeriChip all a crook would have to do is render a holder insensible - hardly difficult in a nightclub - and free drinks are theirs for the night.
Imagine the scenario - you get drunk in a Barcelona nightclub, pass out, and a month later you find you're bankrupt because you've bought half the teenagers in the Catalan capital tapas. Tremendous. And how would you go about disputing you bar bill then? ADS says VeriChip is so small "it is virtually undetectable and practically indestructible once inserted under your skin" but we're not entirely convinced that would stop some thug trying to cut the chip out from underneath someone's skin. If the chip is used only by a outlet the crime would be a rather pointless. But if use of VeriPay is extended the chip becomes a more attractive target.
Back in December when we took a sceptical look at VeriPay, Vulture Central hacks suggested that "RFID-scanning autopour beer pumps could dispense your preferred tipple before you've even reached the bar". A tragic HTML oversight meant our joke indicator was omitted (as the second such offence, the relevant coder has been denied pizza for a month), and now we find ADS has come up with the same marketing wheeze at the Baja Beach Club.
Doubtless this is a case of great minds thinking alike but if ADS were in any way inspired by Lester Haines' satirical piece a consultancy payment to the Reg's Strategy Boutique would be much appreciated. Gracias. ®
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