As Kidnappings Increase, Mexicans Get Dubious RFID Tracking Chips Implanted In Their Arms


Julie Beck
PopSci
August 25, 2011

Following the violent kidnapping of former Mexican presidential candidate Diego Fernandez de Cevallos last year, some Mexicans are now having themselves implanted with RFID tracking chips similar to the one that was supposedly cut from Fernandez’s arm by his abductors, the Washington Post reports. Companies selling these chips to scared citizens are promising that they will help rescuers track them down in the event of a kidnapping.

The chip, implanted in the tissue between the shoulder and elbow, sends a signal to an GPS device that the wearer carries. But Xega, the company that manufactures many of the chips, says that they can track clients even without the GPS unit, by sending radio signals directly to the implanted chip. This claim seems very unlikely to be true.

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Scared Mexicans try under-the-skin tracking devices

Nick Miroff
Washington Post
August 25, 2011

QUERETARO, Mexico — Of all the strange circumstances surrounding the violent abduction last year of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, the Mexican power broker and former presidential candidate known here as “Boss Diego,” perhaps nothing was weirder than the mysterious tracking chip that the kidnappers allegedly cut from his body.

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Lurid Mexican media accounts reported that an armed gang invaded Fernandez’s home, sliced open his arm with a pair of scissors and extracted a satellite-enabled tracking device, leaving the chip and a streak of blood behind.

Fernandez was freed seven months later with little explanation, but the gruesome details of his crude surgery have not dissuaded thousands of worried Mexicans from seeking out similar satellite and radio-frequency tracking products — including scientifically dubious chip implants — as abductions in the country soar.

According to a recent Mexican congressional report, kidnappings have jumped 317 percent in the past five years. More alarming, perhaps, is the finding that police officers or soldiers were involved in more than one-fifth of the crimes, contributing to widespread perceptions that authorities can’t be trusted to solve the crimes or recover missing loved ones.

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