[Dave Birch]  A recent global survey by Unisys found that 69% of Europeans supported the use of biometrics for identification purposes.  This wasn’t out of deep-seated concerns about security and a balanced, but informed, perspective on biometric technology: it was, frankly, because of laziness: 83% of those supporting biometrics cited convenience, not security, as their main reason for wanting the technology.  The survey also found that rather than use PIN, ID cards or biometrics, one in 10 Asia-Pacific consumers would prefer to have a chip implanted in their body!

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It sounds bizarre, I know, but remember that everyone’s current favourite case study for this sort of thing is the Baja Beach nightclub in Barcelona, where patrons were offered the choice between a card and a chip and some of them chose the chip.  Those chips, called VeriChips, are produced by US company called Applied Digital Solutions and I’m going to try and get them to present at a future Forum as I’d like to learn more about how it’s all working in practice.  The chips are the size of a grain of rice  (1.2 millimetres wide and 12 millimetres long) and injected (by a "medically trained" person, according to the New Scientist) under the skin in the upper left arm.  As I said (rather wittily, I thought, although the joke’s pretty thin now) in a presentation to the International Association for Biometrics (IAfB) back in September 2004, you really can’t leave home without it.
If I were the sort of person to go to nightclubs in Barcelona I might have done the same.  After all, chipped clubbers can jump the entrance queue, reserve a table and use the VIP (VeriChip Implanted Person?) lounge.  The waiters have handhelds to scan the chips to charge drinks to your bill: what could be more convenient, especially when you’re wearing clothes with no pockets.  Or no clothes.

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