Mr Gary Retherford, Six Sigma Security, US
Interview conducted by Katina Michael on 26 May 2009 via teleconference
Gary Retherford: A few years ago I reached out to guys who were doing Six Sigma at the University of [NAME WITHHELD] on some concepts and ideas about security and innovation in terms of methodology.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: I was really fascinated that while these guys had books all over their shelves and they were certainly very intelligent guys, I was shocked at their inability to look beyond what was right in front of their face.
Katina Michael: Okay.
Gary Retherford: And it almost appeared that there was just absolutely no visionary in the room who could think beyond what they were – it was almost like they wanted to stay safe and secure within what they knew, and they were unable to really think outside the box.
Katina Michael: And that was just in the Six Sigma domain? Or implants?
Gary Retherford: No, what happened was, and this, we’ll try and get into this on the question list, but my story is a little unique in the sense that my background was in working in the security industry where I was involved in video surveillance and access control systems and this was post 9/11 so you can understand it was pretty heightened.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: And I was working at some chemical plants where I had met somebody who introduced me to Six Sigma. This was in 2003. And looking at Six Sigma, I began to realise that Six Sigma could have an application in the area of security. In the area of security, you have a lot of opinions around what is considered the security that should be applied or how we are spending our money, but there’s very little use of data and of course. Being in your field, data is important and so the challenge was to take something like Six Sigma and make it applicable into a security world where you were forcing people to use the data to make decisions and start finding out, for example, what is security? So in that context, that’s what happened and I started to mesh the two together, me and this other guy and we had an article published in a journal in 2004 by a company out of England on theme of business continuity… Are you familiar with LinkedIn?
Katina Michael: Of course.
Gary Retherford: Okay, well I’m on LinkedIn and I have a LinkedIn group called Six Sigma.
Katina Michael: Okay.
Gary Retherford: And I have now people coming in there from the Middle East and India and everywhere where it’s starting to catch on. And I do Six Sigma consulting now and do some of the training in Six Sigma and I have a focus that I’m working on in law enforcement and in the security realm again, but that’s my involvement in Six Sigma.
Katina Michael: That’s fascinating. So you’re spinning security-related business processes?
Gary Retherford: Right, exactly. Because, again, there were some surveys that were done back in 2002 after 9/11 where it was towards the, I guess it might have been the Fortune 500 or the Fortune 1000 asking about how they spent their money and … on security and where they saw improvements in security and I just remember one thing out of that survey which was that 80% said they were going to … that they needed to make improvements in security and only 20% or 30% felt they would spend the money wisely. And that started the whole process of looking at: Okay, well what’s the reason behind that? There were some other surveys that were done by I believe it was Bolbridge and it might have been done by the American Society of Quality, I don’t remember exactly, but these surveys were basically pointing out that Six Sigma was a tool, or that these … forgive me for fixing it as a tool… but these organisations/companies unable to really have a definitive plan and were not using any type of data to support their security decisions could apply Six Sigma principles. It was based upon basically an opinion. You know the history in security … corporate security have a history where a lot of people are in that decision making role used to have backgrounds in the area of law enforcement.
Katina Michael: Yes. This is common in Australia as well.
Gary Retherford: And law enforcement is not a good place for actually people to go into corporate security, it’s a different world.
Katina Michael: Yes, I’ve seen that first hand. High ranking retired policemen are hired to uncover fraud in corporations.
Gary Retherford: Yes. And so that was part of it in 2000 and then in the fall of 2007 the Institute of Justice here in the U.S. gave a grant for four police departments to use Six Sigma in law enforcement to see if it would be a way for improving law enforcement and the results of that came back very positive. And so … if you look at the United Kingdom, there are initiatives there and have been for a while where they use Six Sigma in law enforcement. So it’s a matter of applying data to our world to improve security. There was actually an article in USA Today in 2002 that talked about how the CIA was getting into using Six Sigma and I believe it’s in that article where the comment was made that if the CIA had used Six Sigma, it was felt that they could have prevented 9/11. So, that’s just some of the things that I was doing and then how I ended up getting into Six Sigma.
Katina Michael: So basically, that’s your tool – that’s your methodological approach, using Six Sigma.
Gary Retherford: Yeah, that’s what I did.
Katina Michael: And if I was to ask you, taking that security context now, for you going through this process with clients, you’re looking for the most fool-proof technology within a particular context and that’s how you came to look at implants?
Gary Retherford: Well, it’s moving in that direction. What is the challenge right now has just been to get some of the basic concepts using the Six Sigma for decision makers. I’ll give you an example. There’s a large company, a mining company, with plants all over the world. The security department there wanted to bring Six Sigma in to align itself more with corporate goals because Six Sigma was used throughout the organisation – whether it be strategic planning or the operations department or things of that nature – and they felt that they wanted to use Six Sigma, primarily in their case just to be a part of integrating into the rest of the organisation. Where it leads to then from there is you use basically the tools of things like the project charter sypoc – which is your processes and your customer. Before you even get to the data, you’re looking at the methodology and thinking of concepts- or how you’re thinking about it to be able to drive a more disciplined way of thinking.
Katina Michael: Yes. Rule based.
Gary Retherford: And cutting out things that right now that you don’t want.
Katina Michael: So there’s a lot of reporting, a lot of seeking cost efficiencies and better effectiveness...
Gary Retherford: Yes.
Katina Michael: Basically, greater profits and reduction in risks and costs I guess and more to a rules based approach wherever you can have rules for decision-making process.
Gary Retherford: Exactly. Where it will lead is that it’s going to get into better technologies.
Katina Michael: Oh, of course. It’s a bit like – have you heard of on the RFID side the notion of the “Internet of Things”?
Gary Retherford: No. What is it, so I know?
Katina Michael: The “Internet of Things” is a term that was coined back in 1999 by Kevin Ashton by the Auto ID Centre at MIT and they were building a standard, basically to allow, in this new IPv6 environment, the tracking of every single object that’s manufactured. And so, the notion of the Internet of Things is this notion that objects that are created, that we buy as consumers or that we sell as businesses – are tagged with passive tags or active tags depending on the context and they then become somewhat remotely ‘trigger-able’ if that makes sense. You know, if I have a washing machine I don’t have to send a loyalty card in saying “here’s my warranty status” or “here’s my receipt/proof” … they know where it’s sitting. Or it can communicate if it has IP access, back to base, saying “it’s time for my maintenance” or “this has gone wrong” or “here’s a fault, I’m reporting it” – a bit like our desktop computers, but imagine objects like flip-flops or sandals or glasses or watches, each embedded with a passive tag that could be triggered … say I have a reader either at a kiosk or either on my phone or somewhere in my home. And so what we’re looking at now is an environment that is very much driven by hybrid wireless architectures. So you’ve got your Local Area Network, you might have your home network … you may have Wi-Fi networks run by service providers or free to the public depending on the council you’re part of and then you’ve got these mobile 2G/3G types of environments, you’ve also got GPS … so it’s using the different types of wireless infrastructures together, and once you can do that then things like your watch or your glasses or anything that passes in field view of a reader can be triggered and elicit a response. This response will then report back to base if that’s how you have customised your services, but the Internet of Things is allowing all objects manufactured to store or have onboard an RFID device – a tag or transponder – and that can communicate back. So it’s not … I find it interesting that people continuously talk about humans being implanted – many people have argued: Why implants when you can just wear the darn things? But the thing is then, external, you know, it can be removed and so forth – we understand those issues, but that interaction with objects and subjects is what’s going to become very lucrative either for Six Sigma, whether it’s you’re employees or whether it’s the consumers you’ve sold things to or citizens in the context of government. But that’s where I perceive the great innovations to come next – it’s actually implementing that EPC (Electronic Product Code) model that MIT had put forward back in 1999 and that’s now being rolled out in many places. There are big companies... Wal-Mart for example and DOD (the Department Of Defence) have heavily invested in EPC oriented tagging.
Gary Retherford: See, I’m like you. The thing I see about this and when it comes to the implants is, because of everything else that’s going on and I wasn’t familiar with precisely with what you describe, but I have basically the concept in my head – I knew this was going to be out there. I’m like you. I really sometimes am baffled by some of the reaction to the implants when between your cell phone and everything else that you just talked about and Google … and Google Earth.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: Why are people still worried about implants? And quite frankly, I’m … we’ll get into this I’ve thought about the questions that you sent me and I’m a little … There’s a piece of me that doesn’t really believe that we have ... there’s as much of a pushback as a perceived push back because a lot of the push back, I feel, is from more of a vocal minority than a majority and because we did the thing here in Cincinnati with CityWatcher – we had hundreds, probably thousands of e-mails and I would say if you take out the ones that we believed were repeatable e-mails coming from what it sounded like either the same group or the same people, across the board it looked like the majority were in favour of what we did. Now if you look at it within inside of the pocket of the middle west of the United States where you still have an evangelical slant, you know, we have some fairly negative responses there but, by and large, it was vocal from a few but even … but for the most part I can’t say that what I realise is – and I think this is not academic type research, but it’s just my research being in the role of sales, business development and you know, what I do … What I got as feedback is that while there are people out there that might be against it, they still believe that we live in a world that it’s your choice.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: And as long as it’s your choice, I choose not to but if you want to, I’m not going to stop you from doing what you want to do. And so in that regard, I personally don’t see – I see a lot of the hurdles to doing implantable microchips to somewhat being more perceived by the industry as a hurdle than what they really would have if they would just go out and just start doing it … That there may be some thought into: OK, there are some issues here that might pertain to society that are some things that I haven’t thought of, but by and large, I find and I found either with particular age groups that younger people had less of an issue with this thing. In fact one funny story was as follows. Before I sent out the press release on this CityWatcher project, it was a few months prior – I contacted a local newspaper that was a business journal and I talked to them about seeing if I could put in just some sort of like free announcement, you know, something to kind of test the waters, so they said, well here why don’t you talk to one of our reporters and I talked to a reporter because they said there might be a story and I’m talking to this girl and she sounded pretty young and she said “Well what’s this?” – she was their technology reporter so I said, “Well it has to do with microchips and implanting microchips and I’m explaining the whole process to her and I’m explaining what we’re doing and interestingly enough we get to the end and she says “Well, I’m not… I don’t think I’ll do a real interview with you because I don’t think there’s a story there” …
Katina Michael: (laughing!)
Gary Retherford: And I’m like… and even I’m a little… I was a little…
Katina Michael: Taken a back…
Gary Retherford: Wait a minute… I’ve been sweating on this thing and you say there’s not a story here!
Katina Michael: I know the feeling…
Gary Retherford: So she didn’t do anything with it. She just said, “I don’t think that there’s anything here that you know, my readers would be interested in” and I’m like “Do you understand implantable? It goes in …” She goes “Yeah I got it”. So I realised that okay, there’s really kind of an age thing here. So the day that I did this and found the press release and it was a couple of days later, I’m standing in my bank and the tellers are all you know college kids or right out of high school and I told them what I was doing and here I’m thinking “Okay, lets see what kind of reaction I’m going to get…” I got a ho-hum reaction – it’s just like, “Oh really that’s cool. Hey, you know maybe we could do that.”
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: So I’m thinking wow, there’s some real dynamics going on here… … likewise I’ve tested this in LinkedIn, on some of the security groups out there like “As Is” and some of the others. I put out there a few weeks ago: “Do you see a day where implantable microchips would be an alternative to access control cards?” Well I had five or six really hyped up on this thing and I mean they were just pounding away at it and they were sending back all their negative comments but relatively speaking to the size of the crowd, that was less than 3% probably. So the vast majority had no – either they didn’t read it, or they just absolutely had no desire to make an influence.
Katina Michael: So, we’ve had different kinds of statistics for different markets … There are markets that have no problem with this kind of thing. My Chinese students for instance have lived all their life with ID cards, and I’d say with an ad-hoc show of hands in my class about 70% of them don’t see the big deal.
Gary Retherford: Yes.
Katina Michael: Australians generally are traditionally less willing to adopt these kinds of new technologies. We’ve been renowned for squashing things like ID cards back in 1987 and 2007 … massive campaigns and primarily from the perspective of privacy… I look at politicians over there and I know some of them have strong leanings towards particular ideologies…. For example, Tommy Thompson, who was on the Verichip board, demonstrates that there are politicians who are proponents of this technology and are quite supportive. Then there are others who lead the anti-chipping law campaigns and we sort of tried to do a Republican versus Democrats breakdown by states of the U.S. two years ago with one of my honours students to see what laws had been passed and who was driving that.
To be honest Gary, I find that the majority of people just go with the flow. That’s what I find. We’re quite much the sheep mentality – if there are a few key leaders it’s always got to do with word of mouth when you study what makes innovations happen and what makes them successful – yes user friendless is important and all these things are important but down to the fundamental, the lowest common denominator- Is it useful? Is there value in it? Can someone see value in it? And the second thing is: has a lead group taken it and implemented it in a particular context, therefore, their opinion followers will also adopt it in due course. But there was a study done … I don’t know if you know the Wolk and Perakslis study back in 2005 which was a US-based survey that was looking at implants and biometrics for national security applications and the vast majority, but again, I don’t know what the sample size was from memory, the vast majority said they would not adopt in this given context… sort of like a citizen ID number or something like that.
I’m continuously fascinated by the increase in employee monitoring using GPS and it’s not really just the employees, it’s the vehicle that they drive in most cases … but there are a number of, you know, I get emails from people that represent – that are senior counsels, representing unions that don’t want their trucks to be tracked. Okay … So the cases are flying thick now. The US government is giving mobile phones with GPS devices in them to employees not really stipulating clearly or vocally that the device can actually track their location, circa certain proximity and accuracy. There was a case in October 2007 where somebody sued the government based on a contract, for hours that they proved he didn’t work and he was dismissed on the spot. And he said “Well how are you dismissing me?” and they said “We’ve got you tracked” and he said “Well why didn’t you tell me?” and they said “It was in the documentation you signed. You should have read it properly.” And I’m not saying this … you know – that’s Six Sigma, theoretically at it’s best – in the sense … look at all the money you save busting people that weren’t, you know, that were charging the government for work they didn’t do but at the same token one could say, you know, hypothetically “Well maybe that guy didn’t work those hours at that time. Maybe he forgot when he worked them exactly when he was filling out his time sheet. Maybe he didn’t log his time properly. Maybe he worked for four hours in the middle of the night as many of us do sometimes” … So from an efficiency perspective, I can see where this thing is headed: major efficiencies. But from the social side, you know Gary, as humans we need a bit of slack, right? We need a bit of flexibility in the way we do things and we’re often good at doing things routinely, within particular time limits, but I don’t, you know, you mentioned the mining company –but I’m not sure, I’m really not sure, deep down that we can work like robots. Do you know what I’m saying?
Gary Retherford: Hmmm.
Katina Michael: I can see that these efficiencies will be gained using technologies and using newer emerging technologies, not just implants but location services and other things. I’m not sure that’s going to give us … you know … are we entering an Orwell type of space where we have that monitoring happening and if an exception happens you’re worried because oops, you know, “I didn’t follow that procedure or I didn’t do that right”. Are we going somewhere perhaps or venturing towards a space that maybe wasn’t meant for us as humans … I don’t know … You can see how …
Gary Retherford: I think …
Katina Michael: Go ahead-
Gary Retherford: Well I think what you’re saying makes sense in the sense that I’ve spent a lot of my time in the last few years working either independently for myself and I’ve worked for other companies, I’ve worked for large companies – I worked for Siemens for a while and in working I had cars that may have had GPS or … we had not let the GPS on them, but I understand what your saying – in the mind, it does make you wonder, “Okay, can I really work in this?”, because you know if I want to veer off and stop off somewhere that’s not typically where I would go next because I want to stop and get something to drink, a Coke or something, I mean, is that going to be in the back of my mind that I’m now outside of that control? And I do believe that that is certainly a risk that is coming at us as a society. That can we operate under those types of conditions? Unfortunately, I think on the other side of the fence to that, which is something that I found to be quite interesting when I was talking to people that could be potentially implanted with a microchip, and the question was, “What would be the driving force behind someone being implanted?”, I realised that we also live in a society where … I found that there’s always a question that always gets answered the same way and the question is: “Does my right to security supersede my neighbours right to privacy?”, and what I found is, that even in, you could almost say in married couples, I mean, you know, “My security supersedes my wife’s right to privacy”. Because the question then comes is that – “Do I want to be chipped? No. But I don’t really know my neighbour that well, so maybe Congress should pass a law that chips my neighbour.” So I think it becomes a trade off because that could … see because what I’m wondering is what’s going to be the driver? See, I think that when you said – earlier you talked about the government not interested in pursuing that track, however, what I have found is that …
Katina Michael: No the citizens … the citizens didn’t want to be chipped in the US survey. The government may want to pursue this track, I do not know but the citizens were saying they would not take that chip implant for a government-to-citizen context.
Gary Retherford: Oh okay. But I think that what I have found is that they said: “Definitely it’s ok to chip prisoners”.
Katina Michael: On occasion, this has been claimed, yes. Depending on where you are in the world.
Gary Retherford: Well, see what I think is, you will have a certain group of citizenry who will if you have a group within the citizenry that is of the “less desirable” … remember that “less desirable” is the rest of the citizenry will say, “Okay, on that group, it’s okay”.
Katina Michael: Which, to be honest with you, I find to be quite dangerous and naive in the sense that: “What next?”, you know … Renowned in trials of smart cards, renowned in trials of biometrics, you know, have been minority groups… And it’s funny, because ethical codes of conduct tell us you shouldn’t approach people that are dependable on something like a patient in a hospital or a prisoner to a prison and where I find the danger in that is: No matter what technology – you just have to reflect back on history – no matter what innovation it’s been either automatic or manual, its always found its face initially asa testing ground in prisons, in the mentally ill or cognitively slow individuals and patients is another one, in minors etc. If we go back to the holocaust, a typical one was the segregation of the Jews. We’ve always found that a technology is rolled out to a small minority, tested and then what’s to say: “Next, let’s implant all the schizophrenics”, “let’s implant all the people that look depressed to us”, “let’s implant all children because they’re under the guardianship of the parents until the age of 17 or 18”. Do you see that as a potential? Do you see what I’m getting at?
Gary Retherford: Absolutely. I think that’s the way it’s going to happen. I think that that is exactly – because I’ve already had that conversation – I’ve had the conversation with people who run gaols who wanted to talk seriously and I don’t mean just in hypotheticals – that wanted to talk about putting readers in gaols. The reason was, that in the course of running a gaol where they had large numbers of prisoners that were coming in every year, maybe in the vicinity of 50,000 a year, but – that’s 50,000 total processes, but it was 90% of that 50,000 that were repeat offenders. But the cost of processing was significant … One of their large costs of processing was due to all of the files that had to be kept on them and their identity and it had been known that there had been prisoners that were let out because there was an identity mistake between a couple of prisoners. They were supposed to wear a band, they were supposed to wear ankle bracelets, whatever – but they would cut them off – they’d find a way to get out of them. So then it was the prisoner for all practical purposes… of course the ACLU is not sitting at the table during the discussion… but the prisoner for all practical purposes in the minds of the gaol officials … they did not think of them any different as a dog. I mean …
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: They really, absolutely did not think of them as humans.
Katina Michael: Can I ask you on that point because this is something I have been looking at recently, did they also think about the issue of visitors? So you mentioned to me the prisoners, but were they concerned at all about how to track visitors to the prison cells?
Gary Retherford: Umm.
Katina Michael: Or they didn’t mention that to you?
Gary Retherford: No, we really didn’t get into that.
Katina Michael: Because that’s actually a biggie – knowing where visitors are at any one point in time and I’ve seen an Australian, Queensland state example, where they’ve got visitor tracking capabilities based on biometrics – iris code.
Gary Retherford: Okay.
Katina Michael: But the prisoners are more intrinsic – they’re like the core competency so to speak to the gaols, but the visitors are another data flow and it’s a difficult one to handle, that needs to be tracked for diverse reasons.
Gary Retherford: But going also on the same line of a certain group that is targeted …
Katina Michael: Yes-
Gary Retherford: I had a conversation with an Ohio State Senator – not a US Senator, but he was at the State level – and he asked me if we could invent a product that if you sent out, say a signal from an antenna that was on a school and if a chipped sex offender went within 1000 feet of a school, that they could set off an alarm.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: And I said, “Well, you know, you can invent almost anything I guess if you really want to put your mind to it”. But I mean, he basically gave me an open invitation and if we could invent it, he’d see that the legislation got passed to support it – to actually require it on the schools. Now, there again, I cannot find any mother …
Katina Michael: I know that …
Gary Retherford: … of a kid who would not support that legislation. But it does go back to what you were saying that “Yeah once you start with group A, then eventually it’s going to be group B and before you know it it’s going to be anybody that gets within 1000 feet … an alarm is going to go off”.
Katina Michael: I’m intrigued Gary, when did you first conceive of microchip implants in humans? Was it that you heard about Kevin Warwick implanting himself? Did you hear about anyone or was it just something you came across by accident via that guy you were talking to me about when you started at Six Sigma?
Gary Retherford: I’ll go ahead and tell you how it started. I was working as a security system integrator. I was in sales and business development and I was working for a company here in town and I had been working with an Art Museum who was interested in looking at some asset tracking for some high valued art and I began to do some research on their behalf and in the process came along this company called Verichip and up to that point I had not had any notion or concept ideas at all about implantable microchips – it never even entered my mind.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: When I saw the product that they had I became fascinated with it. Even more fascinated when I realised after, I guess, maybe through the Google searches that I had done, and I came across Verichip – and so many hits associated with some of the evangelicals slants in the market … and I think that kind of intrigued me, because I’m thinking: “Wow, where’s this coming from?” So I actually had reached out to Verichip to find out about their asset tracking and simultaneously was going to ask about their implantable microchip product for access control because I was in the access control business. Interesting enough though, at the very same time and I’m talking almost down to the minute, I was getting ready to have lunch with the owner of the company called Citywatcher and I reached out to them because they were offering this service of doing video surveillance on servers and they were doing some work in the city of Cincinnati. So as I literally had my phone in my left hand getting ready to introduce myself to a contact at Verichip, I was reaching out with my right hand to shake the hand of the president and little did I know at that point that roughly a year later, what was going to eventually end up happening. So then I began talking to Verichip. We talked about their asset tracking component for the art, but I also started to ask them about their access control system and when I was beginning talking to them and their sales people/person that they had in charge, I realised that they had a little bit of a flaw, in my opinion, in the way they were trying to market their product. What they were trying to do was create a whole access control system and sell it as an entire system and I said, “Well, I have a suggestion for you. My suggestion is that in doing that you just take the reader and they can integrate with everybody else’s access control.
Katina Michael: Exactly.
Gary Retherford: And I said “Now you’re going to sell more readers and consequently, you’ll sell more chips, because you’re in the chip business, you’re really not in the security business, per se.
Katina Michael: That’s right.
Gary Retherford: So we talked about some technology and I talked to their technical person and they said “Okay, we get this, we understand and let’s go to work on this.” So in the meantime when I’m working with Citywatcher outfitting their server room, I actually sold them an access control system as well. The owner kept losing his card, leaving his access control card everywhere – he was kind of an absent minded guy and it was also cutting edge, so I said to him one day—I said, you know – it’s nothing more dramatic and this is what it was. I said to him: “You know, if you keep losing your card… you’re not really keeping control of the server room”. I said “I have an option for you.” I said “How would you like to, instead of using a card, have a chip implanted?”, and he jumped on it. He said “Absolutely.” He said “I’ll do that”. So I called back to Verichip and I said “You know, you get this reader created and invented if you would”. And I said “Send it to me, and I’ve got an application”. And they, at that point, it was agreed on the phone that when they got it built, they would send it to me. My interest in this initially was only from the standpoint of how it was technologically speaking, so because we were going to integrate some technologies here and we wanted to see how those technologies were going to work together. But the more I started to really understand and read about some of these other social and ethical issues, I began to realise that there were a whole lot more here and I became fascinated by how it would be … How this product and how this concept enters into society. So therefore it became much bigger than strictly the integration. It was never done for any purposes that would be, you know, publicity or anything like that, it wasn’t like a publicity stunt if you would …
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: I really wasn’t looking for attention because interesting enough I never put my name out anywhere and nobody knew who I was.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: And there were reasons for that, but I will say that when I got down to the day in sending out the press release – because I sent out the press release in the company at the time which was Six Sigma Security, because I was still doing the Six Sigma stuff too – I had a lot of thoughts regarding “Okay, think about the impact that this could have” because I realised that nobody as far as I knew had initiated and actually done this anywhere in the world. That it was going to be the first time in any place of employment, was having employees implanted with a microchip.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: And I started to realise that this is going to really set in motion a lot of things and I have no idea of what all those things are but I wanted to see – and this is a little strange to say this – but I wanted to see what the world was made of. I wanted to see really what the human race was going to … how the human race would react and what the world was made of to deal with this concept and so when I sent out ... I remember when I clicked the little “send” button and I sent it to the company that was sending out the press release, I remember I had kind of a pause and a thought and a deep breath. Because I knew there was no coming back once I hit the send.
Katina Michael: That’s right.
Gary Retherford: And that really set in motion some things that I had no fathom was going to happen over the next two weeks and then even beyond – what the impact was going to be. I underestimated it. So that’s kind of how I got into it. There was only one interview that I ever did and it was really by accident, because somebody at Citywatcher gave my cell phone to … McIntyre.
Katina Michael: Oh okay, you’ve done one for Albrecht and McIntyre?
Gary Retherford: Well, she called me on my cell phone and caught me off guard at a weak moment and otherwise because I had committed ... I had told myself I was not going to do any interviews.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: And I had it set up because my name was never anywhere. That there was no record of who I was—
Katina Michael: Was it leaked through them, or they still didn’t know who you were?
Gary Retherford: Well ... What happened was is that one of the guys who worked there who decided not to have the chip implanted was a kid by the name of Corey Williams – wasn’t really a kid – and Corey had just, I guess he got asked from Liz McIntyre, you know, “Who was the company that did this? Verichip or whatever?” And he said “Well, it’s Gary and here’s his cell phone.” I guess I didn’t think about them giving it out …
Katina Michael: The human factor.
Gary Retherford: So the next … I start getting this phone call which was totally unexpected and it was her. I had no idea who she was and she started asking me a couple of questions and I said “Well, I’ll answer a couple of questions.” But it was from that interview that my name ended up getting on the Internet.
Katina Michael: Okay.
Gary Retherford: Because, had I not talked to her I still could have probably stayed incognito. But I never did any of the interviews … The guys who owned Citywatcher or who worked there, I think they did fourteen radio interviews in two days. I know they were on CNN and FOX and everybody else, but I never appeared on any of those things. But I was actually the guy that was …
Katina Michael: Behind it.
Gary Retherford: Yeah.
Katina Michael: So in that sense, do you consider yourself an innovator?
Gary Retherford: I do because, well … Let me kind of define that. I’m not a technical person… I’m not a strong person in the area of technology, my background has been in areas of management, sales, business development, things of that nature. But I think that because of both my sales and business development background, I’m always looking at needs assessments and its kind of a natural thing for me to look at – not necessarily fulfilling the need now but where I think its going to go into the future and I ended up over the next few years, not only being involved in that, but I did … I was involved in a potential patent which I decided to drop, but it was the integration of geographical information systems and live video surveillance. And I was pushing the envelope. So I do kind of push the envelope and I guess if you would say that that’s an innovator – I’m an innovator in concepts and ideas but I’m not the person to actually sit down and make the widgets and stuff. You know, I can’t … technologically I can’t. I’m not the techy guy.
Katina Michael: And so, can I ask for the real reason or the main reason, is it personal with regards with why you didn’t want your name out there or why you didn’t go forward with that patent? Or, can you …
Gary Retherford: Well the reason that I didn’t put my name out there when we did the press release was: I think I knew enough at that time that there could be a potential for a pretty radical kick back …
Katina Michael: Yeah.
Gary Retherford: … but there was a guy who was at Citywatcher – he loved all that, in fact he had his own radio station.
Katina Michael: (laughing). Okay!
Gary Retherford: So for him being on the radio is like … he did one interview on radio – believe this or not – he did one interview on radio with I dunno who this was, it was the BBC or somebody – he did it while he was coaching his kid’s basketball game because he was so comfortable with being on the air and had no qualms about it and I just wasn’t sure that I knew yet what was going to be the kickback if you will or whatever the right term is – from some of the whackos out there, who I didn’t really understand where they were going to come from quite at that point and I just didn’t feel like I needed the aggravation so I just didn’t. I had no interest on being on television I had no interest in being on radio so for me it wasn’t that big of a deal not to get myself out there in the public eye – I was more interested in seeing what was going to happen in the world for my purposes of understanding it rather than whether it was for my purposes of going out there and trying to make a position.
Katina Michael: I was curious for the main reason that as this is our main research area, we’ve had that question but, I mean, as academics if we don’t put our name to the article it’s not published. But we’ve actually had those wacks on the head from various locations, for and against. So I know what you’re saying. The aggravation is there. I do hope we haven’t … my family hasn’t been put in a situation whereby our heads are on the chopping block from either side but I do feel it gets personal at one stage and if your not mature to be able to discuss the subject matter just from a perspective of research then you will … You know, anyone getting close to this is often hurt to some degree. I don’t know how to say it to you. It’s how I began the interview with you telling you – basically that there are people that will read whatever they want to read and make whatever assumption they want about you and they’ll let you know what assumptions they’ve made and it’s not always pleasant. But if I was to ask going to the case study questions, I’ve got about half an hour before I get into class and I’m weary that I’ve kept you on the phone for maybe an hour and half now … How you feeling?
Gary Retherford: Keep asking your questions, we’ll see how far we can get now.
Katina Michael: OK. You said a little bit about the Citywatcher trial. You mentioned that there were seven people that were implanted? Could you elaborate?
Gary Retherford: Well there were seven people implanted in total in Cincinnati that were at Citywatcher. There were just two employees and one contractor who were working at the company. So technically, only three people were implanted in this organisation. It was a small company with only six employees.
Katina Michael: So the name of the trial was?
Gary Retherford: Well, okay … That’s where I guess it was not academic in nature. We never really thought of it as a trial. We were doing something in terms of testing some technology, but I never had an actual name for it.
Katina Michael: Okay, so you were dabbling … testing what worked?
Gary Retherford: Yes.
Katina Michael: And it was testing ID implants for access control? Was it access to the physical premise?
Gary Retherford: Yes. There were four doors. Two perimeter doors and two interior doors that were on access control using a swipe card and then one of those doors which was a server room that had a higher level of security to it which was only really accessed by three of the six employees. That server room access entry was altered. The old reader was taken off and the Verichip reader was put on. So you could enter the building if you had a card, but you could only enter the server room if you had either the chip implanted or the chip on a key ring.
Katina Michael: Okay.
Gary Retherford: And so one of the employees that was actually the IT manager, if you would, who ran the server, well he chose not to be implanted so he was given a key ring with a chip inside instead.
Katina Michael: So you basically asked the question and people volunteered to be implanted?
Gary Retherford: Yes.
Katina Michael: That IT manager, I am curious, why didn’t he participate do you think?
Gary Retherford: For him he could just not get past the uneasiness of having it implanted. There was no … it was not for religious reasons. It wasn’t a tracking reason. It wasn’t a conspiracy for him. It was simply a reason that he just did not like the idea of having this item implanted inside of him.
Katina Michael: Did the other employees feel different to him do you think, did he feel left out?
Gary Retherford: No, I don’t think so because there were still two other employees or three other employees who had decided not to have it done at all. I mean, they could have if they wanted to but it was kind of one of these things that was, you know, put out there as an option because at this point we were kind of more interested in seeing what the feedback was going to be like I guess. For example, there was one young man that worked there. His decision was “no” because he was influenced by his parents who felt that it was too much of an intrusion in his personal life – that it wasn’t so much the “creepiness”, as the other guy had pronounced– but it was more of a feeling of “Big Brother” tracking – even though you couldn’t track. How do you get people convinced that you’re not being tracked? So in their minds it was too much of a Big Brother type of an idea. So the problems were more privacy related and liberty related for him. And there was one girl who had originally said “no” and then she turned round and changed her mind. Which kind of led me to – and I’ll elaborate a little bit because there was actually another project that was supposed to happen shortly after this one which did not happen because the reader that Verichip sent we could never get working properly. One of the problems is Verichip never really made good readers for access control applications.
At the time, I was talking to different companies, because there were about two or three companies who had an interest and were saying: “Yeah we can do that here, not throughout the whole company but maybe on a particular door here and there”. But what was interesting was when I found out, is that while you might have say, for example ten people who might be asked if they would be interested in being chipped, then you might have two or three that would immediately say yes. I came to the conclusion after talking to these various company employees and just getting general feedback, was that once it started and you started talking about it, you would slowly get people who said “no” initially to say “yes”. So what I realised was that when they saw that the other guys’ arm didn’t fall off, (laughing), okay, then … they realised that well if I do this, I’m not going to end up like a drone…
Katina Michael: (laughing)
Gary Retherford: They started to then say “well okay, I guess I will do it” because they saw that it was convenient and couldn’t help but feel relieved … “Well, I like the fact that I don’t have to worry about that stupid card anymore”. So they would just automatically say “yes”. So I came to the theory that, and this was strictly a theory, was that if you had 20% of the people say “yes” and 80% of the people say “no”, that within a few months it would be flip flopped and you would have 80% that would end up saying “yes” to implants for access control and 20% who would probably still maintain their “no”.
Katina Michael: Yes. And did those guys who were the early adopters, did they feel like they were breaking new ground? Was there a buzz in the office? Did they joke about it? And how long did it take before the novelty wore off?
Gary Retherford: Well, I think they thought that it was breaking new ground in the beginning but I don’t think they understood the real impact it would have until after the phone was ringing off the hook for all the interviews. And afterwards CNBC came in and did a special. They did a special that was called “Big Brother, Big Business”, and it’s still shown periodically here in the States two or three times a year. And the last ten minutes of that two hour special was on this particular product, the implantable chip with respect to Citywatcher. Now, to answer your question, after it was probably two or three months … no maybe just one month, the interviews slowed down – there was no more of that. It never really felt like there was any regret of having done it.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: The feeling the employees had was that they were glad that they did do it and it just became no different than any other aspect of their job. It was no longer considered novel after some time, but it wasn’t like that was a bad thing. In fact, it was felt like “I’m glad I did this”.
Katina Michael: And is Citywatcher still going Gary?
Gary Retherford: No, they went out of business.
Katina Michael: Okay.
Gary Retherford: No but it had nothing to do with the chip itself. Would you believe I still have the reader that we used?
Katina Michael: So how did you guys conduct the injections? One guy I think you said did them all?
Gary Retherford: Yes. There was a guy here in town, his name is Dr. Jim Scott and he works for a practice that’s called Doctors Urgent Care. They’re one of these extended hour urgent care type of places and they have eight offices and Dr. Scott is their lead physician.
Katina Michael: And did he have to do any extra research? Or for him, it was just like doing a normal local anaesthetic?
Gary Retherford: Yeah for him it was nothing.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: I mean, he did converse with Verichip, I believe, just to get their input, but for a doctor, what I found out is that doctors are used to sticking people with needles all the time so for him it was nothing new. And going back to the seven people, he’s done all seven people in Cincinnati.
Katina Michael: And it’s in your hand or it’s in your arm?
Gary Retherford: It’s in the right arm and that’s an interesting story too that really people do not know what happened there. This is really kind of interesting. Verichip’s official direction was the upper arm in the back, on the back side in that fatty tissue area.
Katina Michael: Okay.
Gary Retherford: Okay, but here’s what happened. When we did follow their directions … and we had to put on the readers. Well, we mounted the readers at Citywatcher, where we had our original readers. They were located there because they were used where you would have a card. Typically this is about the height of your belt buckle. So when we went to have everybody chipped, we said “where should we put the chip?” And it became obvious that you had to put it in something that was going to make sense relative to where the reader was. So the chip was too big to put in my hand so we had to find the closest fatty part of the arm and typically in the right arm where you could still put the chip in and not see it. So that ended up becoming in the front part of the forearm below the elbow… you know like down in the front part of the arm?
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: So we did that and then it ended up on television. And Verichip called me and wanted to know: “Why did you put it there?” And we said well we put it there because …
Katina Michael: It made sense …
Gary Retherford: … you would have to do it to use the reader. And they said that “We tell everybody that you have to put it in the upper part of the arm in the back”. Well, they said, “Why didn’t you just put the reader up there … you’ll then be able to use the reader in such a way that you could use the back of the arm?” Well did you know why we didn’t put the reader there? This is a question for you: Do you know why that reader is … See, if you look at any tape of Verichip, the reader that they have in their office in Florida sits up about the height about where your shoulder is and to get into a room, they turn around …
Katina Michael: And your reader’s down … lower down?
Gary Retherford: Yes. Our reader’s down. Here’s the question and you may not know the answer, the question is why was our reader down lower? Well, because in the United States in the 1980s, George Bush Snr signed a law called the Americans with Disabilities Act…
Katina Michael: Yes exactly … wheelchair access or those with stunted height…
Gary Retherford: Yes wheelchair. It has to be wheelchair. So Verichip – they’re a little miffed at me because I didn’t put it …
Katina Michael: Yes I understand that …
Gary Retherford: … the thing is not even allowed to be where it’s at. I said technically you’re supposed to move that reader. So that’s how it ended up being in the lower right arm. So some people might think that was some other type of reason for it … you know, “right hand” – all that kind of stuff …
Katina Michael: No no no …
Gary Retherford: But it’s actually because we had to follow the ADA compliance laws.
Katina Michael: Okay. You know, they always … whenever you see the Verichip readers in media snippets, they’re always the mobile ones … they’re the ones that you can pick up and move around to find the location of the chip, but that’s another ergonomic question. Do you know Amal Graafstra at all Gary?
Gary Retherford: No.
Katina Michael: Okay. Well Amal Graafstra is a hobbyist implantee and there’s a whole underground group – possibly even thousands of these guys. They call themselves “the tagged.” We did a full length interview with Amal in a book that we just released titled: Innovative Auto ID and Location-Based Services: From Bar Codes to Chip Implants. Anyway, Amal has got the implants in the webbing of his thumb and forefinger and the reason he said he did that is for usability and easy removal. He does not like commercial chips and he doesn’t like even the remote idea of a government chip, so he said “I’m doing this because its my hobby”. He’s written a book called RFID Toys and this is where he discusses all his fun innovative software where you can use the ID number in the implants to unlock your front door, unlock your car and things like that. He was adamant about not having the implants in his arms because he did not like the idea of crouching down everywhere he went. He believes the hand is the best place, granting him maximum freedom and usability. But Verichip’s problem Gary is that all the specifications, the original patent, the Food and Drug Administration approval, the anti-migration coating they have on the chip itself, it is all geared towards the Emergency Services market. Now, I had some very brief contact with the marketing manager back in 2003 when I was finishing my thesis but the timing was wrongfor further contact. Gary was it a transponder or a tag that was implanted in the Citywatcher trial? Was it a glass cylinder or it was like a square?
Gary Retherford: Glass cylinder.
Katina Michael: And you mentioned it was big. I’m surprised. Like bigger than your thumb’s fingernail?
Gary Retherford: Well they usually use the expression that it’s about the size of a grain of rice. I think officially it’s 12 millimetres long.
Katina Michael: And did you find through your experience at Citywatcher that the transponder worked effectively? That the device didn’t fail – that it worked all the time?
Gary Retherford: The device worked great and when tested with a handheld device that would be used in say an emergency room or a medical application, it read every time like it was supposed to. If Verichip made a better reader, an access control reader, we would be selling them today. But Verichip did not have their own capabilities. They were not willing to make a commitment to invest in a better fixed reader – to make it smaller and more cost-effective. The reader that they manufactured for access control was approximately eleven inches high by five inches wide. So that’s a big monster thing to put on somebody’s door, when most readers today using a card are significantly smaller in dimensions.
Katina Michael: That’s right.
Gary Retherford: … and today you can also get fixed readers in a variety of colours. So what happened was that Verichip made the reader too large and they made it to where they wanted someone to pay them on a cost price of about $500 a piece but you can buy an access control reader for as little as $50 to $75 cost and up to maybe $150. So the reason the reader was too large was because most of what’s inside that reader is an antenna and the antenna is wrapped around in a way in order to make it so that it can read the chip from a distance of say three inches. What I know of it from having talked to some people is that you could make the reader smaller but now you have problems associated with how much heat it puts out in order to read the chip. For instance, too much heat could actually burn a person who’s got the chip inside them. So I had talked to some people about a redevelopment of the reader and there was a little interest out there, but for the most part nobody wanted to make the investment.
Katina Michael: Why was that do you think?
Gary Retherford: The return on that investment was just too risky as you were still competing. Conceptually, if you would make a reader that could read both a card and a chip and you could make the reader you know, say, three or four inches by an inch or an inch and a half wide, you would have a marketable product. That’s where the thing got hung up. It wasn’t that anything necessarily did not work. It was just really because the reader needed to be redesigned and made more marketable.
Katina Michael: Did you ever see the Nokia 2005 design I think it was, where they had a very tiny reader at the bottom of the handset? I’ll try and source a photo for you if you like.
Gary Retherford: Yes.
Katina Michael: So, they had a mobile phone which had a GPS device in it and it also had a reader at the bottom – and in that case you can track, so that an object could be identified using that reader, the ID number is stored somewhere either on the SIM card or sent back to base remotely using the GSM network and that GPS can tell you, at that timestamp, that’s where the individual was, if they’re outside of course. And through Wi-Fi you could even tell what cell they were in. So, this is when the hybrid devices become fascinating to me.
Gary Retherford: I’m always interested in talking to companies out there because I had reached out to the Malaysian companies who have some things going on in microchip readers and technologies.
Katina Michael: Gary, how did your attitude change toward microchip implants after you got your own implant?
Gary Retherford: It went from being I guess curious and had no opinion one way or the other to being in favour of and a supporter of. So I'm currently a proponent and unlike before when I was staying pretty quiet and incognito, I'm starting to change that to become more vocal.
Katina Michael: Okay. How does it make you feel to bear one at the moment while it’s dormant, it’s not being used?
Gary Retherford: Well, one of the issues that I have is that I think we have to have more of an infrastructure for it. I wish that we did have. I'm hoping that with things such as electronic medical records and I don’t really work in an environment where I'd need an access control card anymore but I think that there's an application for it but unfortunately I need companies, I need hospitals, I need doctor's offices to be on board with it, so in that regard I can still get on it with my medical information and do things like that, but without there being an actual infrastructure there it remains just another idea. I have looked at it from the standpoint of it just being for personal identity purposes, but I think that if people have the opportunity to have a chip simply for the purposes of that they will also be able to have their information online and family members should have access in instances of a sudden death for instance. If there are directives in terms of last wills and things like that, that would be of great benefit. People might say, “I've lost x or y and I can't find the directives of what my relative wanted” but now if you have it scanned and put online there are some potential identity and informational benefits there but by and large there has to be an infrastructure to support the applications. So for my purposes, I mean, you don’t even remember that you got it. It’s not something that you walk around with thinking about. You forget about it. But from time to time, I wish the system was already in place where it would be functional and beneficial. I'm hoping that will change quickly.
Katina Michael: Do you think your implant is now removable? If you wanted to get rid of it one day … or you wanted to upgrade it, do you think you could remove it? Or it's in there enmeshed with the tissue?
Gary Retherford: The doctor has told me that it is removable but I don't know that it is something that is not. If it's not that doesn't bother me.
Katina Michael: and with multiple implants … how would you feel if you had multiple implants for different applications or functions?
Gary Retherford: Well I think that that's okay but I don’t think that's the future. I mean, I think that might be the case in the short term -- there might be multiples and that's okay too to some degree. Verichip just announced that they have just come out by shortening the twelve millimetres transponder down to eight so they’re going to continue to make it smaller so as long as there's some place to put it, I don’t see a problem with that. The difference is that is with the Verichip type of implant, its only good for having a 12 or 16 digit number and it doesn't really hold any of the data whereas if you take the Malaysian microchip which is about the size of a head of a pin and can hold vast amounts of data, I think if anybody would ever get to the point that you could encapsulate that into the glass cylindrical tranponder so that it could become implantable, then I think that would make huge strides.
Katina Michael: Gary, I have to say that throughout the whole day I was in class I could not help but to goback to what we were talking about yesterday. I think we’re coming at it from very different angles. I guess our backgrounds in business are the same, I used to work for Nortel Networks in presales engineering– so technical bid support- and it’s very interesting you’re in business development role and still sort of working in sales and I was thinking about your technology know-how and how I think it doesn’t really matter whether someone knows the ins and outs of how technology works exactly – you may have a good business idea and that’s really what it’s all about in this arena. However, in the case of RFID, I was considering whether you had any background in its security. So you’re in the area of security in Six Sigma, but have you done any research with respect to the security of RFID systems?
Gary Retherford: Any research?
Katina Michael: Yes. Like whether it’s a robust technology or what some of its flaws are or its pitfalls or how it may be intercepted or cloned, or how people can remotely kill an RFID device even if it’s within the body and render it dysfunctional? I mean have you looked at some of the limitations of the technology itself?
Gary Retherford: Not to that degree, no. The only security issues I came across were identified after the Citywatcher project and then when I was in the conversation with Liz McIntyre she asked me if I knew that RIFD tags had been hacked. But the thing of it is that–- I never did take the time to do any of the research on RFID from the perspective that you’re talking about. I have been involved in … when I was working for other companies and for myself … to look at selling … companies that were looking at using RFID for tracking of whether it be pallets or something inside the distribution centre but I never went into looking at the hacking part of it from a technical standpoint, no. But after considering what Liz McIntyre told me, honestly, I didn’t consider it to be too much of a concern. So I was not really compelled and wanted to research it because I didn’t see the concern in it.
Katina Michael: Okay.
Gary Retherford: And here is the reason why: the reason why is that on the one hand, people can say that they’re concerned about what’s wrong with a particular technology but the alternative is of equal risk. For example, on the issue of cards those are very easily stolen. I just read the other day that a stolen credit card with pin is only worth 64c on the black market because there’s so many of them being sold every day. I’ll give you a personal example. I went to a restaurant about a year ago and used my credit card. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, but it was rather odd that the person that had my card seemed to have run it through some other type of machine just real quickly and I guess I wasn’t thinking and I didn’t realise what they were doing exactly. I got a phone call from my bank about two or three days later that my credit card was being used at a Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles and what I found out was that the credit cards are regularly being re-swiped by a little box about the size of a matchbox and then they’re transferred. The information/the data is transferred into Mexico where it is converted back into another card and then brought back across the border and used in places along the Southern US/Mexican border. The point of this is that I think that it’s our problem with RFID in terms of some type of potential hacking. The whole thing being equal relative to whatever else is on the market, not to say that that’s a good thing, but it’s the other areas inside the realm of security that are perhaps equally or even more unsafe but you have to put it all into perspective – what’s relative one to the other.
Katina Michael: Yes. What do think about biometrics?
Gary Retherford: I think biometrics are good. I have talked to and did a little bit of research in that area only to come away with that it’s not 100% – that there are some possibilities always that they’re not giving you the same read. I’ve had this conversation with people here just even recently within the last six months that have indicated that they wish that there was a better consistency to either iris scans or generally biometrics. What I foresee happening in the future – and I’ve had this conversation with some of the technical people, is that they see a world where you’re combining two things. In other words, it may not be always the case where it’s implantable chip versus biometrics or biometrics versus something else, but it would be biometrics along with an implantable chip so that maybe in some certain secure areas you would have either fingerprint, hand, eye – which is an identifier with no data along with an implantable type microchip which is an identifier which could include data and that you would need both of them in order to gain access either to a computer or to a room or something of that nature.
Katina Michael: So similar to what some state departments of social security in the US have right now, though instead of a card and biometrics, it is an implant and biometrics.
Gary Retherford: So I don’t see a world necessarily where you have implantable microchips and nothing else. I see it as a world where there is a combination of things.
Katina Michael: In fact, the technical term in the innovation literature is selection environment to describe all those different product devices that might be out on the market and that’s exactly the outcome of my PhD thesis – it’s basically that we’ll have several technologies being used for different aspects of whatever it is that we’re looking at and there’s a best fit for a particular application, whether it’s transport, telecommunications, e-health or whatever it is – that depicts the design … and instead of migration of technology we are talking more integration, convergence and co-existence.
Gary Retherford: I want to go back to one thing that you said too about the hacking of the RFID or if RFID can be read. There’s two parts to this. One is: my proposal from what … well, from my perspective/the way that I’m approaching it is that I see ultimately sooner probably as opposed to later, the use of the implantable chip as being the primary– at least a positive way to go. The technology – the “scientists” if you would – they can always come up with a way to improve something. So, if it’s put out there and we say: “[o]kay, we’re going to do this” whatever this is, and there is enough of a reason to develop the technology then it will go ahead. Just like the example I gave of the highly encrypted Malaysian national ID card. They developed a chip that is still highly regarded as the gold standard. Well, that’s because there was a need for it. So, my purpose is to push the envelope to see it implemented and then when they say “well”… I will respond “Okay well, here are the problem(s), go ahead and fix the problems”. I’m not going to say “[w]ait to fix the problems before you start implementing.”
I think the biggest trade off between cards and chips is identity theft. And people are not who they are and as long as I can get your purse away from you or your wallet away from you, I’m you – and that’s easy to do. That’s not hard. So for say a low-end thief who probably is not going to know how to steal an RFID because of lack of technology know-how you are limiting theft. Certainly when you walk away from your car and if you leave your door unlocked, now somebody else is now you – and that’s what I see as being a bigger problem. So in the world of the trade-off between the problems – what’s the lesser of the two evils – what’s the easiest problem to solve first, the problem to solve is going to be making sure that you’re you. That’s the biggest problem with cards right there. I see it all the time. It’s typical in a corporation for people to hand other people a card and say “Here just go ahead and use my card to get in” and it’s not uncommon for people to swap cards, or for people to just easily take a card or grab a wallet. That to me is where the real issue is. While people are focused in one direction of saying “Well here is the problem with RFID” well, again, like I say it was just announced the other day – it is so easy to steal a card and a pin now it’s only worth sixty four cents on the black market. There’s just so many of them. So we’re going into a world where I think that you’re going to have actual people saying “Look, I need my identity back and I need to have some way to secure identity”. So how is that? And someone says “Instead of having a card, here’s an implantable chip” and that can secure my identity, because if it was a chip there’s no way I could have been taken by a two bit thief. There’s no way that I would have ended up buying something in a Wal-Mart store in Southern California. Now to a professional maybe, they could have found a way to read these, but I think technology will quickly overcome that problem.
Katina Michael: And what of the fundamental problem that you could just zap to oblivion any chip just by walking past it with a particular device, say a microwave device at a higher frequency. I mean we already have at trade fairs for example, people with Cochlear implants or pacemakers are warned to stay away from particular displays because of the frequency and the issues with particular emissions. You know, there was a demonstration made in the US by somebody who was remotely able to detonate an explosive using an RFID device and just doing nasty things to it, so it was able to detonate a nearby bomb for example. We noted this example in an IBM paper we wrote. We’ve also sourced an article from the IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine from 2007 when someone demonstrated that via holding a small on-board carry bag that e-passports could be both skimmed and killed if they were not covered by a basic Faraday Cage. Now I totally understand what you’re saying and the pluses and benefits of an implantable chip as opposed to one that is outside the body, but what of the other problems you would be unleashing by such a system? For one, people could have a field day just “killing tags” rendering them unusable. The second thing is that they’re downloading viruses onto the tag because there is a wireless capability to do that depending on the type of tag and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with encryption at that point. Some aspect of the tag may be attacked. The third thing is to do with the more mundane issue of brand. You know, we all understand brand in the credit card world even though EMV Europay MasterCard, Visa have got this global agreement, but what if tomorrow we’ve got issues with branding of the device and who to subscribe to. I tried to get to this question previously but I don’t think I was very clear this morning when I was saying: “Who’s going to be the owner of that tag? Do you perceive that it will be a Verichip?” I mean, I don’t. I can see a big loyalty thing happening whereby we do have potentially several chips in our bodies even though it is not required. Others will be just dysfunctional and when I asked you about the removal – you were told that it could be removed … but I know that very well from the people that I’ve spoken to: Kevin Warwick the Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, Amal Graafstra and even the American Medical Veterinary Association (AMVA) that it is not a straightforward procedure depending on the implantation zone and whether or not you have the right tools for removal. When the recent who-haa happened about the implants and cancer which was linked back to a Verichip trial, something came out in the Associated Press. Lewan reported about issues relating to tumours… But there was a reaction by the AMVA with bold writing on their official website stating “Do not try to remove the implant from your dog or cat. You’ll kill it” basically. “Don’t try to do it yourself if you think it’s going to cause it cancer”. So it said “Stop press,” basically “We’re going to investigate this further” and the next thing they said – so they didn’t actually just say forget about it, it’s not an issue, we don’t have to investigate – they said we’re investigating it. And the second thing they said is “Don’t try to remove the implant because you’ll destroy the subject” – and that was the word they used: destroy the animal. So, it’s not as easy as you think Gary to remove one of these things. The body accepts it like it is part of everything in there and it has to be a surgical removal. I think it’s very easy to implant. It’s very hard to remove. But brand to me is going to be a massive thing. We can switch now. We can go from one supplier to the next. I don’t know how that would be organised when it comes to storage of information or unique IDs or who’s going to be the major player there. That’s where my questions were. I’ve got the state of play on the value chain. It hasn’t even really been figured out very much. You know, who are the stakeholders in this space? We know integration is a big thing, we know that the supply of the transponder is a big thing, but who else is running the show? That’s what I’m trying to grapple with at the moment.
Gary Retherford: Well, one thing that I see that kind of plays to that question is in the area of electronic medical records because in my Six Sigma world, one of the things that I have been doing is working with some other Six Sigma guys who are interested in, as I have interest in, the medical field because Six Sigma is really coming into the medical field and particularly long-term care, group practices, things of that nature – hospitals certainly. It’s probably leading the way. One of the guys that I network with is a former medical doctor in the Army. He was an army doctor and he’s also a black belt in Six Sigma and between him – he’s been involved in electronic medical records implementations and a couple of other guys have more experience than I have. What I’ve learned is that: that’s one of the things that they’re grappling with inside electronic medical records industry is standardisation. Because there’s a plethora of players in the market and what they’re working towards is some type of standardisation so that not necessarily just because of say the type of device, whether it’s a card, tag, whatever the case may be, however they identify a particular individual, but also in terms of the format, the different type of coating that is used to make one type of system integrate with other systems so for example multiple hospitals, multiple doctors offices with multiple hospitals. How can it all be integrated? There’s a company here in Cincinnati called Health Bridge which as I understand it and I don’t know that much about them, but I understand that that’s what they do: they take the integration between multiple medical facilities and make it so that if you go into one hospital that hospital can access the database of you from other locations who are all part of that Health Bridge system. But what this was leading to was: What would be …. there has to be some kind of standardised system developed so that this communication can take place. Now what I see happening is that through organisations, and I don’t remember who the organisations were, but through various organisations that would come together and there would be a governing international body.
Katina Michael: Like the ISO …
Gary Retherford: … say the international standard and eventually it all works its way through an international standard body that comes up and says “[t]his is the standard that now we’re going use”. I think that we’re still in the early stages of that obviously, but it appears as though there is a process albeit, maybe it doesn’t look real pretty, but there is a process in place that eventually works all that out. So what I see as being multiple manufacturers – there could be. But multiple manufacturers working on one standard that says “Okay, its either going to be a 16 digit number 15 digit number or it’s going to hold this information, it’s going to hold that information, and these are the formats that have to be used if it’s integrated into some type of networked IT system.” But I think that all that would be worked out – I just don’t know who all those players are, but I’ve heard their names mentioned.
Katina Michael: So back to that very notion linking what we were talking about before about ID theft. What if IDs were leaked for example? Or what if devices were tampered with externally and viruses downloaded onto these devices rendering them unusable? I know you’re saying that lets deploy and then let’s fix, but I think that’s one of the big problems with e-passports at the moment – we’ve deployed very quickly, extremely rapidly and nobody has thought about it and now we have people actually skimming left right and centre all over the world – it’s been proven: your passport ID number, your name, your date of birth, your place of birth, your citizen and nationality and we haven’t seen yet how this information has been used or applied, but I know that in many countries e-passports or passports themselves create points to get certain certificates that are government organised. How do you see that? If I was to tell you that they could be zapped and rendered unusable, what does it that say to your business case then? How do you interpret that?
Gary Retherford: How do I interpret that they can be rendered unusable?
Katina Michael: Yes, remotely by anyone who’s got access to a smart phone … you know what the script kiddies are doing? I know of them because I suspect I have taught many of them dabbling in the hacker realm. These are kids just out of high school who do not know much about mainstream Information Technology but think it’s cool to go around hacking sites. They download a script, they don’t know what it does exactly but they know it’s fun because they watch their peers accept notifications on their smart phones or PDAs using Bluetooth for example and then they just create havoc. It’s like victims think “Oh my god, my PDA is just looping non-stop, starting up and I can’t control it” and people in panic while the hackers are just getting maximum laughs from observing their victims. Can you see that this is highly possible in that implant environment? Everyone’s carrying one so therefore everybody’s got a chance at and doing harm to others if they so choose to. And we could institute laws to prevent that from happening, but then go and prove it basically – it’s over a wireless infrastructure so your guess is as good as mine as to where the attack came from. I’ve seen how easy it is to render someone’s PDA dysfunctional and to me it’s no different whether someone is wearing it or carrying it or has it embedded. But I do take your point that … in the perceived sense, that if it’s embedded, people perceive they can’t get to it as easily … but there are other pitfalls …
Gary Retherford: Well, here’s kind of how I see this. And I’m not … I don’t want to sound like … it appears to be over cavalier about the fact that there are not problems that could and probably do exist, however, I think that there’s a trade-off between how far you go. Vis a vis– take a look at the Internet. I mean, I think in some respects there could be the argument made and again I am not trying to sound too flippant about this, but had somebody mentioned to Bill Gates in 1980 “Let’s not work on creating machines that can talk to one other across something called the World Wide Web because we haven’t fool-proofed the method at which those machines cannot be hacked by another source”. Now the problems we have today with viruses and people that are deliberately trying to steal identities over the Internet, I mean it’s unbelievable, but it did not stop the intent to move forward and I don’t know that … you know, I don’t want to put myself in Bill Gates’ head … but I don’t know that the people that were in the early stages of computing – Apple Computer and Microsoft – were they going to stop doing their progress – if you call it progress – of moving forward with those technologies because someone came along and said “Oh, you better not do this because somebody could end up causing you a problem on your computer?” Well, no, they moved forward and I think that’s the trade-off here – is that what’s the alternative. I see the alternative being – because it’s always the case of one of alternative versus the other – and the alternative I see right now is because I think that there are more and more people getting fed up with identity theft and if somebody comes along and says “Well, here’s an alternative now you have this risk”, but now what’s my risk relative to what? Is my risk relative to: somebody could potentially end up causing this to be useless – which is a risk – but people might look at that and say “Okay, but what is the probabilities of it being useless versus what is the situation as it pertains to my other credentials becoming lost or stolen or whatever the case may be?” So what I see is that we live in a society … it’s human nature – and this is why I’ve always said that when people say “Well the chip will never happen” and I say “Yeah it will and the reason it will is because human nature says that it has to” …
Katina Michael: I agree with you regarding the human nature aspect- I guess the famous adage “you can’t stop science” is also equally true.
Gary Retherford: … human nature demands that we have – not me or somebody – but that it is human nature that we go into this technology and that’s because we’ve been told you can’t go there… and as long as there’s the possibility – you know, it’s like “Why did he climb Mt. Everest? Because it was there”. Why do we push the envelopes? I know that in this country, we’re pushing the envelopes on everything from same-sex marriage to we’re still grappling with the pro-choice abortion issues, we’re grappling with all kinds of issues and if you look at this over time, we have to continue to push the envelope. So, will we have same-sex marriage in this country? Absolutely. There’s no question about it. That’s because it’s human nature – we have to. We can’t go in reverse, we can’t stop where we are, we always have to go to the next level.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: … and the same thing goes here is that we will go there. So, that while you raise the point – which is a good point to raise that there’s something that has to be done – that’s not going to be a reason to say don’t go forward.
Katina Michael: And for you Gary, going back to the Microsoft example or Apple example – you don’t see a distinction between a technology which is outside the body and one that is embedded? For example, the frustration that most global corporations and professionals face today is the so-called Blue Screen of Death … you know the Microsoft operating system when it crashes or doesn’t work as it should … and I don’t wish to knock Microsoft – it’s enabled so many wonderful things, but at the same time, can you imagine patch upon patch upon patch upon patch – actually having to maintain your chip … you know, your system breaking down or not being available or the infrastructure not being up – and we’re making one basic premise here and one basic assumption is that electricity is up 24/7 and I don’t know about the US, although I can tell you about a few case studies in Los Angeles about power grid failures but definitely in Australia of late we’ve had some massive problems so one problem is the actual infrastructure and the other is it relies on electricity and it relies on other things – there is this whole value chain analysis that you could conduct on dependability and availability of systems. Nowwhat of systems that the chip might rely, could they be likened to the Microsoft problems? You know, our computer engineers and developers are getting better with each iteration of new software, but we’ve gone through a lot of teething problems with regards to that. How would you feel if you had a chip inside you that functioned as if the Microsoft operating system did say back in the 1990s?
Gary Retherford: Well okay, I think that … while, not to say that would not be a frustration, I think that we’re talking about two different things and here’s the reason why. What I mean by this is that I think the psychology of having it implanted is not going to be the hurdle. I think people will become accustomed and when I say people, I’m going to now kind of shift the tide back to the younger generation so people that are today in their 20s say for example versus someone in their 60s– but I think that they will just view that as “Oh my iPod doesn’t work or my cell phone doesn’t work and my chip doesn’t work so therefore I need to go get some maintenance done”. In other words, the fact that it’s a chip and it’s inside you or inside the person, I think is a different issue as opposed to – and when I say different issue, I mean it’s not going to be any more of a negative impact on an individual just because it happens to be a chip that’s inside them. I think it’s going to go with the territory because I think that it still stands that there’s a lot of people out there particularly – and I don’t … I always get proven wrong every time I say this but I think generally speaking, overall I’m correct – is that people under the age of 30 and under 25 that are part of this whole technology world are more and more acceptable to an implantable microchip and from that group that is here today that is 20 and for the ones that are just being born today, they’re going to look at this and they’re going to wonder why we ever had this discussion because they’re going to say “Well, I have the chip and somebody did knock my frequency out or they did render it a problem so now I need to go in to my doctor or to some place – the clinic or whatever it is – a chipping centre if you would, I need to go in and get my chip reprogrammed or hook me up to a scanner and program me or something like that. I really do see that that’s going to be the way they’re going to think.
Katina Michael: And you …
Gary Retherford: So I see problems associated with people that are trying to destroy these things, I also see that it’s going to become no different from people that are trying to destroy a cell phone and somebody says “Well I need to go get my cell phone fixed”.
Katina Michael: And you don’t see however the fact that you … Gary, you have full control over your PDA. You can’t touch your implant in the same way. One day we might have these remote applications which you could do self maintenance or run diagnostic tests on the implant device but you’re talking to me about going to a third party to fix it during times of outage. I see that as a massive problem regarding control and control over one’s body, oneself, one’s identity, one’s personhood so to speak. Having to go to someone else to fix it is where the problems begin I think and it’s not like we don’t take our computer elsewhere to get fixed, but this is something within you and so I can always throw out my cell phone if I want. I can always delete the applications on it. I can always opt-out of specific services. I don’t know how easy it would be to opt out of an implant application. We are making the assumption Gary that these devices will remain passive, that they will remain just a dumb sort of ID number device, but you did allude to the fact that you can see additional applications will be built in and more storage will be made available on these devices, but let me go further and can say to you: okay, we have … let’s say it’s 2015. We’ve got active tags and we’ve got tags that can be likened to computers within our body and these computers can emit signals to our brain for example and I’m talking now about deep brain stimulation which has been demonstrated to help people with Tourette’s syndrome and Parkinson’s from shaking unrelentlessly. Can you see that once somebody has, potentially, control over certain aspects – depending on what type of person they are, so for example you are diagnosed as being depressed: “Oh, okay you require this upgrade to your implant. We’ll make sure that whenever we feel that you’re getting dark or melancholy, we’ll emit certain signals so that you can feel better” – and this is perhaps a new generation of drug delivery or stimulants that we haven’t considered in the past but is being written about widely at the moment in the area of brain computer interfaces and deep brain stimulation so I’m not talking hocus-pocus now this is happening in a big way.
So, medical is pushing this at the moment and we’re talking about obvious applications in security potentially banking, potentially e-health, potentially a lot of other vertical sectors, but it’s going to happen the other way around in the sense that the biomedical fraternity are already doing cochlear implants, brain pacemakers, heart pacemakers – they have been since the 1950s and 1960s in the heart pacemaker area but in the cochlear implant area sort of late 1990s. Can you see that these things, these future implants are not just going to be passive? They’re not going to be just linking your ID to your database, it’s going to be a much more powerful machinery within and that’s where, for me, I draw the line. When somebody else has control over drug delivery for example or monitoring certain perhaps emotions or corrective kinds of things.
I must be clear here, that I am not talking about implants for prosthesis- I am a strong supporter of corrective technologies to help the blind see, the deaf hear or otherwise. But I’m talking about those other sorts of grey areas. You’re talking about a passive device, I think most of the time, which are simple things, but what if the move and as you say you can’t stop science, but what if the progress was to go more than just a passive implant, it was going to be: hold that computer within the body … as a central CPU controlling things in the body and amplifying things with a greater sensation of touch, smell, sight and hearing. What if you could amplify or enhance humans. Then what would you think?
Gary Retherford: Well, I think that the stage is already set for it. Let me kind of throw another part in that I can tell you why I believe that it will end up there. We have, for example … in… I don’t know … do you guys in Australia, do you have national healthcare?
Katina Michael: Yes. It is called Medicare.
Gary Retherford: Medicare. Okay, so you don’t have it at all ages … It’s only …
Katina Michael: No, everyone …
Gary Retherford: … like our Medicare. Medicare here’s only up to 62.
Katina Michael: No. No, we have a blanket coverage safety-net Medicare for everyone from birth and then we have additional private health insurance.
Gary Retherford: Okay. Well, here I know, of course, you know we’re now fighting over and moving into this national universal healthcare thing and one of the things that came out of that the one side has kind of thrown up as being a potential problem is that it implies in some of the language that the government makes the final decision on what types of care you can get. In other words, an actual decision on a particular cure if you would, to a problem – which may or may not be the case, but my point is that what we’re seeing of it – and you have a lot more history of it there – but what we’re seeing of it is that you already have an interest industry that for the most part have the major control over which drugs you get and how certain things are handled in terms of your care. Now, if you take for example the drug issue and it’s being dispensed somehow through a microchip that’s controlling you, if you step back and look at that just for a second, to some degree you already have that issue it’s just that is not internal. So if you need a particular drug to handle depression, you can’t get the drug or there are stipulations that you can’t do things unless you take the drug. So the fact that it’s either internal through an implant or external I think at some point becomes moot because someone else still has the control and now you go back to what’s the trade-off in terms of cost. So when the argument gets placed at: well, it’s more cost effective to do it through an implant than it is for a person to go through these other steps, other processes in order to get the drug say for example if they do an analysis and they come away and it says: well it cost four times more in taxpayer dollars to … or just anybody’s dollars to get this drug into your system and maintain you as opposed to doing it through an implantable chip, well now you’ve got the push on … towards using it as the chip.
Now, you asked me what do I feel about all of that. Well, I’m one of these people that I do not make necessarily a decision on what I like or what I don’t like. I make the decision or I look at things based upon where I see it going and understand and now you have to work with these parameters. So, I’m totally a proponent that we should move forward with the chip given even the comments that you made about “well what if this, what if this and what if this”, because ultimately that’s where the argument is going to end up anyway – not should we do this, but how do we implement it. I think we’re already at the stage of figuring out: okay how do we … what laws are going to be passed for example, to how far a medical facility or a decision can be made on somebody with a chip – not should we use the chip or not use the chip – I think that discussion has already been done. I think that discussion is over with. Because, the fact that it is within the sights of the technological world to achieve it, you no longer make the argument on should it or shouldn’t be, now you go into the realm of: okay, how do we discuss and maybe legislate on the trade-offs between how much control and how much not control, because we’re only there for all practical purposes we’re there now even if you don’t look at it is an implantable chip. We’re there…
Katina Michael: That is certainly one school of thought.
Gary Retherford: So anyway I guess that’s kind of where I’m coming from. I’m not viewing the question that you proposed to me in terms of: if we believe this argument then we should shut this down? No. It’s an argument that says we’re already there really, even though it may not be. I guess in some respects you could apply it to almost anything. I’m kind of past the argument of saying “Well, this is implanted inside you”. I think that’s a moot point. I think there is enough acceptance in the general population and there are a lot of people that are just waiting for it. In almost all the people I’ve talked to … and I’ve talked to literally probably hundreds – between 2005 and 2007 when I was really doing a lot of the chipping, when I was just bringing it up into groups where I wasn’t even going to be looking at these people as being potential users or receivers of the implant. Every single time, I mean, it was literally 99% of the time there was agreement. Even when people said “Well, I do like it, I don’t like it”, they all said: “Oh but I know it’s coming”. So, society has accepted it. I mean, they’ve basically said flat-out: “I know its coming”. So, its like you’re waiting for the train – you know its coming. So it was really interesting that they just resided to the whole idea, and that I probably am not going to have a choice and so therefore I have mentally accepted the whole notion that at some point in my lifetime, you know, relative I guess to how old one is and how long one thinks they’re going to live, but relatively at some point in one’s lifetime they’ll be receiving an implantable microchip for a variety of potential reasons, typically medical or security. So in some respects I think that we become a society that becomes more tolerant of government intervention or of corporate intervention into our lives and the notion that we have people out there that are fighting this – well, yes that’s true, then that’s when I go back to: it’s a vocal minority.
Katina Michael: So what will drive this implantable regime?
Gary Retherford: I think that it will be driven by commerce. I think it’s going to happen in small incremental ways, in efforts that are first imposed on smaller groups. i.e., for example: Verichip had started to do this thing in Florida back in 2007 where they were going to implant microchips in an Alzheimer’s facility in Florida. The way I think I see it happening is it’s going to be an Alzheimer’s facility here or a nursing home there, or it’s going to be some prisoners here or it’s going to be … you know a corporation that does it with an access control system – but they have to get those readers working better. I mean, I can tell you right now if they would have given me a reader that worked …
Katina Michael: A mobile reader?
Gary Retherford: No. A reader for an access control door.
Katina Michael: Okay a fixed reader.
Gary Retherford: If they would have given me what I had asked for- you know how many companies I had already lined up to begin putting readers in? Several!
Katina Michael: Right.
Gary Retherford: But it wasn’t the problem that I had people telling me: “ no.” My problem was that I didn’t have the right device. I had a company that was ready to go with the implantables, we had picked out the door, we started to go to the employees to talk about getting chipped, but we could never get the reader to work right consistently and at the end of the day I don’t want to chip for the sake of chipping – we had to have an actual functioning system. But we had already drilled holes and everything else. The guy had even run the wires. We were already there. I had no problem. In fact, I had another company even after I had given up – I was just in conversation with another company who said they wanted to do it. So my point is there’s no problem with having people doing it. I mean, that wasn’t the hard part at all. Now, inside any given company that I had this conversation with, of course, I did not have 100% of the people say that they wanted to have a chip, but I did have enough people who said they wanted to have a chip as opposed to carrying a card and there was not a problem with people saying that “I don’t want to do it”. In fact, sometimes they were saying they wanted to do it and there was really no logical reason why. They just said “Well, oh, I just want to get chipped”. So, I guess I don’t see it coming as a massive wave because I think that would cause a revolt. But even with that I think it would be short lived revolt because I still think that it goes back to the comments that I had made to me from people that said “It’s coming. I know it’s coming. It’s just a matter of you know, time”. So I could be wrong, it could be that there’s going to be a massive rollout of it – what I could also see happening is that in my world – because I’m still looking for opportunities where it can be done, the only thing that stops me right now is Verichip because they’re not selling any more chips. They’ve basically shut down their human chip business for access control … I mean even if I had a guy today that said “I want a chip”, I couldn’t sell them one because Verichip is not letting them out …
Katina Michael: But what about free will? I’m challenged by the very notion of human rights and the question that I’m getting at is: Do you think we will need to reassess what human rights means to people? You know, we have this traditional view of what human rights mean and you look back at conventions that were formed post-World War II, but do you think they are irrelevant now? Do think we are entering a new stage where the very notion of human rights that we conceived of, back in, you know, forty, fifty years ago – is it completely different today? Do we need to reassess what human rights means today?
Gary Retherford: Well, yes. I think that that’s a valid argument or a valid statement. One of the things that I keep looking at is that there’s a natural tendency to make the statement that you’re making, you know, if you’re in this world view that you’re in where you see these types of things, but I also take it a little bit further in the sense that what I see it is a continuum of things that are not necessarily based upon a point of time, but it’s a continually evolving thing. I guess the reason I point to that is that-we all become a product of our environment and we all become accustomed to what we see and what we’re used to and I go back to various age groups and where they’re at within our society. So, if you take a person who is 40 for example and they have a particular notion in their heads, they can sit down and articulate maybe to some degree, what they see as human rights, okay. Now you take a 20-year-old and you have them sit down and do the same exercise and they won’t look anything alike. And where I’m going with that is that: while I agree with your statement is that do they need to be rewritten, it’s almost like they need to be rewritten every year. Because we’re constantly, constantly moving quicker now … faster… but I think we’re already behind having rewritten these rules probably twenty times. In other words, technology is moving us – not just technology but a similar example is my daughter you know, who watches … she’s 17 years old and she’s been watching TV like everybody does, they watch the TV sometimes, and she’s been watching it for the last five years and one of the shows that we watch you know just occasionally is the show Friends, okay.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: Well, we did not realise … I’m a product of the 70s and I remember what was considered the social acceptance at that time and now we look on TV and what is the social acceptance of today. So my daughter is making statements one day about what is socially acceptable and my wife and I are, you know, our mouths drop. That’s because we have been subliminally impacted by a change in mores and over the last thirty or forty years because of what is in our environment. So what I see is that while what you say is true, it’s almost moving at such a fast pace now that I’m not so sure that a 20-year-old would even think that whatever you come up with or what I come up with as these new rules, they would still look at it as saying “I don’t even see where those apply.” I don’t think there’s anymore a twenty year or say forty year age difference between a 60-year-old and a 20-year-old, I think that between 60-year-olds and 20-year-olds today, the age difference is about two hundred years. So I guess it was kind of a long answer to a short question, but I think it’s just to the point where we’re just not catching up to the changes that we are going to need to be able to make to address what you just talked about.
Katina Michael: And do you see any risks associated with the pace of change?
Gary Retherford: Do I what?
Katina Michael: Do you see any risks associated with the pace of change we are living in at the moment?
Gary Retherford: Well see, there again, I think it’s all relative. It’s relative to who you’re asking that question to. I don’t think … I mean I can easily answer “No, there’s no risk at all”, but I could also easily say that there’s tremendous risk. Why? Because I can tell you that I think relative to what I know of my past of living in the 1970s, I think that where we’re going is horrible, okay. But I can also tell you if somebody who was born in the 1990s, they would look at me and say – because they can’t conceptualise what I did in the 1970s. It’s unfathomable for them to ever think that I was watching a television with only three channels and I did not have a cell phone and I did not have a computer and, you know, so the differences are so vast that I think it’s … it’s … the question that you pose is a legitimate question, but it can be answered multiple ways. So I don’t get … I guess if I had to pick an answer I’d say “No, I don’t think there are risks because it’s a moot point to say that there are.”
Katina Michael: Yes. Meaning, so what? There are risks in everything?
Gary Retherford: Right. Yes well, you deal with the new risk. So all you have to do – there’s new legislation, new law, they battle it out between various you know lobby groups that have their opinions, but ultimately we continue moving forward in the same direction. It’s just like in this country, we have the problem where we talk about the Democrats and the Republicans and we talk about the Liberals versus the Conservatives, so everybody says “Well, you know a politician that wants to get elected moves to the centre”. Well, what they now realise and have probably realised is that the centre keeps moving to the left. So therefore it’s like the Republican Party is struggling today in this country because many of them want to maintain their original ideology and their core values. Well those core values that they’re choosing are core values from the Reagan years. Well, those core values are no longer applicable. So the core values are changing. So now in order to be central and to be immoderate, you know, I mean a sort of conservative today is 20 years ago the moderate. In other words, it keeps moving to the left – the centre keeps moving.
Katina Michael: So is it the same for you in the case of technology innovation?
Gary Retherford: Yes. So, I think that’s the same thing as we’re talking about in this technology, I think it’s a moot point. I don’t think it’s even an argument anymore. I think the arguments can be thrown out there, but at the end of the day it’s going to be found to be … you know, the new argument is: okay, it’s going to happen so now how do we do it. Let’s address the issues that have to be based on “fact” (quote, unquote), that it’s going to happen anyway. I mean, the things you’re telling me are really hard for me to comprehend. I mean, I comprehend them because I know they’re going on – my involvement with GIS and the tracking and data mining and all that – I understand all that, but I probably understand a lot better than most people because the world I’m in is just like yours. But, I’ve kind of accepted the fact for my own purposes that you know, I’m no longer going to make the argument that it’s a bad idea because it’s not relevant to me to make that argument.
Katina Michael: Yes. I understand. I understand. You know how you mentioned to me and I find this intriguing, you said to me just a second ago, “I know where we’re going. To me, the 1970s me, sort of thing is horrible” and I want to stress that point because many people that I’ve spoken to have said that sort of … it’s an anomaly really, it’s an oxymoron. We’re going to a place that we know … there’s a trajectory that we’re on … we’re riding the trajectory at the moment – it’s like riding a wave, you know you’re going to get to the shore. But you can see it’s horrible and I’m assuming that you’re talking about social structures perhaps … what may happen to social structure… I’m not sure what you were referring to as potentially horrible, but can I say to you that’s exactly what we’re thinking. We know it’s going to happen. So we’re on this trajectory, it’s going to happen, okay we know … again, the risks, who cares – that’s not relevant anymore, to many people, I agree with you. But what’s going to be the aftermath? What’s going to be the result? What will it mean for social structures, for the way people interrelate with one another and depend on one another, to families – if family is going to be even a concept we can understand in the future, I’m not sure. And I’m not saying it’s the correct thing or the right way … I’m going to a conference in Spain next week which is actually about nanotechnology. We’re talking about devices that are the size of one hundredth of a hair … things that are so small they can be ingested. You won’t even know that you’ve ingested it or you’re wearing it or you could be covered in cloth that is made out of this polymer or you know like GPS devices under the skin created using special polymers. What do you think these technologies will do to society? Or is that an irrelevant question too?
Gary Retherford: Well, I think that there’s other things that are … when you talk about society, there’s so many impacts on that. From what I was describing as the thing with watching on television to now, you know, this is a strange one. Now they’ve got to the point where: okay, we’re battling in this country with the question of same-sex marriage. Well, now the next thing to come on the scene which I just heard about two weeks ago is called the triad marriage, okay. Have you heard of that term?
Katina Michael: Yes. I’ve seen documentaries that have alluded to that notion. Similarly, what about the sex bots being developed in Japan which have been around for two or three years now – you know the machine mistresses. The notion that it’s not going to even be human-to-human relationship any longer. Some of the Japanese feel very comfortable with sex machines or dolls and it is sort of acceptable in certain cultures. I’m referring here to extramarital affairs with machines which can be likened to human females. You know, it’s not even human-to-human contact anymore. It’s human-to-nonhuman, but then what’s going to be classified as human in the future is yet to be defined properly.
Gary Retherford: Yes, so I guess in that respect, what I think when you say you know what’s going to have the impact on society? Well if you probably look at it – I don’t know – but if you look at it fifty years from now or one hundred years from now and somebody can look back – the implantable microchip might end up being the least of the bizarre …
Katina Michael: Yes, you are probably right.
Gary Retherford: When people look at it they might think, well you know, I mean what you just described in Japan to me is pretty bizarre. So you know, where on the scale of bizarre-ness does the implantable microchip fit? I think the implantable microchip is going to have its impact on the human … on society as it relates to what you refer to as control or as control and privacy issues, but then it becomes relative to security and that’s where I go back to the whole idea – the first … one of the questions that I brought up earlier which is: you know, does my security supersede my neighbours right to privacy? And I think that always becomes the compelling question.
When I work with people that are in the security realm, Homeland Security people that I know, police chiefs for instance- their whole attitude is like “It’s my job to protect you regardless of what it costs you”. That’s almost their philosophy. So I think that their intent is there, but it’s almost as though the attitude comes through that- “I will protect you no matter how much of your privacy and your liberties I destroy, it’s my job to make sure that there’s no harm that comes to you”. Well, I mean I’ve had that conversation – not in those exact words, but that’s the attitude that you get. But I think the human nature attitude is that no-one wants to have it happen on their watch. Did George W. Bush go too far? You know, now we’ve got that question on water boarding. So, you know, well, we were protected, but to what cost to our social structure? I think 9/11 was really the big kicker although it’s been coming along for many years, but 9/11 certainly had a big impact on pushing the envelope further and further.
Katina Michael: Gary. I’m wondering what your main motivation is for entering the chip industry.
Gary Retherford: I guess there’s two ways to answer this. First, I see an alternative to the system that we have right now that is not very secure and I think that coming at it primarily from the security slant but also from the medical slant as well, I think it makes too much sense to not go down the RFID implant path. I mean, it makes too much sense to not be into chipping. In other words, I think it’s what’s really going to propel us into a world of being more secure relative to the people around us. In other words, our individual security is going to depend upon this particular technology, not that it doesn’t have it’s faults at this point, but I still go back to that I think it needs a proponent and I’m a proponent of it and so I believe that it’s not only going to be an opportunity in the future but I also think that it’s needed and I think it’s something that we need to continue to push for as a global society.
Katina Michael: And the second part, you said that there were two motivations there …
Gary Retherford: Well, the other … I guess the other one is that I to some degree get a little frustrated that there’s too much negativity for what I think is irrational paranoia or whatever the case may be and that I think that the arguments that some people might make – because I, quite frankly, I don’t think it’s as big of a deal that some people are making it out to be. I think there is …there’s certainly those people who either … whether it’s the conspiracy theory thing or if it’s, you know, the Big Brother thing or whatever the case may be, I think it’s a minority – vocal minority, but I think by and large, I think society is ready for it … I’m one of these people that if I know something is coming, I don’t try to not embrace it, I go ahead and embrace it and look for the positive sides of it and on this it was pretty obvious to me that there was a positive side. So I guess that’s the second half of it. It’s almost like I’m doing it also because I feel like there needs to be this side of us who believe – I don’t know who else is out there, but I’m on the side that says we should go forward with this and not be trying to … not be trying to stop it.
Katina Michael: Okay on that point, I have a question which is about how we can obtain or measure community opinions about microchip implants? For example, you’ve mentioned to me you know the sort of informal surveys that you’ve conducted with the community stakeholders you’ve been in contact with. I have a very different view in Australia from the Australian individuals I’ve had contact with. In fact, we ran some classes, focus groups earlier this session and we asked questions about implants and location-based services and it was the vast minority who said they would adopt for convenience mostly – that was their reason toward adoption, not really medical etc. But I’m what kind of instrument can we use to gauge community opinions in various states and jurisdictions?
Gary Retherford: One of the things of course was my informal stuff, but I did engage one person at [UNIVERSITY NAME WITHELD] who continued to do some informal and again call it informal because it did not follow any properly set out focus group policy or procedures but he did go around and did some of his focus groups to various groups on the campus back a few years ago and he reported back to me that overwhelmingly the vast majority of the you know, 18 to 22 year age group that was at the campus that he interacted with (and this was a guy that was in marketing so he was accustomed to concepts of focus groups), and he came back to me and reported that the vast majority of the people that he talked to in that age group saw absolutely nothing against it, nothing wrong with it, and if given the opportunity, they would do it. So I think … I don’t know whether I want to necessarily go around and say that it is an age issue, but I think when you start to look at any type of group that is out there and you’re right, the question is how you get them … you know, who do you get engaged into these conversations? But you have to be careful that the only ones that show up are not the ones that already have a predisposition against the chip.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: … and that somehow you’re getting a cross-section of society. I think the only thing you do, maybe it’s some type of random sampling, phone calls, something like that, but here again you have to look at what age groups you’re looking at – perhaps age groups and maybe other demographics, to try to keep it fair and a quality study. I believe there was a study done and here again I don’t know who did this study, but there was a study done a few years ago as I understand, where the number was up closer to over 50% of the population. I believe this was around 2007 and over 50% of the population at that time would accept the chip. I think the issues regarding the chip might be less in terms of the religious side or the Big Brother side and are probably just more connected to what do I get out of this in return? So, if you’re saying “Well, you know, it’s improving of your healthcare and here’s the reason why or it’s improving of you personal identity and your personal security and here’s the reason why”. I think people can comprehend and make their own judgement based upon the risk return trails to say, “Well, relative to what you’re giving me as a benefit, then I would say ‘yes’”. Those are the discussions that it should be about. For people to come in and start engaging in the discussion and say “Well, it’s Big Brother”, well – or whatever your other paranoias are – then you have to start looking at: ‘Okay, well then why do you have a cell phone? Or why do you use the Internet? Or why are you all these other things, because those same things could have been argued 25 years ago.’” So now you know, you have to consider the arguments of the people that are against it and really come down to a rational reason why people would argue either for or against either way and I don’t consider paranoia or just someone of a radical viewpoint to be a rational reason to either include not include something.
Katina Michael: So just to clarify there, because we’ve asked this question of all our stakeholders on the commercial side and academic side, so for you for instance religious conjectures are radical or irrational thoughts or ideas regarding RFID implants? Would I be correct in assuming that these notions or these views you don’t pay much attention to because they are not important from your innovation perspective?
Gary Retherford: No, because I think they’re a vocal minority. I think they’re people that are going to vent over something. It doesn’t matter what it is, there’s going to be something that they want … if it wasn’t the chip, they would find some other thing to bring up their frustration with … the chip just gives them a convenient opportunity to express their opinion on something.
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: So, if you didn’t have the chip … probably in the 1930s it was the Social Security Number in the United States. You know and then later on it was going to be something else. There’s always a group that’s always going to find a reason to vocalise their resistance against any kind of new technology or what they consider to be something that’s going to be an infringement. But they will always find that. So right now, the chip … if you can go to some websites and they’re going to find just about anything they can to have their arguments against, so what I do is, I mean for me personally, I have to look at these groups … and essentially for my sense of purpose I ignore them. After the Citywatcher project back in 2006, Verichip had offered me, and for a while I was the person who was supposed to be the national rat for the access control product in the United States, I wasn’t the only one who was offered it, there were others … A couple of the other people that I know that got hung up on the idea that they didn’t want to really address going out and doing the implantable microchip in an access control environment until they had addressed the issues of say in some cases, the religious groups and my position was “No, you ignore them”, because, you know what: you’re wasting your time in that debate because that’s what they want to do, they want a debate and that’s not my position. My position is to move forward and not pay attention to that particular fringe.
Katina Michael: And Gary on that thought process, how do you view critically the US anti-chipping laws, do you ignore them as well? Is that part of the debate in the sense that …
Gary Retherford: Well, it is interesting because I actually was not even aware of the anti-chipping laws when we did it and what I find out was that back in Ohio where we did this, the anti-chipping law that they have here had not passed. It was not actually even put on the table. There was not a committee on it until after we did what we did with Citywatcher project …
Katina Michael: Yes that’s right.
Gary Retherford: And I believe looking at the dates that Wisconsin – I’m not sure about Wisconsin – California, Ohio, and I believe it was one of the Dakotas …
Katina Michael: North.
Gary Retherford: I believe this took place after we did what we did. So certainly what we did ... you know must have caused some rumblings in some state houses, but like Ohio it did not pass ... They did not have a law at the time as I understand it… But there again you have a minority of states, I believe at the last count there might have been six that had something that they were looking at in this regard. I’m not saying that there aren’t some laws that are not needed. I don’t want to say that there are not some conditions in which some rules perhaps, some legislation should apply. But the anti-chipping law the way I saw it was not against the use of the chip, it was just against being an enforced implantation …
Katina Michael: That’s correct.
Gary Retherford: I don’t see chip implants ever being forced. What I see happening is it’s going to be a situation where there are people that are going to take it but they will be given an option. I think that the options that people look at might be “Well, given the possibilities I think I would rather have it than not have it”, but we already live in that today. I found it interesting enough that it is not required by law that you have to have a Social Security number in the United States.
Katina Michael: That’s right.
Gary Retherford: But that it is an option. Most people don’t know that anymore – that you can go through life without a Social Security number but it certainly makes it difficult, because if you want to do anything else you’ve got to have one. So the chipping law may always be the case where it may be an option, but the question is: what do you give up by not using it?
Katina Michael: Gary, could I ask you why you got in touch with us? What was the intent behind this communication? I know it was after the article that appeared in PerAda Magazine but what did you hope to achieve from calling us and getting in touch with us?
Gary Retherford: Well, what I’m doing – here’s a little bit of background now – when I had done the Citywatcher thing and I had said earlier that I was basically wanting to see what the world was made of, there was also a part of me that felt that there was nothing wrong with this, in the fact I felt and still do, that society should go forward with this. Part of the reason I also put out there was because I know that as humans we begin to do things more and more as we get used to it. So there’s the initial shock, but once you get over it, whatever “it” is, we tend to absorb it, we bring it into our minds, we’re able to wrap arms around it and we continue to move forward. Now sometimes it takes a little bit longer for some than for others, depending on the situation or what it is. Part of the reason I sent that out there at the time was because I wanted to get it talked about, I wanted to get it out there in society, get people thinking about it. One of the things I knew was that as that happened, it would be more likely– and I was confident in this– that it would be actually driving towards an acceptable issue. Because once people got over the shock– and I’ll give you an example of this– is that when I first did this, the first one, we had all the TV and the radio and everything else, they were showing up for Citywatcher. Then when we proceeded on over the next couple of years I did a couple more chippings. I finally got to the point where nobody wanted to show up. We had no TV people show up, no radio people, it was no longer a story. The last time I did this, we did it in 2007 and there was a guy who was chipped here in Cincinnati and all the TV stations knew about it, you know we put some word out there, but when nobody was showing up, except one TV station did and then it was not the main story, I said to somebody, I said “Okay, it’s here, because once you get to the point where it’s not the story then it is now acceptable.”
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: … because nobody turned up, it was no longer of any shock value. Now but what I did at the time, to get back to your question, what I did at the time I had still stayed for the most part in the background. I have recently changed my position in the sense that I’m no longer anonymous. I’m still a proponent of and will still continue to push for the use of this product, but the difference is now I’m no longer going to be sitting in the background. I’ve taken a different stance in the sense that I’m coming out, I’m not behind-the-scenes, but rather to say that I am for it openly, and I believe that we should continue to work towards embracing it, deal with the issues that we may have as regards to any of the other concerns that people may have, not be afraid to go into legislation and have State or Federal people, you know, politicians look at, you know, what are the factors here and there. But not to say that we should just kill it outright, because I don’t think we should kill it outright, I think it needs to go forward but it’s just now I’m willing to come out and when I saw your article I thought well, I would contact you and you know wanted to start a dialogue because I’m not sitting back anymore being quiet about it.
Katina Michael: Gary would you like to be named in this transcription, yes?
Gary Retherford: Sure.
Katina Michael: And we can mention the name of Citywatcher?
Gary Retherford: Yes, you can use the name I guess because they are no longer in operation.
Michael Michael: Katina, can you ask Gary is he aware of Professor Kevin Warwick’s research?
Gary Retherford: Was I aware of what research?
Katina Michael: Professor Kevin Warwick at the University of Reading … the guy who did cyborg 1.0 project …
Gary Retherford: No I wasn’t. Was that something that you mentioned to me earlier?
Katina Michael: Yes.
Gary Retherford: Okay, I think that I have that written down.
Katina Michael: I’ll send you his details and also you could find all these interviews in our book that was published in March of this year. There are six or seven full-length interviews, three of which were with implantees and one which was with the director of the Biomedical Institute at Imperial College, but I’ll send you a link to that book in case you don’t have it yet, but I think you’d be very interested in reading what Kevin Warwick had to say and what Amal Graafstra had to say.
Gary Retherford: Sure.
Michael Michael: Gary, I know Katina asked you before, but she may not have asked it in this way. Do you agree or do you believe that eventually if this happens, there’s going to be quite a massive abuse of this system? Or are you more idealistic about its application or its use by the government or by private enterprise? Or are you suspicious that one way or another the system will be abused and to what extent do you think that it will be abused and do you think it’s going to level out?
Gary Retherford: I think that it will be … first of all I feel it’s definitely going to end up coming. So it’s not like “Yes” in my opinion, it’s just a matter of when. I think it will be incrementally over time. I don’t think it’s all the sudden being tomorrow or one day they wake up and say “Okay right, the world must do this”. I think it will be incrementally brought into society. I think that there will be attempts to maybe abuse it by those people who are already trying to attempt to do these things that are either external to the government or you know, say other organisations that we interact with. But I don’t think it’s going to be any different from what we see today. For example, I just saw on the news today in the United States they reported that from 2005 to 2007, the number of cyber attacks in this country had went from somewhere in the vicinity of 6 or 10,000 or whatever it was in 2005 to 72,000 this year. Well, that’s obviously something that we live with as a society. We live with the fact that people are trying to steal our identities through credit cards and our pin numbers– that has increased. So I think we will look at the trade-offs between what we have as the benefit versus the cost. So for an argument to be made, well there will be an abuse of this, well can we say that there’s no abuse today? There is. So what’s the return? Well the risk return is still that it’s better to have than not to have and I think that it’s actually going to give us better control over these abuses because one of the abuses, one of the places that we’re vulnerable today is that our identity is so easily taken away from us and there’s nothing that prevents somebody else to be us okay, because our system is too weak. Right now our system allows the somebody to take my identity go to another part of the country and completely start all over or start using me, but if I’m not… if I was implanted for example, I would have to be there physically for that to be possible. In other words, there is going to be abuse, but it’s going to actually, I think, make the abuses much tougher by having this particular product than the abuses we have today. I think we’ll look back at this 100 years from now and say wow, you know, they should have been onto that chip thing much earlier than they were because you can see how abused the system was before the chip and how much better it was after the chip. So I think it all has to be taken in the context of looking at what the alternative is and I think the alternative is to us in this society, today, is that the alternative to not having the chip is much worse than having it.
Michael Michael: Gary, just one last question before I let you go. Okay, there is so much we can say here, but I want to get another opinion. Given that this will be … this chip will be so intrusive and of course that opens up other questions, but I want to get to the point of, the question of autonomy. Don’t you think that it’s going to have an effect on the way we act? In other words it’s going to affect our choices and our decisions and maybe a great part of our life will be acted out in theatre. We may lose our spontaneity and we may act the way we think we have to act. I’m thinking in terms of identity, personality, consciousness. Do you think of these issues and are you concerned about them or do you think they’re philosophical concerns are not really touching reality? Or do you think they are real concerns?
Gary Retherford: I think they’re concerns if you knew the alternative and I’ll give you an example. I myself am 50. I was working here recently about a year ago with a group of guys who were around 23 and they were very high-tech guys and we got into the discussion of me remembering the 1970s and them not even being born until they were in you know the late 1980s. So what I realised was that they could not comprehend at all in their minds what the 1970s were like. So what I realised is that when we put up as a concept of what you just said, you know, is this going to have an effect or not, I think it all becomes relative to where we start and the reality of it is as people we don’t live forever, we die. Now, not to sound morbid but what that means is that as we move forward everything becomes relative to what you’re accustomed to. So I don’t think that over time the question that you pose is ... Well, I think it’s legitimate to throw it out there, but I don’t think it’s going to have legitimacy as we move down the path of time. Because as we move down the path of time, yes we’re certainly going to be different today than they were in the year 1930 and in the 1930s they were different than they were in the year 1850. So every generation that comes along is different. So the question is a legitimate question, but the question is just as legitimate to be asked in 1930, as it is to be asked in 2009. But will that change anything? No, it won’t change anything at all. It just means that as time marches on, everybody adapts to their environment. So the humans, those people that are not yet born, the ones that will be born next week– those people will adapt to this … whatever new technology surrounds them in the year 2025 we’ll say, then they will be adapted to that and that will set the their benchmark at that point.
Katina Michael: Thank you …
Gary Retherford: So I don’t see… I think that’s why I say it evolves. I say it evolves because we do not live forever. We have a limited timeline whereas technology does not. Technology’s timeline is infinite.
Katina Michael: Thanks Gary for that reflection. I’m conscious that it’s coming up to just over 30 minutes and I said five questions and we’ve asked about nine. I just wanted to close Gary by thanking you for all your time, I think to be honest with you, I feel something special happened here over the last few days. This is a groundbreaking interview.
Gary Retherford: Well this has been really good for me, I’ve really enjoyed this and being able to have this discussion because you know, it’s made me think.
Katina Michael: Yes, us too.
Gary Retherford: But I appreciate it. It’s been very good. Thank you.
Katina Michael: Okay, thanks for all your time, and we look forward to further contact in the future.
Autonomy: independence or freedom, as of the will or one's actions; the autonomy of the individual.
Big Brother: the most common sense of “Orwellian” is that of the all-controlling "Big Brother" state, used to negatively describe a situation in which a Big Brother authority figure — in concert with "thought police" — constantly monitors the population to detect betrayal via "improper" thoughts.
Choice: the freedom to choose between several options, such as mainstream or alternative options.
Citywatcher.com: a video surveillance company in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Free will: is the ability of agents to make choices unconstrained by certain factors.
GIS: geographic information systems are designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data.
Human rights: are universal and apply to all people. These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in local, regional, national, and international law. See for example, the European Court of Human Rights.
Microchip implants: are those implanted into the human body for therapeutic and non-therapeutic purposes. Usually the implantation zone is in the lower half of the arm, for mobility and interaction for various reader heights and ease of use.
Risk return: principle is that potential return rises with an increase in risk. Low levels of uncertainty (low-risk) are associated with low potential returns, whereas high levels of uncertainty (high-risk) are associated with high potential returns.
Rules: a rule pertaining to the structure or behavior internal to a business toward decision-making.
Six Sigma: is a set of tools and techniques/strategies for process improvement originally developed by Motorola in 1985. Six Sigma became well-known after Jack Welch made it a central focus of his business strategy at General Electric in 1995.
Technological evolution: is the name of a science and technology studies (STS) theory describing technology development. It has been applied to other theoretical frameworks with respect to incremental innovation, or changes to technology over time.