Friday, August 22, 2008

Vaya con GPS

Down Mexico Way, it's self defense:
Affluent Mexicans worried by soaring kidnapping rates are spending thousands of dollars to implant tiny transmitters under their skin so satellites can help find them even when stuffed in the boot of a car.

....More people, including a growing number of middle-class Mexicans, are seeking to have a microchip implanted under their skin by Xega, a Mexican security firm whose sales jumped 13% this year. The company claims to have more than 2,000 clients.

Detractors say that the chip is little more than a gimmick that serves no real security purpose. The company injects the crystal-encased chip, the size and shape of a grain of rice, into clients' bodies with a syringe.

A transmitter in the chip communicates with a larger GPS-enabled device carried by the client, Xega says. That gadget reports its location to the company when the owner presses a panic button, something the device could arguably do without an under-skin chip.

....Xega, based in the central Mexican city of Quererato, designed global positioning systems to track stolen vehicles until a company owner was kidnapped in broad daylight in 2001. The firm sees kidnapping as a growth industry in South America and plans to expand its services next year to Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

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