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Wealthy Mexicans Getting Chipped in Case of Abduction 306

Because the number of abductions in Mexico has jumped almost 40% in the past 3 years, the wealthy are getting subcutaneous transmitters so they can be tracked when kidnapped. Xega, the Mexican security firm which makes the chips, has seen a sales jump of 13% this year. The company injects the crystal-encased chip, the size and shape of a grain of rice, into clients' bodies with a syringe. The chip then sends radio signals to a larger device carried by the client with a global positioning system in it. A satellite can then be used to find the location of the missing person. Things must be a lot worse in Mexico than I thought.


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Wealthy Mexicans Getting Chipped in Case of Abduction

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:45PM (#24711623)

    Oh.. the humanity...

    • by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Friday August 22, 2008 @07:01PM (#24713363) Homepage

      Because the number of abductions in Mexico has jumped almost 40% in the past 3 years

      Okay, well 40% increase doesn't neccesarily mean its a large number or ever was to begin with.

      Xega, the Mexican security firm which makes the chips, has seen a sales jump of 13% this year.

      Once again, if the their sales were only a handful prior... But really the big issue is we're afraid that at some point in the future we will see this mandated by the government and a case like this will be used as justification of the need. Really though, I would think those with the most wealth and/or power would be the least likely to want to be tracked.

      • Interesting... and interesting since the wealthy usually are the ones who are capable of actually defending themselves and "getting away with it" as the newspapermen call it.

        AFAIC (As far as I care), if they can't be bothered to be properly outfitted for self defense, they deserve to be captured by thugs AND to have their chip painfully removed, along with whatever else it was implanted into. Sure would be nice to see the mexican thugs get wise to this and use painful live surgery to remove chips... perhap

        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          by DaedalusHKX ( 660194 )

          What makes me so damn angry about people wanting to be tracked like livestock, is simple...

          If you want to be treated like cattle, I certainly hope you get EXACTLY what you wish... and you get it good and hard.

        • Yeah, kids getting implants ripped off is just hilarious. That's what they get for not carrying.
          • by DaedalusHKX ( 660194 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @09:32PM (#24714565) Journal

            You know what I find stupid?

            How everyone's worried about their kids being kidnapped, yet I was born in a country where human slavery (and the kidnappings that resulted in said human trade) was alive and well. Interestingly, I never got kidnapped and neither did any of my siblings, or cousins, or whatever else. Most of their deaths, of those few that died, were due to political executions by the government or "army service"... which was the same thing. Undesirables with undesirable views were always assigned to the unit that got the least training, shittiest gear, and front line service.

            So my comment stands. I have valid experience with not being kidnapped in a country rampant with kidnappings and both organ and flesh trade. If you were born, and live in the USA or a "western" country. You do not have such experience. You've lived your whole life in a nice safe haven. It was made so not by government. (If that were true, then China and the former USSR would've been the safest places on the planet.) Safe places are made by the bad guys not knowing when they'll not be coming home. It is also made by people learning NOT to get into a car with or taking candy from strangers. This is increasingly so with so called rich people. Especially when said rich people actually can move their residence on a whim. But hey, better off as cattle than walking without fear.

            So suit yourself. You pack your chip, I'll pack my Colt, good training, and good mindset. If we both run into bad guys, and can't escape, lets see which one of us is more likely to make it home. Me with my training and proper mindset, or you with your chip. Hope the badguys don't decide that they're kidnapping you to send you home in a salsa bag as a "message"... otherwise that chip won't really help you much if all they want to do is send a message. As for me, they either take me by complete surprise, and take a chance at having to neutralize a large "neighborhood" where we look out for each other, or they stay the hell away. So much simpler :) And for the record, I don't flaunt my wealth IRL, what little I have. Wealth is for my personal well being, not to flaunt in my neighbors' eyes. I help mine. This is the sticks out here man, if you get missing here, the only thing the chip will help, is to find the wild animal that got you, presuming it actually ate the part with the chip :)

            Its you city slickers that need protection by others. Out here, you provide your own, or you don't go home. Most of the folks I met here, whether sticks living for life, or "reformed city slickers", few seem to need someone to "make them safe". We got 3 sheriff deputies, which are still 3 too many, but at least they're nice enough to not interfere with people's lives. Strangely, we don't need SWAT or hostage rescue. Why? Dunno, maybe a different culture out here than some of the places you've been around. AFAIC, I believe you lay your own bed. If you need to be chipped like property to be "safe" or to have your kids be safe, i just hope you don't complain when you're treated like property. Remember, property has no rights. When you take on its likeness, you become it. Hope its to your liking, and know I will be among those who respects your decision and never lifts a finger to help you.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by zsau ( 266209 )

              You have my respect for typing such a long reply into such a narrow box, but aside from that I think it's confused:

              • These chips aren't for "city slickers" living in America, they're for people in Mexico.
              • Having a chip doesn't stop you packing a gun.
              • Having a chip doesn't make yourself like property; it's like carrying a mobile phone. Or a gun ("oh, he can't help himself; he needs to have his own personal protection service like cattle").
              • Refusing to help someone clearly in need is the most inhumane thing in wo
              • shopping list (Score:3, Insightful)

                Ok. So now all I have to do is scan the crowd to see which rich bastard will give the best ROI on an abduction. A side effect of being wealthy is that they are often usually healthier than the masses and even if they can't provide a good ransom, they can give better prices when sold for parts.

                Now that they are electronically tagged for my shopping convenience and cross-referenced with financial databases, there is a lot less shot-in-the-dark guessing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by flosofl ( 626809 )
        From Wikipedia's article Crime in Mexico []:

        During the first three years of Fox's government, the official number of reported kidnappings showed a slight decrease, from 505 in 2001 to 438 in 2003. The new Federal Investigation Agency (Procuraduria de Justicia) reported dismantling 48 kidnapping rings and saving 419 victims.

        Now those aren't recent numbers (about 4 years back). But still even if they reduced them to 300/yr since then (which I think would be miraculous) a 40% increase would mean an avg of o

  • Wonderful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:46PM (#24711653)

    Great. Now when you're kidnapped the first thing they'll do is cut off a chunk of your flesh. Or even just stick you in a metallic sack so that the radio signal can't escape.

    • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Freeside1 ( 1140901 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:52PM (#24711769)

      The chip then sends radio signals to a larger device carried by the client with a global positioning system in it.

      Or they can just smash the 'device' to bits. I fail to see the utility of this system.

      • They might not even try snatching people who are seen carrying the 'device'. They'll instead go after girls who don't have one of these on display. Likely.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by davester666 ( 731373 )

          Or the opposite. Anybody carrying one of these devices thinks of themselves as being wealthy and/or important. That is like having a tattoo on your forehead saying "Kidnap Me".

          And of course, once kidnapped the external device is destroyed. And if the implanted device has any significant range [say, more than 1 room, so it may be detected outside the room where you are held], the implant also gets dug out. So, if you're lucky, you will be ransomed quickly, so you can get some antibiotics to kill the infe

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by rrohbeck ( 944847 )

          So we'll need to inject all girls with one of those too. Problem solved.

      • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Insightful)

        by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:26PM (#24712985)
        Think "watchdog timer". It's like all you sysadmins who can tell when a system goes down, not because it sends a "Hey, I just went down" signal, but because it stops sending a "hey I'm up" signal.
        • Still, this is not a terribly fool proof idea. The kidnappers could throw the device into a passing freight train to confuse law enforcement.

    • by hotdiggitydawg ( 881316 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:16PM (#24712863)

      Pretty much... gives the term "Faraday Cage" a whole new meaning.

    • by k1e0x ( 1040314 )

      Yeah, good thinking rich guys.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      They were cutting off bits of peoples flesh [] before this technology was introduced, so people having nothing to lose.

      But given the mood in Mexico, any corrupt police officers may just end up having a life-span slightly less than an airline hijacker armed with a box-cutter.

  • by SengirV ( 203400 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:47PM (#24711661)

    The chip then sends radio signals to a larger device carried by the client with a global positioning system in it.

    Call me crazy, but I think I found a flaw in their system.

    • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:50PM (#24711699) Homepage Journal

      Call me crazy, but I think I found a flaw in their system.

      You're just too cynical.

      In other news, I had a personal transportation chip injected into my feet. So long as I'm occupying a moving vehicle, it works perfectly at transporting me around.

    • Call me crazy, but I think I found a flaw in their system.

      That would depend on where they're hiding it...
    • Well, there is also the risk of cancer [], but hey.
    • by fm6 ( 162816 )

      I won't call you crazy. People who don't feel secure (and if you're a middle-to-upper-class person in Mexico, you have much reason to feel insecure! []) are easily taken in by gimmicks like this.

      Even if the GPS thing were built into the chip, what good would it do? The first thing kidnappers would do would be to dig it out.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by credd144az ( 1078167 )
      I think the real flaw is that I'm not a cat []...
    • by Panoramix ( 31263 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:15PM (#24712853) Homepage

      I think the story is wrong. This company, "Xega" (website [], in Spanish) seems to be offering two different products. One is the "Verichip", which seems to be a subcutaneous RFID chip intended for identification. Like for (very paranoid) access control, or medical emergencies.

      The other product is called "VIP" and seems to be a GPS + GPRS device. You press a button on that thing and it transmits your current position to some server.

      I see no indication that both gadgets are related in any way. Well, the website is all fluff, so I can't really say, but I think the story is mixing them up.

      Still, that "VIP" thing does strike me as rather useless, since the first thing a kidnapper does is point a gun at you and make sure you stay still, with your hands in view. And the second thing is emptying your pockets.

      And yes, I live in Mexico, and I've been kidnapped... well, just a couple hours, while I was being mugged. See I got off from work around midnight, hailed a cab in the street and boarded it. The driver took off, I even chatted with that fucker. But once we were in a dark-ish, lonely street, he suddendly stopped the car, pointed a gun at me, and two men from another car that was following us quickly got into the cab. One of them pressed a knife against my stomach and ordered me to "act naturally". They took me for the "ATM ride" (cash withdrawals from different ATM machines all over town, until all the cards were dry). They also got the cash I was carrying on me, of course, as well as my laptop (powerbook 5300... shit, I miss that ugly brick). They gave me back my wallet with my IDs, and some papers from work I asked them to take out of the laptop case. They dropped me off at a Metro station.

      This was back in '97 I think, in Mexico City. A month later I was living in Guadalajara, and haven't had any such experiences since.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:50PM (#24711711)

    Things must be a lot worse in Mexico than I thought.

    Somebody hasn't been paying attention. Kidnapping is an entire industry in countries south of the Rio Grande, especially in Mexico and Brazil, and has been for at least a decade.

    • by antibryce ( 124264 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @06:04PM (#24712703)

      Not just south of the border either. There have been over 200 kidnappings [] in the US this year so far.

      But hey don't call for tighter border security or you're a racist!

  • I'll bet organized crime has the trackers faster than the police do. Probably stolen *from* the police...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:51PM (#24711735)

    If you need to carry a "larger device" with you to send the signal, why do you need an implant?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke ( 6130 )

      What exactly is the implant for? My guess is squeezing another couple grand out of scared rich folk.

    • by markana ( 152984 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:02PM (#24711887)

      It's simple.

      If they get thrown in jail, then can dig the implants out of their arms, and use them to make a primitive laser to cut open the lock.

      Of course, it takes 2 implants, and a piece of an old bedframe....

      • by Hugonz ( 20064 )

        If they get thrown in jail, then can dig the implants out of their arms, and use them to make a primitive laser to cut open the lock.

        Of course, it takes 2 implants, and a piece of an old bedframe....

        And also this [] full season McGyver DVD set.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:18PM (#24712101)
      My guess is that if the implant can no longer communicate with the larger device, a trigger goes off to notify the service to start looking for that person in the last known location. After that, you're really working with a perimeter that grows by time.

      •   So the kidnappers dig the implant out of you*, tape it to the device and leave it somewhere...

        * Probably with a dull spoon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      My intuition is that the interaction between the chip and the larger device is actually pretty important. If the device has a panic button on it, it serves as a homing beacon as long as it remains in the possession of the person with the chip. If it becomes separated from the person with the chip, it could automatically go into panic mode and identify the location where the person was forcibly separated from their device (or, you know, where they accidentally left it at the boutique.) Depending on exactl

    • (If it's the same technology I read about a while back) the implant is essentially an ID chip, and the larger device acts as an "amplifier" of sorts that broadcasts the position. The amplifier is probably generic, so any given amp would just broadcasts the ID's of any chips within range.

      If the larger device gets seperated from your person you're still screwed, but at least you won't be leading the authorities on a wild goose chase (think Total Recall, where Quaid eludes Cohaagen's men by sticking the t
  • Say again? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hansraj ( 458504 ) * on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:51PM (#24711747)

    The chip then sends radio signals to a larger device carried by the client with a global positioning system in it.

    Huh? What are these people smoking?

    Also, why is it on Idle and not on, say, science?

  • by pwnies ( 1034518 ) * <> on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:52PM (#24711755) Homepage Journal
    a common thief finds a way to access the positions of all of these rich people. Seems to me an easy way to establish targets, not protect them.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:52PM (#24711761)

    This is why we should put more R&D in implanting Laser Eyes. Whos gonna kidnap you if you can shoot lasers out of your eyes.

    • by mangu ( 126918 )

      Whos gonna kidnap you if you can shoot lasers out of your eyes.

      The only problem is finding a fishbowl small enough to carry but big enough to hold a shark.

    • "My ruby cortz visor helps contain my optic blasts."
      "Shut up, Scott."

    • by Hugonz ( 20064 )
      Hello Sir.. may I see you laser eyes license , please?
  • ewww (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @04:52PM (#24711763) Homepage Journal

    i hope buyers realize that all they are doing is changing kidnapping standard operating procedure

    kidnappers will now locate the chip probably with nothing more than a $20 standard wall stud finder, then reach into the victim's skin with sharp nosed dirty pliers and toss the chip on the street. then probably send the victim's family a picture of the gaping wound for proof of untraceability and bonus horror factor


    • Why bother with all of that? Just toss the GPS device in the garbage. Leave the little RFID implanted where it's at. It can't do anything.

      • Because, the RFID chip would probably let even mexican grade technology identify the body in the ditch as the person you are collecting a ransom on.

    • Schadenfreude (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nymz ( 905908 )
      This is on Idle (our offtopic humor/meme/viral video/pictures section) because:
      - Once abducted, you have plenty of 'idle' time. (clever joke)
      - Slashdot editors think abductions are funny when they happen to Mexicans. (Schadenfreude) []
    • Sounds like a scene from a low budget horror movie to me.
    • And the device still goes into panic mode. Then it comes down to response time of the organization that implemented it and the local law enforcement.

  • by toby ( 759 ) * on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:04PM (#24711921) Homepage Journal

    In a Brazilian movie called Manda Bala [] . Abductions are a thriving industry in São Paulo, Brazil, and the movie focuses on the common practice of cutting off all or part of a hostage's ear (or finger) in order to expedite a ransom payment.

    It is a generally thought provoking movie, with several memorable interviews, and at least some discussion of root causes of the problem (corruption in government among them, although the government of Luiz "Lula" da Silva [] may be making progress against it, despite so far losing the battle to protect protected areas of Amazon wilderness [] - a problem also intimately connected with corruption).

    However the movie is deeply marred by the inclusion of the anonymous São Paulo businessman, "Mr M" - a self-obsessed, vacuous nitwit, apparently American and perhaps a conveniently interviewable associate of the American filmmaker? whose ego was no doubt unduly boosted by his part in the film. Unfortunately, whatever this individual had to say about being "chipped" is unlikely to betray any insights: In a city known for violent carjackings, this guy's response was to bulletproof his ostentatious Porsche, instead of simply driving a less conspicuous car. I stopped caring about his fate very early into the film; one is tempted to say he need not worry about being kidnapped as nobody would miss him to pay a ransom.

    • by mangu ( 126918 )

      In a city known for violent carjackings, this guy's response was to bulletproof his ostentatious Porsche, instead of simply driving a less conspicuous car

      What's the point in being rich if you can't spend it? In his place I'd do exactly the same.

      If you have money that was legally earned, you owe no apologies to anyone, you are entitled to it. Do you think the law allows some immoral ways to earn money? Change the law. I see no point in criticizing people just because they have money.

      • by toby ( 759 ) *

        If you want to spend your (allegedly honestly earned) money ostentatiously, I recommend Monaco over São Paulo on common sense grounds. (If we rewind to the premise of the article: Kidnapping is a real risk for the wealthy in some countries.)

        I didn't criticise him because he had money. I criticised him for being vapid, obnoxious and foolish; being rich exempts no-one from those faults, as your celebrity culture dazzlingly proves. And he almost ruined an otherwise intelligent film.

        • by mangu ( 126918 )

          I recommend Monaco over São Paulo on common sense grounds

          If it's a question of common sense, Rio de Janeiro trumps both São Paulo and Monaco. Prices a tenth of Monaco's and kidnapping ratio a hundredth of São Paulo's.

          Take the neighborhood where I live [] for instance. Big houses [] cost the equivalent of US$2 to 3 million, and a four-bedroom apartment [] goes for US$350k. Now how's that compared to a single-bedroom apartment [] in Monaco? How many layers of bullet-proofing can you get for your Porsche at

  • so... as well as the inmplanted chip the abductee also has to carry a separate GPS transmitter? In which case I'm not seeing the point of the implant...

  • urk.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by thermian ( 1267986 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @05:08PM (#24711973)

    Maybe its because of my background in nursing, but, um, the lower finger in the picture didn't look like a finger to me on first glance...

    I'd say what it did look like, but I don't know what the slashdot filters are like. Lets just say I had to remove a soup spoon handle from one once during a shift on casualty and leave it at that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by lantastik ( 877247 )

      Slashdot and filters have never been used in the same sentence before. I'll help you:
      penis, phallus, schlong, wang, schmeckle, junk, package, et al

  • Straight out of the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook? What they really need to chip those afraid of kidnapping is 7 levels of unarmed combat and a few of evasion...
  • Friends ... I sell you a rich Mexican detector ... itsa wery nize ... you pointa da ding to Mexican ... if rice in blood ... itsa rich Mexican ... you kidnap ...
  • Why stop with just the wealthy, I think the US should start a program that donates transmitters to all Mexicans, even illegal immigrants as they're caught crossing the border.
  • Great!! Now we will know if they decide to cross any border illegally.
  • I've tagged this story with ehnotbadiguess. Do more stories like these and maybe I won't totally hate idle. Though I think this is probably placed better in YRO or tech
  • 1) Wealthy Mexicans get chipped to either foil kidnappers or buy latest trendy toy.

    2) Wealthy Mexicans get cancer from chips
    (RFID chips cause cancer, [] )
    3) Wealthy Mexicans die, allowing the Mexican Gov't to tax estates of now deceased wealthy Mexicans

    4) Government Profit!
    So... when do we get to chip the whole damn Walmart/Walton family?

  • The LA Times ran an artice on Why Mexican business directors, doctors, and other professionals []

    Under pressure from the federal crackdown, some gangs appear to be ratcheting up kidnapping and extortion to make up for shrinking drug profits.

    There is no question that kidnappings in Mexico are soaring, particularly in trafficking hot spots along the U.S. border, where criminals have found easy targets among business owners, doctors and other professionals who have prospered in the region.

    Last year, 438 Mexicans

  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @08:47PM (#24714265) Journal

    It was predicted 10 years ago by the conspiracy nuts that these chips woudl make their way into humans. Shortly after, the chips being discussed started to be implanted in animals and now humans. Of course they are just mexicans so it hasn't made its way into real people in the first world yet but that is just around the corner. The mark of the beast has come. ;) First tracking (for YOUR safety), next they start encoding emergency health information on it. After all, who wouldn't want doctor house to know they are allergic to penicillin. Next they move the monetary system to the chip.

  • This guy has a GPS in his pocket, perhaps we should get rid of it. Seems more like an inconvenience to the kidnappers no real security. If the chipped person has to have a "real" device with them to receive the short distance transmissions and send them off somewhere it might as well be just the bigger device.
  • by nilbog ( 732352 ) on Friday August 22, 2008 @09:59PM (#24714711) Homepage Journal

    Wealthy Mexicans need to carry a device in addition to being chipped?

    Okay this just doesn't make sense - there are wealthy Mexicans?!?

  • by D4C5CE ( 578304 ) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @05:58AM (#24717095)
    No need to even decode communications from the RFID implant - holding up a crowd at gunpoint, would-be hijackers may just have to detect the carrier frequency emanating from a person (with a device that even high-school students could build), and "abduct only the chipped" for maximum ransom.

    Moreover, their victims will be unfortunate enough to undergo removal procedures that are reported to be "one ugly mess []" (didn't look up the original quote, IIRC it was by CASPIAN's [] Katherine Albrecht) even with the benefit of optimal surgical attention, which they are unlikely to receive - to the contrary, kidnappers on the run may consider it reasonable to quickly sacrifice "part of" their prey, making the "fear for life and limb" quite literal, with emphasis on the latter, while putting the abducted in a condition that will leave little time for negotiations.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.