Implanting Chips in People at a Distance

I have no idea if this is real or not. But even if it’s not real, it’s just a matter of time before it becomes real. How long before people can surreptitiously have RFID tags injected into them?

What is the ID SNIPER rifle?

It is used to implant a GPS-microchip in the body of a human being, using a high powered sniper rifle as the long distance injector. The microchip will enter the body and stay there, causing no internal damage, and only a very small amount of physical pain to the target. It will feel like a mosquito-bite lasting a fraction of a second. At the same time a digital camcorder with a zoom-lense fitted within the scope will take a high-resolution picture of the target. This picture will be stored on a memory card for later image-analysis.

Edited to add: This is a hoax.

Posted on February 4, 2005 at 8:00 AM34 Comments


Guan Yang February 4, 2005 8:13 AM

As fas as I recall, this was created by a couple of Danish artists as a hoax. They actually exhibited at a weapons fair in China (?) with a booth.

Anonymous February 4, 2005 9:13 AM

Bruce…did you jump the shark on this one. Yes, it could be real but I expect more from you. Sorry I’m reacting like this but you are so smart. When you put this crap on your blog it makes me wonder.

Nick Miller February 4, 2005 9:44 AM

A gun that can shoot a projectile ‘long distances’ while doing no damage and not hurting? Even with no prior knowledge of this I would say it’s a hoax. Though it’s not completly improbable to stop the hurting part with some sort of numbing agent, being taged by one would cause serious injury and likely lay the person out. A gun that can shoot a projectile ‘long distances’ while doing no damage and not hurting? Even with no prior knowledge of this I would say it’s a hoax.

The easiest flaw in the ‘design’ is that they don’t inform you where the force of the projectile is going. If you get a microchip in a state where it can travel ‘long rang’ and survive impact, that microchip is going to be moving fast. Even if this projectile microchip did no damage to the target and didn’t hurt that projectile is still going to transfer all the force from it’s momentum to the target and lay the target on his/her back.

Nick Miller February 4, 2005 9:48 AM

That first paragraph got screwed up somehow during the copy and past. The first part was supposed to read simply:

A gun that can shoot a projectile ‘long distances’ while doing no damage and not hurting? Even with no prior knowledge of this I would say it’s a hoax.

Israel Torres February 4, 2005 10:17 AM

It would be easier to target the water systems with nano-tags. Once these neutral tags become embedded in the body’s blood stream they can be programmed and continuously updated by authorizations stations. For example, you are “neutral”, but go purchase gas with your credit/debit card and a counter system programs the nano-tags to represent the association with your credit card’s identity representation. If the card is stolen it will be found, and so will you. Implemented with enough authorization stations (like a FasTrack system with GPS), not to mention your e911 enabled cell phone you will be leaking your “virtual dna??? everywhere you go. No need for covert-ninja-sniper rifles whispering your dreams to you…

Israel Torres

David February 4, 2005 11:34 AM

No need to suggest Bruce jumped the shark. His comments are perfectly reasonable and sparked interesting discussion, as this thread shows. So what if the ID sniper is a hoax? The concept of tagging and tracking people is real enough.

Nick Miller February 4, 2005 12:05 PM

The concept is real enough, but I doubt that it will be nessisary for any cloak and dagger senario to get it implemented. Its perfectly logical for bills to be passed that essentially get every child tagged, they already have programs to fingure print children in school.

They can even say something along the lines of the chips replacing SSN numbers, crime prevntion, child protection…. the list goes on with possible spins that they can take this technology to make people swallow it easier.

In some agensies eyes, I am sure there would be nothing better then to completly invade peoples privacy while making them happy it is occuring.

Davi Ottenheimer February 4, 2005 12:15 PM

For humans, unless it was entirely painless, I do not think the tag would ever be undiscovered.

I think I actually saw something similar to this on a program about the study of wild and dangerous animals that can not be tranquilized. I seem to remember some rangers flying low-altitude behind a fast-moving animal, with a sharpshooter in a chair on the side who fired a tag; they could later track and study its whereabouts.

Matthew Skala February 4, 2005 12:21 PM

The term you’re looking for is to “jump the gun” – that is, to react to a situation before it develops to the point where the reaction might be appropriate. Comes from novice gunners (I think it originally referred to old-style naval cannon, although the term would make sense for users of rifles as well) anticipating the recoil of the weapon. Anyone who implements elaborate plans to defend against hypothetical threats may (rightly or wrongly) be accused of jumping the gun.

To “jump the shark”, normally said in reference to a television show or similar serial entertainment, means to exhaust the dramatic possibilities of your premise; after that point, all the episodes suck. That’s a much more recent coinage and refers to an episode of Happy Days in which the Fonz jumped over a shark in a water-skiing stunt.

Billy Goto February 4, 2005 12:32 PM

Pretty obviously fake.

It’s a conceptual failure.

The rifle doesn’t even look plausible (that shoulder stock? That ‘high resolution camera’? This is deutsche-kunstfag garbage.

Bad spelling and usage even ruin the gadget-chic appeal (“adjusements”, “high resolution”, “GPS-chip ammunition”, “zoom lense”).

Nobody ever mentions OBSD in their compatibility list.. Come on.

brian thomas February 4, 2005 1:20 PM

“Jumping the gun” refers to starting a race before the starter’s gun is fired…

But I have wondered, Bruce, if you were not wandering a little far afield, noting that some of your most recent articles have started with statements that “if it isn’t real yet, it soon will be”.

Not that it’s really a problem for me; I really do believe there is benefit in exploring the implications of even speculative threats. But your public credibility, which you have earned at considerable cost, may be threatened if a lot of what you say comes off as too alarmist in nature.

brad mills February 4, 2005 1:48 PM

Just goes to show, the strength of community. I’d bet most at one time or another had a thought … ‘this ~could~ be real! ‘ and had a colleage give us, say, a url to consider. Glad you’re human, Bruce! And hats off to group sharing/thinking, guys!

Anonymous February 4, 2005 3:07 PM

“So what if the ID sniper is a hoax? The concept of tagging and tracking people is real enough.”

Is your assertion based on real evidence? Do you have some knowledge of a program to secretly implant RFID tags in people?

David February 4, 2005 3:56 PM

Do I have knowledge of a program to secretly implant RFID tags in people? Of course not. Does that mean nobody is interested in doing it? Of course not.

I think it is pretty safe to assume that someone, somwhere would be interested in doing this if it were possible.

Is it possible now? Will it be possible someday? Well, that’s the point of this discussion, isn’t it.

Anonymous February 4, 2005 4:10 PM

As in the movie Enemy of the State, it is much easier and steathier to implant trackers in someone’s shoes. Sniper rifles are infinitely cool of course, but I don’t think that painless-injection-from-a-mile technology even needs to exist.

Yabu February 4, 2005 6:04 PM

You need more than that rifle to make the strategy effective. If the tag is inserted into an objetive, he will realize soon when he comes near a reader.

The deployed tags should be some kind of “hidden” rfid tags, wich could be detected only with a key. The government will need to deploy a network of specially modified rfid readers to follow the objetive.

It’s easier to fire a common bullet and terminate the problem.

Roy Owens February 4, 2005 6:43 PM

  1. Injection by any means, at any distance, without sterilization of the projectile, the skin punctured, and any clothing shot through would very likely result in infection, which would be detected.

  2. Tiny RFID tags could be easily planted on clothing by ‘brush contact’ without detection.

  3. RFID interrogators posted at intersections, reporting centrally, could allow tracking of targets across cities, whether the targets are someone’s clothing, their car, a package, groceries, a briefcase, or an umbrella.

Dave Polaschek February 5, 2005 6:57 AM

Injection at a distance… If it’s got enough penetration to get through MN winter clothing or a motorcycle jacket, it’s going to punch all the way through a human who’s not wearing that sort of “armor” unless it bonks into a bone. So do you have a dial for the force? Not likely in a rifle. Maybe in a rail-gun.

Also for a projectile that small, velocity is going to fall off very rapidly, so if you are able to reach out to a kilometre or more, you’d have way too much kinetic energy at shorter ranges, which would definitely be noticed by the target.

FInally, “knock-back” by projectiles (as mentioned by some commenters) is pretty much bunk. As part of trying to debunk video-game physics, we ran some math. A 12 ga. shotgun slug from a 3 1/2 inch magnum (the most momentum we could think of for a civilian firearm) into a 150lb zombie, shambling at 2mph at point-blank range, is going to knock the zombie back less than six inches. Not even enough to tip over the life-challenged, let alone send it flying across the room as is often portrayed.

Clive Robinson February 5, 2005 7:16 AM

Just to add a few comments, Yes it’s obviously a hoax (GPS requires real power and and a patch antenna). And the RFID shown is pasive (it has a clearly visable power pick up coil).

The issue of identity by RFID does not involve injecting them into you it’s really not required. In the not to distant future RFIDs will be in just about every product you buy these are primarily for stock control, so they will have a “product ID” and a “Batch Number” as two of the readable components or a “unique ID”. Either way your shirt will fall into one of a couple of thousand carrying that combination, likewise your under shirt, your under pants, socks, shoes, jacket, wallet, watch etc, and if bought by credit card they will be cross linked at the point of purchase and put into the company marketting database.

Lets say you have 10 of these on you at any one time and any and all scanners can read them at the same time, whats the probability it’s not you wearing that lot?

I can easily see this being introduced into the court system like mobile phone records initially (to say you where or where not in the proximity of the crime). Then as RFIDs become more pervasive treated like DNA evidence.

Oh one last thing about range and penetration distance, look up something called “Flechette Rifle Ammunition” this has a very very low mass but due to it’s design a very very long range. Basically it’s a bullet with a miniture dart/arrow in it, you can see a picture of one at

There was a paper written (Little Arrows) on them by Bellamy that you can find the refrence to on PubMed,

Which describes there effects and behaviour from a medical perspective.

It would not be two dificult to make it carry a very small payload, and make the flight stabalisation tail snap off on impact absorbing a lot of the inertia.

A few “back of napkin” calculations suggest that you could get a range of a couple of hundred yards with a penetration depth in muscle of a an inch or two (ideal for a rump shot).

Either way welcome to the “Gold Fish Bowl” where your every twist turn and movment is observed “by your keepers”

JBL February 5, 2005 12:30 PM

“A 12 ga. shotgun slug from a 3 1/2 inch magnum (the most momentum we could think of for a civilian firearm) into a 150lb zombie, shambling at 2mph at point-blank range, is going to knock the zombie back less than six inches. Not even enough to tip over the life-challenged, let alone send it flying across the room as is often portrayed.”

Always willing to take part in a serious argument, I’d point out that from observation zombies are extremely dehydrated and fragile. Because of the first, he probably weighs closer to 100 pounds and so would be knocked back nine inches or so, far enough to tip him over (they’re also not all that stable). But this assumes he isn’t so thin and fragile that he wouldn’t be penetrated through-and-through. He wouldn’t keep much of the momentum from the shot. So your main point, that he wouldn’t be blown across the room, stands.

Joe February 5, 2005 2:48 PM

Sorry, but I expect more from a smart gui like you, at the very least to put the line

Edited to add: This is a hoax.
in front.
But anyways I agree, it’s just a matter of time before it becomes real, this way or another…

Dave Polaschek February 6, 2005 6:16 AM

Yeah. We figured if you got a relatively solid (i.e. fresh) zombie, he’d weigh more, and be knocked about less. If you had a riper zombie, you’d be more likely to overpenetrate and not transfer maximum momentum.

Either way, grabbing a shotgun is probably your best bet (or if out of ammo, a crowbar or baseball bat), but not because you’ll have any magical ability to “knock zombies back”.

As for flechette ammunition, I agree that you could tag someone with it, but I don’t think you could tag someone without them noticing. I remember how noticeable a pin stuck into a spitwad and shot out of a straw was in grade school.

John Kelsey February 7, 2005 10:35 AM

There are presumably a lot of other ways to RFID-tag you–our dog has an injected RFID tag, used to identify her and return her to home if she ever runs off.

Presumably, long before it’s practical to give someone a painless injection from half a mile away, it will be practical to do so in the dentist’s chair or the doctor’s office. Somehow, those needles always hurt when they go in.


Leon February 10, 2005 2:48 AM

Apart from RFID tags surveillance could be performed using “nanodust” like devices, attached to your skin or hair.

Gary February 10, 2005 3:43 PM

I doubt very much this would be an effective way to track human beings. It might be more plausible for use on vehicles or if one wanted to tag a crate, package or piece of luggage from a distance. Even then it seems like a lot of effort to go to for a fairly specific utility.

Chris Clark February 16, 2005 1:39 PM

The poisoning of Giorgy Markov (sp?) in London a good few years ago shows that the implantation of a small (pinhead sized) hard object can be achieved with relative ease. Unnoticed by the victim and bystanders alike.

Clive Robinson February 17, 2005 6:50 AM

With regard to Giorgy Markov, he did notice being “stabbed” as he thought by an umbreller, as the area responded to the poison (ricin) in the 0.3mm platimum bead he did seak medical aid, it was this that let him down.

Supposedly another “disident” in Paris was likewise attacked but his life was saved by his wife who for some reason tried to suck out the poison and thereby removed the bead.

The bead that killed Giorgy was on display in the Met Police “Black Museum” and there are several pictures on the Internet of it. Apparently it’s size is far larger than it need be for the quantity of poison required, I guess it was at the limitation of manufacture / handeling for the technology in use.

Elijah March 10, 2008 1:28 PM

First thing anything is possible with technology these days.. I believe it is very well possible that such a thing can exist.. Now maybe if we lived in a perfect world where every one told the truth and everything was out in the open that such a thing can be nothing more then a fairy tale. So prove to me that it does not exist and I will believe you.. Prove to me that It does exist and I will believe you… Other wise it is possible and better safe then sorry. I rather not be in the dark so I can be prepared the best way possible.

dave July 17, 2009 10:36 AM

Um, folks, I’m not saying this IS REAL – I don’t know enough about it. But I do recall reading at least a decade ago about spies using virus laden steel balls similar to ball point pen tips, and shooting them into target people at close range from an air or gas powered umbrella shaft. One of them was supposedly killed this way on the tube in London. These chips aren’t much bigger than the ball in the end of your BIC medium, so it IS a possibility – unless of course all those old spy stories were cover-up lies too.

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