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Posted 09-04-09
This is very important to read as the NAIS program will require the use of these RFID Chips
The Controversial ISO 11784/11785 Standard
ISO 11784/85: A short discussion

There are a number of serious flaws affecting the ISO 11784/85 standard.
This paper will discuss three issues which make it unsuitable for national companion animal registration programs and endangered species identification:
(1) Inability to ensure unique ID codes
(2) Lack of manufacturers’ accountability
(3) The problem of transponder performance

(1) Inability to ensure unique ID codes
One of the biggest problems affecting ISO 11784/85 compliant transponders is that the manufacturer cannot guarantee unique ID codes beyond his own manufacturing facility. In fact, quite the contrary is true. ISO11784/85 compliant read-only transponders (those that are programmed by the manufacturer in the factory), one-time-programmable transponders (those that come blank and are programmed upon implementation) and write-many-read-many transponders (those that come blank and can be reprogrammed repeatedly) are currently being offered by a number of manufacturers. All of these are compatible with ISO 11784 and 11785 and could be programmed to read any number the customer desires, including ID code duplicates.

Why is the lack of unique ID codes a problem?
It is only a problem in certain applications, namely, those that require unique identification in open-loop systems, such as national recovery databases, breed registries and the like. Why has no national bank ever published an “open standard” for printing paper money, so that anyone may print its currency? Publishing specifications for paper, ink and printing plates to use to print money is the functional equivalent of putting the protocol and IC coding for transponders in the public domain. Like a $100 bill, which costs only a few cents to make, a transponder, when put in a champion Pekinese or a champion racehorse, assumes an intrinsic value many times higher than its cost. Duplicating the ID number allows someone wishing to “game the system,” to clone the animal, at least as far as the database or registry is concerned.

Using ISO11784/85 compliant OTP transponders, an animal from Latvia (for example) can be made to look like one that came from Germany, or, vice versa. Dog owners can keep several cocker spaniels, for example, while registering only one: if ISO 11784/85 transponders are used to identify them, all of the others can be chipped with the same transponder ID number. A parrot poached from the Amazon rainforest can be made to look like one hatched in the Tampa Zoo, thereby circumventing CITES trade restrictions designed to protect endangered species from extinction. An animal owner can claim insurance coverage for several animals while only taking out a policy for one. By using a WMRM transponder, the same animal can even change identities throughout its life.

How does the “open standards” approach create this problem?
The premise behind the International Standards Organisation (ISO) is to create so-called “open standards.” Generic solutions. An ISO standard is designed to be a sort of “cook book recipe” that any manufacturer may follow to create a product that complies with the standard. ISO does not police compliance. Compliance is entirely voluntary. This approach to standardization works extremely well for modem protocols and paper sizes, and it is also suitable for identification of dairy cows in closed loop systems and the like, but it is flawed if the premise is to generate unique ID numbers for use in open loop systems.

Because there are no legal "teeth" behind the ISO standard, there is no means to interdict the production of unsanctioned transponders or to prevent their being applied and the animals chipped with them from being shipped around the world. The ISO "open standard" by its nature depends upon an honour code. It is susceptible to compromise by manufacturers, whose cooperation cannot be enforced.

Even obtaining transponders from pre-approved, “vetted” manufacturers and filtering all these ISO-conforming transponders through a single hub will not prevent ISO 11784/85-conforming transponders with duplicate ID numbers from entering the market.

(2) The problem of manufacturers' accountability
A related problem of all "open standards" and generic products is how to hold individual manufacturers accountable. An implantable, glass-encapsulated transponder of one brand can be visually indistinguishable from other brands. Obviously, once the transponder is implanted, you cannot even visually inspect the transponder.

Because all ISO FDX-B transponders are functional clones, the operating protocol also will not help distinguish the product (in the way a reader can distinguish between a Trovan 128 KHz transponder and an AVID encrypted transponder, for example).

A Rome-based institute called ICAR has agreed to assign so-called “manufacturer’s codes” to different suppliers of ISO 11784/85 transponders, who pay for the privilege. The idea is to give the user a means of distinguishing among different transponder brands. In this way, so the thinking went, it would be possible for the user to identify inferior product, or manufacturers who didn't strictly control their numbering schemes, and avoid the offending manufacturer's product in the future. It must be noted, however, that the published ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 standards do not assign this role to ICAR. Also, unfortunately, ICAR cannot guarantee that a given manufacturer's three-digit ID number appearing in a transponder’s ID code ensures that this manufacturer in fact made the transponder.

(3) The problem of transponder performance
Neither ISO 11784 nor ISO 11785 stipulates any minimum transponder performance requirements for microtransponders (the size of transponder that is suitable for use in companion animals, exotics etc.) Therefore, a transponder reading at "touch" reading distance (a matter of 1 cm or less) could be fully ISO-standards compliant. A transponder reading at “touch” reading distance, would yield a “no read” in a turtle, a Pekinese or a Persian cat, because the animal’s carapace/coat itself is well over 1 cm thick. The transponder is out of range of the reader. ISO 11784/85-compliance is therefore no quality guarantee or guarantee of suitability for a given application. It also offers no guarantee to the veterinary that a given RFID product will actually work when implanted into the animal. What is more, ISO-compatible transponders programmed with a given manufacturer’s code could merely be code clones that do not meet that particular manufacturer’s product or quality standards.

Hasn’t ISO/TC23/SC19/WG3 already moved to address the problem?
In response to the well-known problems with code security in the current ISO 11784/85 standard, the responsible working group, WG3, has set itself the task of developing a new standard, ISO 14223. ISO 14223 describes a so-called “advanced” transponder, and attempts to frustrate the duplication of the ID code through increased technical complexity and encryption of the integrated circuit (IC). This approach would merely raise the hurdle slightly: the product specifications would still be published and conform to all the ISO usage and accessibility guidelines, but the resulting product would be more costly than transponders in the market today and the size of the IC would be larger, precluding its use in so-called “microtransponders” (the small, glass-encapsulated transponders that are the preferred embodiment for companion animal and endangered species).

There are a number of legitimate, very worthwhile potential uses for ISO 11784/85 transponders, however national animal registration databases relying on postive and unique identification is not one of them. For a comprehensive discussion please see: http://www.rfidnews.com/iso_11784.html

I highly recommend reading the longer article at the link above.  Here is the key paragraph if you do not want to read the whole article.
<<  A case study: the FECAVA "open standard"
FECAVA proposed the Destron/Hughes system as the basis of its "open standard." Destron has placed its interface and protocols in the public domain, and any company can manufacture any transponder ID number using the Destron protocol quite legitimately. The transponders can all be read by Destron readers and look exactly like Destron transponders. They are indistinguishable clones. Currently there are several companies manufacturing product or preparing to manufacture transponders complying with this OPEN STANDARD. Destron is programming from one end of the numbers spectrum and AVID, another manufacturer subscribing to the standard, is programming from the other end. It will be a while, but at some point the programmed numbers will begin to overlap and duplicates will begin to appear. A third company has declared that it will sell Destron-clone transponders. (1) It has announced that, for a price, it will manufacture any code number the user desires. They call this service the Designer Chip. There will undoubtedly be further entrants if the market proves lucrative. Clearly, no "orderly" approach can be maintained under these circumstances. It is likely that duplicate numbers have already occured.
The USDA, the American Horse Council and the Equine Species Working Group ARE aware of this BTW.  It was pointed out repeatedly since this article first appeared.  We were resoundingly ignored initially.  When the above link was sent out to no-NAIS lists, we were accused of "spreading misinformation".  What misinformation?  This article is from the RFID industry's professional journal!!!
Apparently they are foolish enough to believe that just because they approve certain manufacturers, the problem of "clones" will never appear.  Typical govt agency arrogance!!


Posted 04-09-09
April 6, 2009

Victory for Pet Owners! San Marcos, TX, Overturns Microchip Mandate
Local animal owners no longer required to chip their pets

The City Council of San Marcos, Texas, unanimously voted last week to
rescind a mandatory pet microchipping ordinance that would have required
all pets within city limits to receive an injected implant. The 7 to 0
vote was made at the City Council meeting on March 31, 2009. All members
were present and voted, including Mayor Susan Clifford-Narvaiz,
according to San Marcos Communications Director Melissa Millecam.

The chipping ordinance was originally adopted last December and was
slated to take effect on April 1st. The measure had sparked months of
heated opposition and repeated demonstrations by local residents,
including a protest and candlelight vigil at the March 3rd City Council
meeting that drew a crowd of over 300 people.

The March 3rd protest took place during the last City Council meeting,
and was heavily covered by the local television and print media. The
protest, combined with the impassioned testimony of numerous local
residents, prompted the City Council to agree to reconsider the measure
at its March 31st meeting, at which point the measure was overturned. 

Revisions to the ordinance passed "on emergency," and removed the
microchipping requirement effective immediately. The City
Council also voted to lift the prohibition against the sale or adoption
of animals in parking lots and to allow the keeping of hens in
residential areas. 

"We applaud the San Marcos City Council for this decision," said local
activist Lisa Marie Coppoletta, who helped organize the March 3rd rally.
"Chipping should be a voluntary decision between pet owners and their
veterinarians. It should never be mandated by the government."

Opponents of mandatory chipping cite research linking the implants with
cancer in dogs, as well as peer-reviewed studies showing that 1% to 10%
of laboratory animals injected with implantable microchips develop
cancer around the implants. They say this information is well known to
Home Again parent company Schering Plough, but that the company has
withheld the information from pet owners and the veterinary community.

Debate over the chipping ordinance heated up in February when a
longhaired chihuahua named Charlie Brown bled to death just hours after
receiving a microchip implant mandated by Los Angeles County.

"As people become more aware of the dangers of microchip implants, we
expect other communities to follow suit," said Dr. Katherine Albrecht, a
nationally-known RFID microchip expert and liberty activist who flew in
from New Hampshire to speak at the March 3rd event and share her
research with the City Council. "We are pleased that San Marcos
officials responded appropriately to the groundswell of opposition to
this technology."

Albrecht, who has extensively researched the microchip-cancer
connection, expressed concern that government officials have been
issuing microchip mandates without reviewing all of the facts. In
addition, she points out that many members of the public view microchip
mandates as an inappropriate incursion on pet owners' rights.

"Such laws set a bad precedent with a controversial and unpopular
technology," Albrecht said. "The San Marcos episode serves as a reminder
to government officials everywhere that the people--and their pets--will
not tolerate chipping. "We'll be taking this message, and this movement,
nationwide," she added.


Research studies on the link between microchip implants and cancer are
available at www.antichips.com.

A copy of this press release can be found at:
or http://tinyurl.com/capu6u


Reports on microchips causing cancer in lab rats, and now this site  from the Netherlands on horses and chips. Anyone out there knows that the body can object to a foreign body. The body will fight to rid it and you the owner will be responsible for all medical treatment, you will have to prove that the chip caused the medical issue. Visit this site and see for yourself!
If any owner of a microchipped pet has had issues with RFID, please leave a comment on the Home page under the guestbook including your email address. Documentation and pictures would be greatly appreciated

NAIS Draft Program Standards Page 7
Standards for AIN TAGS
*The tag must bear the entire 15-digit number
*The tag must be designed for one-time use (tamper evident)
*The tag may not be readily altered or other wise tampered with.
*The national identification number must be easily and readable
*The tag must have the US shield imprinted.
Prohibitions on tampering with or removing Official Identification Devices
USDA/APHI would promulgate regulations, as appropriate and /or necessary to prohibit any person from:
*Removing an official identification device or causing the removal of one unless the animal is terminated, except in cases when an AIN has becomes illegible or the device malfunctions
*Causing the application of an AIN tag to an animal that is currently carrying an AIN tag, unless that same AIN is imprinted on the second device
*Altering an AIN tag to change its number, or to make the number unreadable
*Selling or providing an identification device bearing the USDA Shield unless so authorized
* Manufacturing, selling, or providing an identification device that so closely resembles an approved device that it is likely to be mistaken for offical identification

Are you going to trust a microchip that the USDA and the Equine Species Working Group recommends , ISO 11784/11785 that can be cloned, hacked?
Then read this on RFIDS! Hot Alerts-New

A little more to think about and the ISO 11784/11785 Chips that the USDA RECOMMENDS, Do you think they are safe and secure? Non believer, then do your own research....

Questions to ask yourself on the ISO chips click here to download file

***Posted 04-18-07***
There are a number of serious flaws affecting the ISO 11784/85 standard.
This paper will discuss three issues which make it unsuitable for national companion animal registration programs and endangered species identification:
(1) Inability to ensure unique ID codes
(2) Lack of manufacturers’ accountability
(3) The problem of transponder performance
Read the rest of the article here

***** posted 04-18-07
Read it from the experts, No Misinformation, No Misunderstanding, Just Facts!
A discussion of the ISO standad for RFID: its provenance, feasibility and limitations

The ISO transponder-based standard was originally intended for agricultural use to identify agricultural equipment and livestock. During the evolution of the standard, it was expanded to include companion and exotic animals as well as endangered species. The standard has a number of serious flaws which make it unsuitable for its intended applications.

In the barcode market, the product being supplied is a commodity: ink on paper, with the associated production means (printers) and readers. The readers and printers of different manufacturers may provide different features. However, they are by and large interchangeable in that they can all produce/read the desired barcode. This type of interchangeability has not been forthcoming in RFID, due to the fact that the technologies involved are significantly more complex and highly proprietary. There are currently a number of systems on the market, which are based on a range of mutually incompatible technological approaches. No parallel can be drawn between barcode and RFID: RFID does not lend itself to standardisation in the conventional sense.

Approaches to Standardisation
A number of standardisation efforts have been initiated for animal applications by and on behalf of various user groups. Two distinct approaches have been taken by all of these past and current standardisation efforts. In a nut-shell these are:

  • Transponder-based standard: where all manufacturers choosing to compete in a particular market manufacture transponders conforming to one set of specifications, utilising technology and protocols in the public domain. Transponder-based standards are based on OPEN STANDARDS.
  • Reader-based standard: where all manufacturers competing in a particular market cross-license their reader interfaces, so that each manufacturer can provide readers that read the other manufacturers' transponders.

Companion animal user organizations, AIM USA and other user groups are supporting the reader-based standard to ensure that the existing installed base of microchipped animals is protected.

The essential requirement for RFID to do its job for companion animal identification is that positive identification of each animal must be assured. On a global basis this can only be achieved by unique, unduplicated ID codes. The uniqueness of the code numbers must be assured. In both read-only and read-write systems, the code number must provide unique and positive identification of animals in the manner of a license plate number. The presence of duplicate code numbers compromises the integrity of the identification system. RFID with duplicate numbers provides very little in the way of improvement over existing identification methods for animals (such as tattooing). The existence of duplicate code numbers opens the way to rampant fraud and record-keeping problems.

Transponder-based standard
Methodology: one company's system is selected (FECAVA's approach for the European companion animals), or an entirely new system is specified (ISO's approach for livestock and, now, companion animals). All relevant technology, including the interface and protocols, is placed in the public domain. Interested companies can then manufacture transponders complying to the new open standard, without having to pay royalties or only minimal royalties, to the patent owner.

Intended benefit: an unlimited number of manufacturers can produce transponders independently, without having to pay any royalties or only minimal royalties to patent holders. Permits multiple-sourcing of transponders and readers.

Implementation: An OPEN STANDARD relies on an honour system, the implication being, that somehow all manufacturers will agree on who manufactures which numbers, to prevent duplicates.

Caveat: Without legal barriers to the uncontrolled use of the technology (in the form of patents and trademarks) there is no way to enforce compliance by various manufacturers.

A case study: the FECAVA "open standard"
FECAVA proposed the Destron/Hughes system as the basis of its "open standard." Destron has placed its interface and protocols in the public domain, and any company can manufacture any transponder ID number using the Destron protocol quite legitimately. The transponders can all be read by Destron readers and look exactly like Destron transponders. They are indistinguishable clones. Currently there are several companies manufacturing product or preparing to manufacture transponders complying with this OPEN STANDARD. Destron is programming from one end of the numbers spectrum and AVID, another manufacturer subscribing to the standard, is programming from the other end. It will be a while, but at some point the programmed numbers will begin to overlap and duplicates will begin to appear. A third company has declared that it will sell Destron-clone transponders. (1) It has announced that, for a price, it will manufacture any code number the user desires. They call this service the Designer Chip. There will undoubtedly be further entrants if the market proves lucrative. Clearly, no "orderly" approach can be maintained under these circumstances. It is likely that duplicate numbers have already occured.

The reason people want to use RFID in their pets is to make sure they can be identified for life. Therefore, the ID chip of a champion cocker spaniel should not be duplicated in a mongrel dog or in a goldfish. This unique RFID number is associated to a single animal's record in the breed registry and/or a national recovery database. The uniqueness of the ID numbers is essential for any national database concept to work. The presence of a multitude of manufacturers, all building transponders under a single protocol, opens the door to duplication of numbers, whether on purpose or by accident.

The ISO "open standard"
The technology was developed specifically for livestock identification, based on a proposal to WG3 of the ISO by the Group of Four (AEG, Datamars, Nedap and Trovan) and Texas Instruments. Subsequently expanded to companion animals, the ISO "open standard" has been five years in the making, and is now in legal limbo. Two companies have begun asserting patents in the market in a manner that is non-conformant to the ISO patent policy. It is doubtful whether, under these circumstances, the ISO "open standard" is a viable approach to standardisation.

This problem, while well-known to the ISO officials, was never disclosed by them to the voting members prior to solicitation of their yes vote for the standard.

There are a number of other problems that would adversely impact implementation of the standard in its present form.

The legal problems
ISO/DIS 11785 is impacted by a Destron patent and an AVID patent, which effectively violate the ISO patent policy which states:

Clause A.2 (b) "if the right holder does not provide a [Letter of Intent to comply with ISO Patent Policy], the technical committee or sub-committee concerned shall not proceed with inclusion of an item covered by a patent right in the international Standard without authorization from ISO Council or IEC Council."

Destron, the holder of U.S. Patent Number 5,211,129, pertaining to glass encapsulated implantable transponders which are the subject of the ISO/DIS 11785 standard, has in the past made demands from their competitors amounting to $3 million up front license fees and 7% royalties (for a single regional license). Their recent demand, calculated on wholesale prices, was 22.4% royalties. These demands should be of the utmost concern to user groups, because they would eliminate many potential vendors from the market at the discretion of the patent holders.

There are two more patents issued to AVID under U.S. Patent Number 5,235,326 and U.S. Patent Number 5,499,017. In this case, AVID has clearly stated in their letters to the ISO that they will not conform to the ISO's Patent Policy. The patent conflicts affecting ISO/DIS 11785 have not been resolved.

The problem of duplicate numbers
Like the FECAVA "open standard," the ISO standard is a transponder-based "open standard." The ISO "open standard," like FECAVA, is based on technology that is currently in the public domain. Because there are no legal "teeth" (in the form of patented technology), there is no means to interdict the production of unsanctioned transponders or to prevent their being imported into individual European countries. The ISO "open standard" by its nature depends upon an honour code. It is susceptible to compromise by manufacturers, whose cooperation cannot be enforced.

There are three ways that the uniqueness of ID codes can be undermined under any "open standard":

  • Pre-programmed/Factory-programmed ICs.
    Chips can be ordered ex works, factory-programmed, with the desired ID number. There have already been companies offering "made-to-measure," factory programmed ICs. (see ID Boutique's "designer chip") for a number of years.

More recently, several manufacturers are selling OTP or re-programmable transponders that conform with ISO 11784/85. These are ISO-compliant transponders which are field programmable by the user. Physically, they are indistinguishable from the factory-programmed IC.

    OTP = One-time-programmable. WORM = Write-once-read-many.
    These can be programmed to the desired code number in the field, by the end user. This is the configuration which as a matter of fact was discussed in the ISO SC19, WG3 meetings as the preferred configuration, as it allows manufacturers to minimise the number of transponders held in inventory.
  • WMRM ICs
    WMRM = Write-many-read-many.
    These can be reprogrammed as many times as desired. The code could potentially even be changed once it is implanted in the animal. Several such products are already on the market today or on the verge of being introduced.

    Some WMRM type transponders may mimic pre-programmed transponders, because they can be temporarily "locked," and accessed for reprogramming through the use of a password code known only to privileged users.

    One possible scenario would be that animals from an embargoed country (due to a highly infectious disease like BSE) could have their code numbers changed en route to their destination. The point of origin of such animals could be completely obscured.

Due to the fact that the ISO standard is an open standard, even obtaining transponders from selected manufacturers and filtering all these ISO-conforming transponders through a single hub would not prevent ISO-conforming transponders with duplicate ID numbers from entering the market.

The ISO "open standard" by its nature depends upon an honour code because the ISO organisation does not enforce compliance with its standards. As a matter of fact, it appears that three companies have already declared that they will make codes to order when the ISO standard is implemented - without going through the Brussels bureaucracy to have numbers assigned.

In the ISO system, as currently specified, corruption of the ID numbering system is virtually built-in. While duplicate ID numbers are of no consequence in the small, closed-loop dairy herd and feed lot applications the ISO standard originally targeted, they would wreak havoc in national database programs. As of this writing, several manufacturers have entered the market with custom-programmed, OTP and read/write transponders. ICs of all three types are now readily available on the market. The problem of duplicate numbers is inherent to transponder-based "open standards," including the ISO standard.

Furthermore, the ISO 11784 stipulates that, even for manufacturers who adhere strictly to the ISO honour code, identification numbers can be "recycled" every 33 years. The recycling of numbers poses no problem in the original, intended target market, as cattle and pigs lives ordinarily do not exceed five to seven years. (Agricultural use for livestock and equipment was the original, intended target application of the ISO "open standard.") Some companies have lobbied heavily to have the I.S.O. standard expanded to small animals, in spite of its obvious lack of suitability. In long-lived animals, such as exotics, endangered species in controlled breeding projects, the 33 year time frame may pose some problems.

The problem of manufacturers' accountability
A pervasive though little-discussed problem in all "open standards" is the accountability of individual manufacturers. Seen from the outside, an implantable, glass-encapsulated transponder is virtually indistinguishable from other makes of the same size. The problem becomes even more acute once the transponder is implanted. All "open standard" transponders can be read by a common reader protocol. The idea of requiring each participating manufacturer to program an assigned manufacturer's code into his transponders was put forward, in order to give the user a means of distinguishing among different transponder makes, in the event quality control problems should arise. In this way, so the thinking went, it would be possible for the user to identify inferior product, or manufacturers who didn't strictly control their numbering schemes, and avoid the offending manufacturer's product in the future.

The problem with RFID, however, is that a defective transponder is a non-functional transponder. Consequently, it would not be possible to read the manufacturer's code in those instances where it would be most urgent to do so. The owner of a prize Korat cat, or even of a beloved household pet, would hardly suffer his pet to be subjected to surgery to remove a transponder, so that said transponder could be submitted for a lengthy and costly laboratory analysis to ascertain the manufacturer's code.

Even if the manufacturer's code of a defective (failed) transponder could be ascertained, which is highly doubtful, there is no guarantee that it is, in fact, the code of said manufacturer. Some manufacturers, in their desire to preempt FECAVA's situation, have requested a Rome-based institute (ICAR) to take upon itself the job of allocating code numbers to interested manufacturers. It must be noted, however, that ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 do not assign this role to ICAR or to any other party. Neither ICAR nor ISO can enforce their respective recommendations. In an environment where there is uncontrolled manufacture of transponders with ID codes made to order, manufacturer's codes are no guarantee for product origin, quality and manufacturer's accountability.

In the world of the ISO open standard, there is no guarantee that a manufacturer's three-digit ID number ensures that that this manufacturer has in fact made the transponder in question. Some of the available custom-programmed, OTP and read/write transponders already duplicate ID numbers provided by Destron, Datamars and Texas Instruments.

The problem of transponder performance
Neither ISO 11784 nor ISO/DIS 11785 stipulates any minimum transponder performance requirements for microtransponders (the size of transponder that is suitable for use in companion animals, exotics etc.) Therefore, a transponder reading at "touch" reading distance (a matter of 1 cm or less) would be fully ISO-compliant. Companion animal veterinaries around the world have repeatedly expressed their strong reservations about systems with short reading distances (2). Users in the livestock business require even longer read ranges in order for RFID to be effective for them. ISO-compliance is therefore no guarantee to the veterinary of suitability of a given RFID product for use in animal applications.

The problem of feasibility: can the product be manufactured cost-effectively, in large quantities?
It should be understood by the consumer that the ISO process is a committee-based process. Compromise is the key tool to arriving at any solution. Like all committee-based approaches involving manufacturers with conflicting interests in a high-stakes market, this is an extremely lengthy and political process. The hybrid solutions that result from such committee-based engineering efforts are based on political compromises and not on performance considerations, cost control or technical feasibility.

  • Two standards in one: a political compromise
    Currently there are two fundamentally different design principles being championed in the passive, low-frequency RFID market: the full-duplex approach and the half-duplex approach.

    By way of a quick back-ground explanation, the transponder has no energy source of its own but receives its power from the interrogation signal that is transmitted by the transmitter/receiver antenna. The resonance circuit of the transponder oscillates at the same frequency as that of the interrogation signal and charges the power capacitor.

    At a certain voltage level on the power capacitor, the transponder oscillates at the same frequency as that of the interrogation signal and charges the power capacitor. At a certain voltage level on the power capacitor, the transponder electronics are ready to start operating and transmit the transponder code (return signal) via the coil of the resonant circuit.

    With a so-called full-duplex approach (FDX) the return signal initiates as soon as the beginning of the interrogation signal is received and the smoothing capacitor has been charged. The return signal is received repetitively and without interruption for as long as a continuous interrogation signal is maintained. An FDX-transponder therefore does not have to store energy to be able to return its entire code.

    With a half-duplex approach (HDX) the return signal starts only after the end of the interrogation signal has been received and only after the storage capacitor has been fully charged. The return signal is then only sent once, since the transponder has emptied its storage capacitor after it has sent its code.

    The full-duplex and half-duplex approaches are fundamentally incompatible.

    Currently only one company is marketing a half-duplex system. Every other company in the business today is marketing a full-duplex system of one type or another. In spite of the fact that a preponderance of the manufacturers has proceeded with the full-duplex approach, a political compromise has been reached in the ISO WG3 which stipulates that the new ISO standard has incorporated both half-duplex and full-duplex technology.

    As conceptualised in the ISO 11784 and 11785 documents, ISO-compliant transponders can be either full-duplex transponders or half-duplex transponders, and the readers will have to read both types of transponders. In essence, this will require two readers in one box.

    A reader capable of detecting both HDX and FDX transponders would involve the disadvantages inherent in the HDX-system degrading the performance of FDX. This degradation, unfortunately, cannot be avoided.

    Of course it is technically possible to design and manufacture a reader that can read two systems i.e. HDX and FDX. In the case of a reader compatible with HDX, an FDX transponder can easily be read during the time that the power capacitor of an HDX transponder is being charged, in order for the IC to give its code at a later moment in time.

    The drawback of such a reader is that its timing is made dependent on the slower HDX-system. Thus, the read speed performance of FDX, will be reduced to that of HDX. Repeated reliable readings with moving transponders or readers can thus not be performed.

    Needless to say, the resulting readers will be less efficient and more costly than readers designed to read only a single type of technology. In the envisioned core application area, livestock, and now companion animal identification, cost of RFID has already proven to be a major sticking point in acceptance of the technology. It remains to be seen whether the users will find this political compromise, resulting in higher costs to them, palatable.

    Strictly speaking, this "compromise" has resulted in a standard that is no standard, since it embraces the co-existence of two mutually incompatible systems.
  • The issue of transponder design: a "high-Q" product
    Both the FDX and HDX components of the ISO "open standard" are conceptualised as so-called "high-Q" transponders. Reading distances for high-Q systems are accomplished primarily by transponder design and require careful tuning of both the transponder and the reader. The result is an expensive and cumbersome manufacturing process with comparatively lower yields, resulting in a more-costly transponder.

The problem of suitability: a livestock standard for endangered species and pedigree dogs?

The conceptual standard proposed to ISO WG3 by the Group of Four and T.I. was intended for use in livestock and agricultural equipment. The code structure of the standard reflects this pedigree.

Bit # Information Combinations
1 flag for animal (1) or non-animal (0) application 2
2-15 reserved field (reserved for future use) 16 834
16 flag indicating the existence of a datablock (1) or no data block (0) 2
17-26 ISO-3166 numeric-3 country code 1,024
27-64 national identification code 274 877 906 944

In the livestock application, government authorities, farmers and abbatoirs are more interested in the animal's country of origin and possibly its producer. The issue of ID code uniqueness, to identify individual animals, is of relatively minor importance in closed-loop operations (i.e. inside one farmer's dairy herd).

In the area of companion animals, the issue of ID code uniqueness is of primary concern. In the case of pedigree cats, dogs and horses, where significant sums of money hinge upon the positive identification of individual animals, it is the overriding concern. The country of origin, or the determination whether the "item" on hand is an animal or not, are not particularly relevant issues. What matters is a unique identification code, and access to a databank which will allow determination of the relevant associated information, particularly ownership information. In the case of companion animals (dogs and cats of indeterminate ancestry) the owner does not require that any particular information encoded on the chip: what is required is a unique ID number and a central database, inaccessible to tampering hands, which will inform finders of the animal's true ownership.

In the area of endangered species identification, where species survival is at stake with each individual animal, the inviolability of data (to preclude reprogramming by unauthorised individuals) and the uniqueness of the ID code are of the most pressing importance.

The problem of backward compatibility
The ISO standard currently stipulates a two-year "transition period." This stipulation is another hallmark of the total orientation of ISO/DIS 11784 and 11785 toward livestock. The life expectancy of livestock is about two years, meaning that all animals are cycled out of the system within that period of time. The two-year "transition period" does not even begin to address the requirement of backward compatibility in other areas of animal identification. Dogs and cats can live in excess of twenty years. Horses can live more than thirty years. Many endangered species, such as certain reptiles and avian species, have life expectancies upward of 70 years. All of these animals, which the standard purports to accommodate, require protection for their entire lives. If the standard should apply to these areas, it must fully address backward compatibility for the animals it is intended to protect.

The problem of built-in obsolescence
A transponder-based standard is by definition static. It precludes introduction of new technologies and technological enhancements, because the technical parameters of the transponder are rigidly defined. The ISO standard, as defined in ISO/DIS 11784/11785 does not accommodate innovation and improvement in the technology.

If technological enhancements become available, entities subscribing to ISO/DIS 11784/11785 will be confronted with a difficult choice: either continue with the existing, out-moded technology; or junk the standard and begin the whole, arduous process of standardisation (which thus far has taken in excess of five years for the current proposal) anew, for the new technology.

The problem of bureaucratic overhead: inflated cost to the end user
Administrative infrastructure required of individual countries is extremely expensive and bureaucratic. ISO/DIS 11785 devolves the responsibility of ensuring uniqueness of codes to the individual countries, in other words, to appropriate official agencies. No country has implemented the necessary administrative infrastructure at this time; in this day of increasing fiscal consciousness and tight budgets, many do not have the financial means or the political will to assume the financial burden.

Certain countries have floated proposals that would require every manufacturer selling transponders into that country, to physically pass all their product through a central database, to register individual code numbers. The cost of implementing additional administrative layers will ultimately be passed on to the users. It has been calculated that transponder costs could double through the additional administration costs incurred by the structures conceptualised by the ISO.

Furthermore, the filtering process would require all transponders to physically pass through a central checking point. Each manufacturer would be shipping all product, irrespective of final destination, through this check point, where all new transponders would have to be manually checked against a database listing all transponders previously entered into the market. Once checked, the transponders would need to be forwarded to the appropriate distributor(s) for each manufacturer. Such a process would entail substantial logistical challenges, since of course there should be no inadvertent switches of different manufacturers' batches at the central checking point, rapid turn-around should be assured and ideally all of this should happen at no additional cost. Alternatively, the government would distribute transponders arbitrarily, without regard to the needs of open markets and free commerce.

The extension of a standard developed for livestock and agricultural equipment to these other areas, for which it was not designed and for which it is clearly unsuited, has been undertaken in ISO WG3 by interested parties. It is essential that expansion of this standard to other, unrelated, application areas not be accepted uncritically, but that the issues at stake be made known to the veterinary community so that they can be subjected to open debate. Only in this way can an informed decision be reached: one which will serve the user community's requirements and which is in keeping with its professional standards and its interests. The implementation of the ISO standard, instead of introducing and promoting a new and exciting technology, may lead to its being shunned by potential users.


Implanted Microchips Cause Cancer

By Jane Williams GFN contributing writer---
(For Publication in the January 2007 "American Family Voice")

At the National ID Expo in Kansas City, Arkansas Animal Producer's
Association President Michael Steenbergen asked, "What safety studies
have been conducted on the chips that are inserted into animals?" His
question was met with total silence. Did these manufacturers not know,
or were they unwilling to admit that research has confirmed that
implanted microchips cause cancer?

Melvin T. Massey, DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)
from Brownsboro,Texas, brought this to the attention of the American
Horse Council when he wrote, "I am a retired Equine Veterinarian and
still breed a few horses. Because of migration-infection s-increased
risk of sarcoids I will not want to have microchips in my horses."

The Institute of Experimental Pathology at Hannover Medical School
in Germany reported , "An experiment using 4279 CBA/J mice of two
generations was carried out to investigate the influence of parental
preconceptual exposure to X-ray radiation or to chemical carcinogens.
Microchips were implanted subcutaneously in the dorsolateral back for
unique identification of each animal. The animals were kept for lifespan
under standard laboratory conditions. In 36 mice a circumscribed
neoplasm occurred in the area of the implanted microchip.
Macroscopically, firm, pale white nodules up to 25 mm in diameter with
the microchip in its center were found. Macroscopically, soft tissue
tumors such as fibrosarcoma and malignant fibrous histiocytoma were

Ecole Nationale Veterinaire of Unite d'Anatomie Pathologique in Nantes,
France, reported, "Fifty-two subcutaneous tumors associated with
microchip were collected from three carcinigenicity B6C3F1 micestudies.
Two of these 52 tumors were adenocarcinoma of the mammary gland located
on the dorsal region forming around the chip. All the other 50 were
mesenchymal in ori! gin and were difficult to classify on morphological
grounds with

Marta Vascellari of Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
at Viale dell'Universita in Legnaro, Italy reported examining a
9-year-old male French Bulldog for a subcutaneous mass located at the
site of a microchip implant. "The mass was confirmed as a high-grade
infiltrative fibrosarcoma,

with multifocal necrosis and peripheral lymphoid aggregates."

The Toxicology Department of Bayer Corporation in Stillwell, Kansas
reported, "Tumors surrounding implanted microchip animal identification
devices were noted in two separate chronic toxicity/oncogenici ty
studies using F344 rats. The tumors occurred at a low incidence rate
(approximately 1%), but did result in the early sacrifice of most
affected animals, due to tumor size and occasional metastases. No
sex-related trends were noted.

All tumors occurred during the second year of the studies, were located
in the subcutaneous dorsal thoracic area (the site of microchip
implantation) and contained embedded microchip devices. All were
mesenchymal in origin and consisted of the following types, listed on
order of frequency: malignant schwannoma, fibrosarcoma, anaplastic
sarcoma, and histiocytic sarcoma.

The following diagnostic techniques were employed: light microscopy,
scanning electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistry. The mechanism of
carcinogenicity appeared to be that of foreign body induced
tumorigenesis. "

Additional studies related to cancer tumors at the site of microchip
implants have been conduced in China; however, at this time these
studies are not available in English. At this time, no long term studies
are available covering more than two years. It only seems logical to
conclude that if carcinogenic tumors occur within one percent of animals
implanted within two years of the implant that the percentage would
increase with the passage of time. Additional studies need to be
conducted, but don't hold ! your bre ath for the manufacturers of
microchips to conduct such research and be leery of any such "research"
they may conduct. Even the limited research available clearly indicates
that implantation of microchips within an animal is gambling with the
animal's well being.

For additional Information:
National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health,
or just google for "sarcomas associated  with implanted microchips".

November 16, 2006

Election Bid Raises Specter of RFID Implant Threat

Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson is
considering a run for president in 2008, a move that should spark alarm
among those familiar with Thompson's calls for widespread RFID chipping
of Americans. The authors of "Spychips," Dr. Katherine Albrecht and Liz
McIntyre, who closely monitor the RFID industry, caution that his
position on the Board of the VeriChip Corporation and his stock options
in the company make Thompson one of the most dangerous figures in
American politics today.

As head of Health of Health and Human Services, Thompson oversaw the
scandal-ridden FDA when it approved the VeriChip as a medical device.
Shortly after leaving his cabinet post, he joined the board of the
VeriChip Corporation and wasted no time in using his clout to promote
the company's glass encapsulated RFID tags. These tags are injected into
human flesh to uniquely number and identify people.

In public appearances, Thompson has suggested implanting the microchips
into Americans to link to their electronic medical records. "It's very
beneficial and it's going to be extremely helpful and it's a giant step
forward to getting what we call an electronic medical record for all
Americans," he told CBS MarketWatch in July 2005. He also suggested
implanting military personnel with the chips to replace dog tags.

Thompson's desire to run for president is not mere speculation. Media
outlets in his home state of Wisconsin, where he served four terms as
governor, have confirmed Thompson is laying the foundation for a
presidential bid. His wife Sue Ann has told reporters that the family
has discussed his candidacy and that "He should give it a try. He's got
a lot of good ideas." Thompson himself has stated, "There's no question
I'm interested.”"

Thompson is considered a long-shot for the Republican nomination, but
his influence shouldn't be discounted, says McIntyre. "Despite his
folksy manner, he's a savvy politician whose Washington connections run
deep, and he's got a vested interest in chipping America." She points
out that Thompson has an option on more than 150,000 shares of VeriChip

Right now those options aren't worth much. Security flaws and public
squeamishness have hurt the company's sales, resulting in losses of
millions of dollars.

"It will take a considerable shift in public perception to chip enough
Americans to turn all that red ink to black," Albrecht observes. "It
concerns us that Thompson would have a financial interest in having
people roll up their sleeves while aiming for such an influential

Ironically, Thompson himself has not yet received a microchip implant
despite what must be extraordinary pressure from the VeriChip
Corporation. He made a promise to do so on national television over a
year ago.

"Given the unpopularity of the VeriChip and people's concern it could be
abused, Thompson has been wise to avoid getting chipped himself," says
Albrecht. "Getting chipped would would be political suicide for any
politician. Even if he remains chip-free as we hope, the American people
should still be wary of him."

February 12, 2007

Human Chipping Company Omits Salient Risks from IPO Disclosure

VeriChip Corporation, the much-hated purveyor of the VeriChip human ID
implant, is airing its dirty laundry this week. This is not by choice,
mind you, but because the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
required the company to disclose its "risk factors" prior to launching
its initial public offering of stock (IPO) Friday.

The company lays out nearly 20 pages of risk factors in its Form S-1
Registration Statement, a required document for the IPO. But what the
company failed to reveal in its filing may be even more eye-opening, say
CASPIAN privacy advocates Dr. Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre. The
pair, authors of the "Spychips" series of books, have been vocal critics
of VeriChip, dogging the company in recent years and facing down its
senior executives on radio and national television.

"Potential investors should be told how a hacker can simply walk by a
chipped person and clone his or her VeriChip signal, a threat
demonstrated by security researcher Jonathan Westhues months ago," says
McIntyre, who is a former federal bank examiner.

"Omitting the cloning threat from its SEC documents is a serious
oversight that could affect the value of VeriChip's stock. This is
materially relevant information, considering VeriChip's claim that its
product could be used to tighten security in facilities like nuclear
power plants," she adds.

(For more on VeriChip's vulnerability to hacking, see "The RFID Hacking
Underground,' Wired Magazine,

Verichip also failed to disclose to investors and the SEC that patients'
VeriChip implants might not be readable in ambulances. VeriChip's
chipping kit literature cautions that ambient radio waves, like those in
ambulances, can interfere with the equipment that reads the implanted
tags, but this important fact somehow didn't make its way into the SEC

(Scanned images of VeriChip's chipping kit literature, including the
ambulance caution, are available here:
http://www.spychips.com/verichip/verichip-photos-instructions.html )

Even with crucial information missing, investors may still find
themselves scratching their heads over poorly conceived aspects of
VeriChip's business model. "Anyone reading VeriChip's SEC filing would
have second thoughts about the stock," says Albrecht. "Who, after all,
would invest in a company that expects patients to document their own
medical history and blood type in a database? This could prove risky for
anyone, not to mention the elderly, Alzheimer's, and cognitively
impaired patients that VeriChip is targeting."

She cites a passage from the registration statement that reads, "we
anticipate that individuals implanted with our microchip will take
responsibility for inputting all of their information into our database,
including personal health records."

Other risks identified in the VeriChip filing could also scare investors
away. These include anticipation of ongoing multi-million dollar loses,
the "modest" number of people willing to get chipped, public opposition,
and the risk that the microchip may be found to damage a person's
health. The company also warns that it could be subject to lawsuits and
loss of confidence if its patient database is unavailable in an
emergency. The company admits that the database has been unavailable in
the past.

The market seemed to be catching on to some of these problems as
VeriChip began offering stock Friday in a bid to raise million of
dollars to fund its human chipping operations. Analysts noted a
"lukewarm reaction" to the stock and that it was trading on "the low end
of the expected range."

To read the VeriChip Form S-1 Registration Statement (Amendment No. 7)

The VeriChip implant is a glass encapsulated RFID tag that is injected
into the flesh to uniquely number and identify individuals. The tag can
be read by radio waves from a few inches away. The highly controversial
device is being marketed as a way to access secure areas, link to
medical records, and serve as a payment instrument when associated with
a credit card or pre-paid account.

Enter supporting content here

Premises Registration will be an "Official" USDA unique seven Character identifier.
In the New User Guide it states on Page 22:
The premises identification number (PIN) is assigned permanently to a geophysical location. If an owner or entity sells his/her farm, the next operators of the premises use the original premises identification number that had been
assigned to that location. If the seller buys a new location to build a new operation that never had livestock, he/she would register that location and obtain a new premises identification number (PIN).

Premises Identification = Encumbrance

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