One hundred seventy law enforcers in Mexico have been implanted with a microchip the size of a grain of rice that allows them to access a high-level crime database and, they hope, track them if they’re kidnapped, reports the Christian Science Monitor. The implanted cops are not exactly cyborgs, but the first-of-its-kind step shows the lengths to which the Mexican government will go to try to bring safety to the streets. Crime – and how to fight it – has long been a challenge in Mexico. Kidnapping is spreading, reaching beyond traditional wealthy targets to the middle class. And in a country where only a quarter of all crimes are reported because of fear that bribed cops will expose informants, securing access to sensitive documents has become a priority.
The chip comes from VeriChip, a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions of Palm Beach, Fla. The device is nonremovable (though it can be deactivated) and is slipped under the skin in seconds via a syringe-like device. The chip costs $200, plus $50 a year, in addition to the scanner and software. The technology has existed for years and was originally developed to let pet owners identify stray animals.