Satellites track Mexico kidnap victims with chips

By | August 23, 2008

Affluent Mexicans, terrified of soaring kidnapping rates, are spending thousands of dollars to implant tiny transmitters under their skin so satellites can help find them tied up in a safe house or stuffed in the trunk of a car.

Kidnapping jumped almost 40 percent between 2004 and 2007 in Mexico, according to official statistics. Mexico ranks with conflict zones like Iraq and Colombia as among the worst countries for abductions.

The recent kidnapping and murder of Fernando Marti, 14, the son of a well-known businessman, sparked an outcry in a country already hardened to crime.

More people, including a growing number of middle-class Mexicans, are seeking out the tiny chip designed by Xega, a Mexican security firm whose sales jumped 13 percent this year. The company said it had more than 2,000 clients.

Detractors say the chip is little more than a gadget that serves no real security purpose.

The company injects the crystal-encased chip, the size and shape of a grain of rice, into clients’ bodies with a syringe. A transmitter in the chip then sends radio signals to a larger device carried by the client with a global positioning system in it, Xega says. A satellite can then pinpoint the location of a person in distress.

Cristina, 28, who did not want to give her last name, was implanted along with seven other members of her family last year as a “preventive measure.” “It’s not like we are wealthy people, but they’ll kidnap you for a watch. … Everyone is living in fear,” she said. The chips cost $4,000 plus an annual fee of $2,200. – yahoo

Movie idea: Micro chip company hiring local thugs to kidnap people to increase sales and reach political goal of being able to track everyone at all times.

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