67 Microchips

After ten minutes of staring at the ceiling of the car, Janet speaks. “Benjamin, how did you know about the computer in Belgium and the information in the Bible?”

“I will answer your underlying question before I answer those two. No, I did not intentionally withhold this information. I’m completely loyal to you and respect your office. You can, and should, trust me. Are we good?”

Janet nods.

“I know about the computer from a college buddy of mine who did some of its programming. I haven’t thought about it since you became the U.S. Ambassador. We’ve been busy with the preliminary activities required for your job and with the President’s requests. I assure you I did not set you up.

“The Bible information came from a religion course I took in college. I was intrigued and kept digging to try and solve the riddles of the book of Revelation. That’s all.” Benjamin leans forward to confirm her eye contact. “You weren’t aware of these things because, (a) George Mason is an uptight liberal school that doesn’t offer religion courses, and (b) you’re Jewish and weren’t given a copy of the New Testament as a Hanukkah gift.”

Janet smiles. “Alright, I hear you. Just follow protocol in the future, and do not announce information without consulting with me first, okay? And, unless you retract your comment about my Alma Mater—the fabulous George Mason University—I will require you to take a political science course there in the fall session.”

“Ha! Understood. Go G.M.!” Benjamin shakes his fists above his head.

“Better. So, tell me, the New Testament was written centuries ago, long before electricity or even the Industrial Revolution, yet it mentions a data receiver of some sort that will be placed in the forehead or hand? And, this chip will be required for buying and selling? Is it really that detailed?”

“It’s even more detailed than that. It specifically says they are to be placed in the right hand— which is exactly where the E.U. is placing them. May I venture to tell you how this too could be weaponized?”

“Sure.”

“The private investors who own BEAST recently attached a reader program to the chips. A simple phone App allows anyone within one hundred feet to be able to pull up data on you by communicating with your chip.”

“Are you serious? Isn’t this a shocking invasion of privacy even for the E.U?”

“Yes, it’s true. There are two parts of data that can be accessed. The first side is a cross between Facebook and Waze. The carrier uploads information you allow others to access, like your name, your city, your marital status, pets, children, your favorite sports teams, and even your preferences on being approached, like ‘please don’t interrupt me when I’m fake-reading a file.’”

He smiles. “This part allows the carrier to report emergencies, make a legal recording, report safety hazards they see in their travels, and even bad driving by a person, or an unmanned Uber. The potential is unlimited—and probably good for the planet. Get this, it has a running game. You win points for doing good deeds, like picking up trash, helping an elderly person to cross the street, being nice, or even getting a stray pet to safety, etc. You get points for making good lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, etc. And—drum roll please—you get rewards by purchasing products from their sponsors.”

“There’s your money maker.”

“You called it. Then, there is the second side—it carries criminal backgrounds, parole and probation status, drug usage, mental illness, alerts if you are a pedophile, sexual abuser, domestic abuser, on a terrorist watch list, carrying a contagious, potentially-lethal virus such as HIV or TB, have a concealed weapons carry license, and any other thing the government chooses to reveal about you. It’s supposed to be limited to public records, but who knows? As far as privacy, the E.U. decided the safety of its ‘clear-record citizens’ supersedes the right to privacy for the—shall I call them ‘tainted’ ones? Most of these things can be found in some sort of public record.”

“Amazing. Coming to the U.S. when?”

“January 1, 2031. Europe is about to make the chip and reader mandatory for access to any government buildings, including libraries and schools. It will have its day in court for sure, but it will be pushed through. The trials have been very favorable.”

As the car enters the private plane departure gate, Janet’s head is spinning. “I want to revisit this soon, but we need to use our flight time to prepare my concerns on the remaining mandates. I want to include the ones I discussed with the President today. The Vice President is a level-headed woman. Maybe she’ll see these things to be as alarming as I do. When we arrive in Geneva, can you please see if you can set a meeting with anyone who has direct knowledge of the… what is the name of the chip tracker program?”

“ENGAGE. It was invented by a Human Resource Specialist in Nashville. She designed it to serve as a virtual Human Resources Department for large corporations. A business consulting firm got wind of it and purchased the marketing rights. Within a month, they were on a plane to London to demonstrate it at the European World of Business Expo. It took off from there.”

Once Janet steps into the plane and buckles her seat belt, she continues the conversation. “Please give me some time to process all of this information, and we can start drafting the email for the Vice President.”

“You got it, boss!”

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Triple Digit TOC by K.M. Sheridan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book