Magazine article The New Yorker

TAGGERS; KIDS TODAY DEPT. Series: 4/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

TAGGERS; KIDS TODAY DEPT. Series: 4/5

Article excerpt

Mikey Sklar is twenty-eight. He is five feet six, with an oval face, a high forehead, dark eyes, and brown hair in dreadlocks that fall to the middle of his back. His appearance is post-modern. He has no tattoos, for example, or any desire to have any parts of his body pierced. He does have a radiofrequency identification chip implanted in him, though, and he is enthusiastic about having other electronic devices implanted in him, too. An RFID chip is about the size of a grain of rice. People who use them in novel ways call them tags. They call themselves taggers; someone with a chip implanted in him has been tagged. The key-chain implement that you wave at a gas pump operates by means of a tag. Veterinarians sometimes implant a tag in a pet, so that a lost animal can be scanned, and its owner found. Taggers in Spain hold their hands in front of scanners and are admitted to the V.I.P. areas of night clubs.

Around Thanksgiving, Sklar had his tag implanted between his left thumb and forefinger. He wanted to be able to pass his hand in front of his computer and have the computer's security system recognize his password. He bought his tag online, from a company called PhidgetsUSA, for two dollars and ten cents. It is a livestock tag, meaning that it is typically embedded in an animal as a means of tracking its whereabouts at the slaughterhouse. Sklar bought an injector gun, to implant the tag, for seventeen pounds from a British company, also online. While he waited for the tag to arrive, he looked for someone to install it. "I found a retired vet assistant--she may have been fired--who used to implant tags in animals," he says. The injector gun turned out to be much larger than Sklar had imagined. "It was a really big syringe," he says. In the end, he persuaded a surgeon he knew to install the tag. The operation, which took seven minutes, was performed, with local anesthetic, at the kitchen table of Sklar's loft, in Brooklyn. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.