Saudi Barbarism or Iranian Propaganda?

So I happened across this article and was prepared to post it with a comment on how barbarous this Saudi proposal appeared:

A Saudi inventor’s proposal to insert semiconductors subcutaneously in visitors and remotely kill them if they misbehave will not be patented in Germany.

On Wednesday, a German Patent Office spokeswoman said the application was received on October 30, 2007 and published 18 months later, as required by law, in a patents database. But inventions that are unethical or a danger to the public are not recognized.

Reporters said the document proposed that tiny semiconductors be implanted or placed by injection under the skin of people so their whereabouts could be tracked by global-positioning satellites. This could be used to prevent immigrants overstaying.

A model B of the system would contain a poison such as cyanide, which could be released by remote control to “eliminate” people if they became a security risk. The document said this could be used against terrorists or criminals.

However, a colleague working in this area wasn’t buying the story, and had this to say in retort:

a) Saudi Arabia hardly patents anything;
b) to make such a chip that cannot be readily removed would be a real challenge (see: James Bond in Casino Royale);
c) to have enough power to deliver a lethal dose of anything in such a device would be a real challenge; and
d) to have an antenna that could pick up a signal remotely seem highly unlikely.

Of course, such tracking chips exist in pets, but you have to get REAL close to detect them.

But that’s just the common sense test. I did a patent search, and there it is no sign of such a device. Note that EU and WO Patents get a published review, and if a Patent has a review it will have an A1 or A3 at the end.

As this is an Iranian news site making the Saudis out to look like barbarians, maybe that’s what’s behind the story…?

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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6 Responses to Saudi Barbarism or Iranian Propaganda?

  1. Kirk Sowell says:

    If this were instead a story about Iran implanting devices in people that could kill them remotely I’d consider it plausible as long as the sole source wasn’t a Saudi website. But even if the source were not Iranian, I’d doubt this simply because the Saudis don’t produce technology (0r scientists, etc.) of any kind.

  2. Anthony says:

    I find the story hard to believe.

  3. Chirol says:

    I think the phrase “Saudi inventor” is a dead give-away this is bs.

  4. Gollios says:

    This sounds rather Neal Stephenson-ish circa “The Diamond Age.”

  5. Bob Harrison says:

    Saudi Arabia is medieval and backwards but it is not sub-Saharan Africa. They have intelligent people and the resources to cultivate that human capital. Most of these people end up in geophysical sciences but I’m sure the Saudi state would love to cultivate its own military industry (a far far off goal) to be less dependent on the USA.
    As for 1984 style implants… yeah… this is probably BS, just felt the need to defend the (albeit backwards) Arabs.

  6. Aren says:

    Albeit fake, this dystopian nightmare of a concept is too chilling.