Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thanks - But I'll Pass on The Chips

The American Medical Association (AMA) has came out with an ethics code regarding Radio Frequency IDentification implants since doctors would be storing important medical information under the skin of the patients. Actually the data itself isn't stored, but a number that is a reference number to a larger database is what is on the chip. Technology like the Veri-Chip has already been approved by the FDA. These chips are the size of a grain of rice and they are implanted with a needle subdermally. This technology has already been used on animals. The AMA noted that RFID chips may actually interfere with certain other medical procedures and even medications that people may take.

Apparently some people in the medical community believe that RFID chipping of people is a good thing, because theoretically in an emergency situation data stored on the chip is supposed to be accessed easily and quickly, and if the patient is unconscious it can save time and maybe the person's life. As far as I know, the speed of treatment hasn't been changed because of implanted RFIDs, and I know of no studies that were done to prove or disprove more prompt treatment.

It is claimed that these chips are removable, and can even be relocated within the body. It's not that simple. They can migrate and they cause scar tissue to develop around the chip. It certainly is easier to implant them then it is to remove them.

The downside to these chips are that the privacy of the patient might be compromised if someone has access to a chip scanner. That may already be happening and can contribute to medical identity theft.

If you don't read anything else you must read this article by TODD LEWAN posted at MyWay News entitled "Microchip Implants Raise Privacy Concerns" It is an excellent article and discusses this issue in depth. Here is an excerpt:
To some, the microchip was a wondrous invention - a high-tech helper that could increase security at nuclear plants and military bases, help authorities identify wandering Alzheimer's patients, allow consumers to buy their groceries, literally, with the wave of a chipped hand.

To others, the notion of tagging people was Orwellian, a departure from centuries of history and tradition in which people had the right to go and do as they pleased, without being tracked, unless they were harming someone else.

Chipping, these critics said, might start with Alzheimer's patients or Army Rangers, but would eventually be suggested for convicts, then parolees, then sex offenders, then illegal aliens - until one day, a majority of Americans, falling into one category or another, would find themselves electronically tagged.

The concept of making all things traceable isn't alien to Americans. Thirty years ago, the first electronic tags were fixed to the ears of cattle, to permit ranchers to track a herd's reproductive and eating habits. In the 1990s, millions of chips were implanted in livestock, fish, dogs, cats, even racehorses.

Microchips are now fixed to car windshields as toll-paying devices, on "contactless" payment cards (Chase's "Blink," or MasterCard's "PayPass"). They're embedded in Michelin tires, library books, passports, work uniforms, luggage, and, unbeknownst to many consumers, on a host of individual items, from Hewlett Packard printers to Sanyo TVs, at Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

But CityWatcher.com employees weren't appliances or pets: They were people made scannable.
Yup, I am not an appliance or livestock or inventory to be scanned, so I'll pass on the chips: I am just that kind of an old fashioned girl.