Implantable chip prompts privacy concerns
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Thread: Implantable chip prompts privacy concerns

  1. #1
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Implantable chip prompts privacy concerns

    I know this idea has been batted around a few times but it does seem interesting, given recent changes in privacy in the US.

    Interesting privacy issue. But there are a few thoughts that come to mind. The first being that wouldn't the individual choose to have this implanted with full knowledge of the "potential" privacy risks? And the only thing that it does hold (or seems to hold) is the security code to open medical records. I'd be more concerned about how that database is handled and maintained than the chip.

    So would you get yourself chipped?

    Source: CNN

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Privacy advocates are concerned that an implantable microchip designed to help doctors tap into a patient's medical records could undermine confidentiality or could even be used to track the patient's movements.

    "If privacy protections aren't built in at the outset, there could be harmful consequences for patients," said Emily Stewart, a policy analyst at the Health Privacy Project.

    The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that Applied Digital Solutions of Delray Beach, Florida, could market the VeriChip, an implantable computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, for storing medical information.

    With the pinch of a syringe, the microchip is inserted under the skin in a procedure that takes less than 20 minutes and requires no stitches. Silently and invisibly, the dormant chip stores a code that releases patient-specific information when a scanner passes over it.

    The VeriChip itself contains no medical records, just codes that can be scanned and revealed in a doctor's office or hospital. With that code, doctors can unlock part of a secure database that holds the patient's medical information, including allergies and prior treatment. The electronic database, not the chip, would be updated with each medical visit.

    The microchips have already been implanted in 1 million pets. But the chip's possible use to track people's movements -- in addition to speeding delivery of medical information to emergency rooms -- has raised alarm.

    The company's chief executive officer, Scott R. Silverman, said chips implanted for medical uses could also be used for security purposes, like tracking employee movement through nuclear power plants.

    Stewart said that to protect patient privacy, the devices should reveal only vital medical information, like blood type and allergic reactions, needed for health care workers to do their jobs.

    An information technology guru at Detroit Medical Center said he will lobby for his center's inclusion in a VeriChip pilot program.

    "One of the big problems in health care has been the medical records situation. So much of it is still on paper," said David Ellis, the center's chief futurist and co-founder of the Michigan Electronic Medical Records Initiative.

    "It's part of the future of medicine to have these kinds of technologies that make life simpler for the patient," Ellis said. Strong encryption algorithms will ensure hackers can't nab medical data, he said.

    The Health and Human Services Department on Wednesday announced $139 million in grants to help make real President Bush's push for electronic health records for most Americans within a decade.

    William A. Pierce, an HHS spokesman, could not say whether VeriChip and its accompanying secure database of medical records fit within that initiative.

    "Exactly what those technologies are is still to be sorted out," Pierce said. "It all has to respect and comport with the privacy rules."

    To kick start the chip's use among humans, Applied Digital will provide $650 scanners for free at 200 of the nation's trauma centers.

    In pets, installing the chip costs owners about $50. For humans, the chip implantation cost would be $150 to $200, said Angela Fulcher, an Applied Digital spokeswoman.

    Ultimately, the company hopes patients who suffer from such ailments as diabetes and Alzheimer's or who undergo complex treatments, like chemotherapy, would have chips implanted.
    Another article from The Register seems to have a few more details. NSA anyone?
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    the beign of authority kurt_der_koenig's Avatar
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    The company's chief executive officer, Scott R. Silverman, said chips implanted for medical uses could also be used for security purposes, like tracking employee movement through nuclear power plants.

    Stewart said that to protect patient privacy, the devices should reveal only vital medical information, like blood type and allergic reactions, needed for health care workers to do their jobs.
    Talk about wardriving to the extreme.Thats all we really need but heh I wonder if you could put mp3s on it jk. I can see a somewhat relevant application for pets but on the broad horizions for us humans-nothing. Its bad enough that we have camera's up the wazo and then to up the anty with a becon on everybody.

    The Japanese are doing a somewhat similar thing with their school children- although not implanting them in the skin:::: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-5266700.html

  3. #3
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    We already have the ultimate privacy issue being broadcast indefinitely on the electromagtetic spectrum of visible light. Our face.

    P.S. I love Airports with free wireless.
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    i dont really see any advantage in an implanted chip, only allot of threats to our privacy. it's still people inputing medical information into a system that other people have collected. the only differance between this chip and what we are currently using is the chip itself. it still leaves many, many stupid people right where they are in this chain of information.
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    Macht Nicht Aus moxnix's Avatar
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    The intitial concept of a chip implanted under the skin is actually a need ed function for a lot of people. Diabetics, people with extream alergies to some drugs, and others that have hidden conditions that medical personnel should be aware of before administering emergiency drugs are but to name a few.

    But.........I would be worried where it will lead to. Not only through the data base, but by monitoring people as they pass through entrances and exits to buildings. Police getting scanners to check you out on the roadside to see if you are safe to approach. Scanning individuals before approving their loan to prevent premature deaths that would cause a loss to the loan company.
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    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Diabetics, people with extream alergies to some drugs, and others that have hidden conditions that medical personnel should be aware of before administering emergiency drugs are but to name a few.
    This would be an excellent use of this chips. As someone who has asthma -- and when I get hit, I can't speak or breath -- it would benefit me to have a chip that could speak on my behalf. Even an individual that gets hit and maybe isn't wearing ID could benefit. The problem is that human nature has an evil side and someone will always look for a way to gain other benefits out of it.
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    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    Allot of people wear Medic Alert ID tags. Same thing only now it's hidden. Increasing privacy? A twist...
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  8. #8
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Allot of people wear Medic Alert ID tags. Same thing only now it's hidden. Increasing privacy? A twist...
    The one advantage with this would be that it would be harder to loose the RFID chip than it would a medic alert id tag. That could save lives.
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    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    The one advantage with this would be that it would be harder to loose the RFID chip than it would a medic alert id tag. That could save lives.
    Unfortunately, in our litigation obsessed environment it will cost lives. If I am in ER I want them to get on with the job of saving my life, not messing about scanning to see if I have a chip implanted.

    Doctors will simply refuse to act until the scan has been completed. The Medic Alert bracelets are quite adequate, and do not present a privacy risk. Other than if you are wearing one you are obviously not normal

    As soon as the first medic is sued for not scanning for a chip, Pandora's Box will be opened.

    I am afraid this is a double edged sword.

  10. #10
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    Hmm interesting twist in a spiral of litigation Nihil.

    Guess we need a tatto on the chest... "Help I have issues with hemoglobin"
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