October 13, 2004

What's on Your Microchip?

The FDA has just this past Wednesday, approved the use of microchips in humans for medical purposes. The chip would keep all medical data on a patient allowing a doctor to check illnesses, allergies and similar information. It would obviously be of great service to emergency personnel and doctors in cases of accidents or sudden illness when the patient has been rendered unconscious, or cannot communicate for whatever reason..

The chip has been used in other countries for security purposes and the chip has been employed to find lost pets and keep track of cattle.

Right now the only approved purpose for humans in the USA is medical data. In the future? It only takes a bit of imagination to conceive of BRAVE NEW WORLD scenarios.

This could be a great boon to society in general; keeping track of patients with dementia, locating a lost child, monitoring criminals, locate someone in a burning building, or buried in an earthquake.

In Spain they are using it to track purchases in bars; imagine walking into any store and not needing cash or a credit card or anything that is easily stolen for the transaction? With the added security of retinal scanning mugging would become something nearly in heard of.

But still there is a little voice, with a lot of volume, that screams "BIG BROTHER", and that scares me. We could become open books to anyone with a scanner. Stole a pack of cigarettes as a teen; we got you. Purchase porn? We know all about it. Even if it didn't involve anything negative, for instance how much one spends on groceries, or favorite places to vacation, do we want this information available to anyone who can scan?

Is it something to be feared? How is it best regulated so that it can provide help and not lead us to a world where we are all numbered? Would there be a way to control what data any particular person was able to access? Or would detective work become as easy as purchasing a scanner? Are these legitimate worries or are these groundless fears, based more on hysteria than fact? I'd really be interested in knowing what you think.

Posted by Rachel Ann at October 13, 2004 09:36 PM

"The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Or something like that . . .

Of course you're right.

The soft-sell technique is the ease, the convenience, the valuable data, the personal safety from mugging (assuming the mugger hasn't seen Demolition Man and learned to cut out your eye for the retinal scan while mugging you), etc. People will line up in droves.

The hard-sell involves Secret Police, etc.

We have already proved, as a society, that we are willing, eager even, to sacrifice our privacy for alleged "security." I doubt they will need the Secret Police . . .

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a completely unhackable system. Every security fix, every software update occurs because somebody, somewhere found a hole.

I imagine we are years away from widespread use.

But it will beinteresting to see how it is handled . . . and how many people line up for it.

Posted by: Anne at October 14, 2004 02:29 AM

''Big Brother'' syndrome indeed ! How far should we go and who's has control over our lives ?? A question thats becoming more and more of an issue in our lives today. Which also brings me to another case, currently very alive in the UK, Its about the right over a baby's life..its fate was decided in the courts..the parent's wanted it leave..the doctors otherwise and the case went to court. Do visit my blog and give me your opinion on the issue..it haunts me..bothers me..and i can't make up my mind. And thank you for your mail :-)

Posted by: pincushion at October 14, 2004 10:42 AM
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