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Implanting ideas to store medical history
Source: CNN News

By Jeffrey P. Kahn, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Director, Center for Bioethics
University of Minnesota

Members of a Florida family have had electronic chips with medical information implanted under the skin in their upper arms.

The data on the chips can be read -- kind of like a bar code. Pet owners use the same technology to help identify lost dogs and cats.

The family's reason for the implants was to ensure that doctors would have easy access to medical information in case of emergency. It was a way to assure "health security" since some family members have complicated medical problems.

The chips contain limited information -- just phone numbers and a prescription history. There is no significant medical or other private data -- at least not yet.

Some companies have suggested that the next step should include a miniature Global Positioning System transmitter in the chip so that pets -- and perhaps people -- could not only be identified but also located when they're lost.

But is this method of storing information a good or a bad thing? Like many new technologies, it offers a little of each.

Information is only skin-deep
Chips that include more detailed medical information likely will be offered, and some consumers will decide to use them.

Once that happens, anyone with the equipment to read the chips and a password could conceivably obtain information.

Carrying around electronic medical information in this way makes it easier and harder to protect privacy.

On the one hand, a chip under the skin could make a person's health history an open book. But the information could be much more effectively controlled than it would be stored in computers and file cabinets in hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices.

The key will be limiting access to the information, both in terms of who can obtain it and whether different information can be made available for different purposes.

The issue of increased medical privacy -- including strict federal rules scheduled to go into effect in 2003 -- will be at the heart of what the future holds for such implantable chips.

From information storage to body, mind control
It is difficult to overlook the connection between the Florida family and a recent report about implanting chips into the brains of rats.

The latter wasn't done for information storage, however. Researchers were able to send signals to rats' brains and trick the rodents into thinking they were experiencing something they were not.

For example, the rats were made to think their whiskers were brushing against an object, causing them to turn away from the imagined obstacle. The researchers effectively created virtual sensations as a way of controlling the rats' environment.

This step from the use of implanted computer chips for storing information to employing them to create perception isn't happening in humans, but the possibilities are striking.

Imagine a future in which computer chips control processes and functions in the body...

Implanted brain stimulators already are used for Parkinson's disease, but what about to alter personality disorders? What about eventually trying to improve perception and intelligence?

Whether it's the near-term application of implanted chips for information storage or future ways to control the body and mind, we must find methods to make us better off while protecting against misuse.

It may even give rise to a new medical specialty of computer chip medicine...


What advantages or disadvantages do you see in using computer chips to alter, control, or improve perceptions?

Now this question is a bit far-fetched but what if researchers decided to use this type of mind control device on prisoners?

...While we're infighting they're thinking...Len
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A lot of fundamental Christians believe the ID chip implant to be a protocol type of the "mark of the beast." I don't know but I remember many years ago hearing a minister's sermon about the mark of the beast (666). It all seemed far-fetched at the time, as he was referring to smart cards as a precursor to implants. The technology was virtually unknown to the general public at the time.

The technology is in place. At the owners request ID chips can be implanted into pets for identification in case their loss. Animals first humans next. Here is a website with implantable ID chips info don't know if its official but its interesting. brosmile

While walking in the woods be mindful of the snakes. -Len.
Shsssh we'll be called conspiracy theorist. The big brother watchers... Big Grin

Kweli, I laughed at your scenario and thought how true. The invasion of privacy definitely worries me. Just think an individual identification number implanted beneath the skin to identify, locate, track, and control individuals -globally.

It would possibly eliminate identity theft. Additionally, if one were in an accident one's health files would automatically be on file at any hospital. What if one could use it for daily transactions, such as making purchases? There would possibly be no need for money. Honestly, I can see this technology selling to the average consumer. Like everything else the powers that be will ease it by the general public possibly under the guise of homeland security. Big Grin

Okay, I'm paranoid in this area I'll admit it...Actually, I'm all for the advancement of technology, but am not feeling this particular advancement. Eek

Whatever you do to others - will be done to you, in this or any future incarnation of your soul. -The Law Of Karma-
Yeah Len, Imagine ... the scenerio plays out ... identification, medical info, purchasing credits (like debit cards), freedom to travel wherever without passports, all in a small implant in your arm.

Then one day, you mention to your lover, late one night, how the implant itches and that you wished you had never got one.

The next morning, you can't log into your computer at home or work, can't make any purchases, can't access your bank account, and notice that you are being followed. Although you duck in and out of the crowd and sprint down alleys, your pursuers are always right there (Must be the GPS system of the implant).

You are picked up by the Dept. of Global Security and questioned as a dissident before being held at Bay Guantanamo, without charges, unable to speak to counsel, while awaiting the military tribunal.

Okay, you tell me how much of the above is in the future or occurring right now?
Originally posted by Len:
A lot of fundamental Christians believe the ID chip implant to be a protocol type of the "mark of the beast." I don't know but I remember many years ago hearing a minister's sermon about the mark of the beast (666). It all seemed far-fetched at the time, as he was referring to smart cards as a precursor to implants. The technology was virtually unknown to the general public at the time.

The technology is in place. At the owners request ID chips can be implanted into pets for identification in case their loss. Animals first humans next. Here is a with implantable ID chips info don't know if its official but its interesting. brosmile

While walking in the woods be mindful of the snakes. -Len.

I saw the web site. This does not make any sense to me. Do they think that people will just happily sign up to be tagged like an animal in the wild? It would have to take something pretty bad to make John Q. Public put his brain away and do this.

I suppose the scary thing that I saw with the site is that it listed *doctors* as the people to get the chip from. I don't recall seeing a price on that site. What if you go to a doctor for help and they give it to you the chip without your knowledge? I remember speaking to my manager about this. He said that it would be implanted on the forehead or on the hand - reason being because those areas would act as a type of battery for the device.

I suppose in a crazy "Brave New World" scenario, one would not be able to get the things that they need without the chip - medicine, food, clothes, shelter. Would they go so far as to lock up those who refused the chip?

Does anyone know what is going on in this area as of now? Are they planning to implement this thing sometime in the future?
Wow Kweli, that was an interesting scenario and we know governments certainly have the intelligence. With the implant it's seems like one is giving up one's individual freedom. It's so personal. Maybe I'm thinking too far ahead into the future about the devious ways in which mankind can misuse this technology. Desperate people will take desperate measures...


Well Sarabi, I haven't been able to find any recent (2003) information about the devices. However, on last year there was a family the Jacobs who volunteered to have microchip implants. Thus, a few developers are offering the devices to human beings on a volunteer test basis. Actually, I think if the benefits outweigh the risk the public will buy into the technology eventually. Initially, however, the concern will be privacy protection. Once laws are in place to guarantee protection skeptic minds will be at ease. The prophecy of the days of doom will die down and consumers will purchase the devices. Of course, this is mere spectulation. It will be interesting to see how this technology develops.

Here is a very informative study.

The compassionate heart will respect the old and help the poor.
Kweli, certain major events have to take place in order for your scenario to happen. First off the Constitution has to be abolished, along with the Supreme Court and probably Congress, who would of course fight against such an action as destroying the constitution and with it the rights of the U.S. citizens. Then of course the people themselves have to tolerate the obliteration of their freedoms, which given to the rebellious history of Americans, would be impossible without certain death to the evil leader behind all this.

But you know what? Your scenario does tell me that the Cop's job is going to be a lot easier, and the criminal's a lot harder, which makes me happy.

Does the name Padilla sound familiar? If not, he is the 8th grade dropout, Chicago gang-banger that was named an "enemy combatant" after being accused (based on rumor and innuendo) of attempting to create a "dirty bomb." He is currently being held, without charges, without access to counsel, while awaiting a military tribunal. But unlike the other captives in the "War on Terrorism" he is also a US citizen.

So it appears that given the right circumstance, the constitution doesn't have to be abolished, just ignored. Likewise, the Supreme Court would not have to be abolished, it just has to follow the game plan (as it is doing). And the people, well ... we just have to continue doing what we're doing. The rebellious history of Americans seems to be just that history.

This "War on Terrorism" and its attendant acts, e.g., the patroit acts, are incrementally destroying the constitution and the rights of US citizens.

And yes, it will make the cop's job a lot easier, but I'm afraid of what laws they will soon be called on to enforce.
I get the gist of Kweli's scenario. No laws would be abolished, rather more laws enacted. Increasingly, we are giving up privacy rights in this electronic age for the sake of efficiency and safety. Hence, big brother is watching and tracking us already. There are hidden cameras in retail store dressing rooms. Some of our cities have video cameras track our movements as we walk along the streets; our employers are monitoring our email messages and tracing our online activity. Some of the software you purchase for your home pc has built in trace codes enabling the vendor to track consumer online activity.

Health care providers require in depth personal information. In fact, I recently had a doctor's office ask for my social security number. Additionally, law officers and government officials have instant access to databases with sensitive information about an individual -from travel to health and banking information. So our lives are already an open book. Therefore, I don't see much rebellion coming from the masses particularly if they are convinced the implants are for the safety of the community. With the threat of terrorism and global instability people will be willing to do whatever it takes for security.

Criminals should be very weary of this technology because they are likely to be the human guinea pigs. Again, this is pure spectulation. brosmile

The following excerpt is from the study link referencing the laws:

Summary and Conclusion
Three categories of rights are relevant to implanting microchips in humans: common law, constitutional and property. The common law concept of bodily integrity precludes nonconsensual implantation. When microchips constitute a legal search, the Fourth Amendment applies to preclude the government from using devices with read-write and tracking capabilities, but a warrant could legitimize scanning a read only or read-write device. Property rights might be applied to prevent intrusion without just compensation. This would seem to require expanding current law, but novel and unique situations may spawn novel applications of laws.

Of the approaches described, it appears that the closest parallels and thus the strongest protection are afforded by common law right of bodily integrity. Though cases have generally concerned death or birth issues, in contrast with permanent insertion of a foreign substance into the body, the analogies are much stronger than in two other branches of the law discussed. Concerning constitutional rights, the strongest protection is afforded with certainty only against the most complicated device, the one with read-write and tracking capabilities, for which there is not yet evidence of a marketable device. It is much more likely that the read only or read-write implant would be initially used.

The common law right of bodily integrity seems most weighty and convincing, especially where law-abiding citizens are forced to undergo implantation. If only criminals must be implanted, as opposed to the population at large, it will be more difficult to argue against implantation in the face of the increased latitude of governmental control over law-breakers.

Although use of such a device at first appears farfetched, examination of the existing technology and the potential utility proves that microchip implantation is both possible and, for some purposes, desirable. Beginning with voluntary introduction, Americans may be lulled into accepting them. This article thus sounds a warning bell. The time to prevent grievous intrusion into personal privacy by enacting appropriate legislative safeguards is now, rather than when it is too late.

[This message was edited by Len on August 18, 2003 at 02:00 PM.]
It seems, that if it weren't for the evilness of man, computer chips would not be a problem.

I don't have any problem with being locatable, like Lo-Jack or something. Its just that we know that somehow it will be used for control and malicious intent.

I do however think it would be great for all kids (and pets), and can be removed at age 18 or when the parent is no longer responsible (age 25 for some college students).

I do believe that if they came up with something that was legit and could not be used in any sort of malicious way, they'd never use it. Imagine a system that was honest. Would put alot of people/governments out of business.

I love technogoly and I think the more that is invented to circumvent lies is great, a totally honest world is what I want, problem is the people in charge are doing the most lying.

La Femme Nkechi
Be the change in the world you want to starts with you
I agree Nkechi the nature of humankind is too easily corrupt to have the kind of power this technology will give them, as it is likely to be misused. Medical researchers have discovered how to stimulate brain activity with a microchip implant the next step undoubtedly is brain altering. While the technology will help a lot of patients suffering from a psychological disorders it may also be used to control unwilling victims -prison inmates keep coming to mind.

Presently, a Humane Society in Chico, Ca is using microchips to tag every animal that is adopted from their shelter. The chip is injected in the shoulder of the animal. More pet owners will probably have their pets injected with ID tags as the technology progresses and becomes popular. I love my dog like a human, no implants for her. But then that's easy for me to say she's a housedog; I don't have to worry about her getting lost.

The VeriChip does not appear to be perfected yet. When the chip is FDA approved for humans I have a feeling we will hear more about ID implants. For now, it seems, the RFID technology is the next step for monitoring and tracking, which can be abused as well.

I find this technology very interesting. This is the type of stuff that creeps up on the general public because it seems too farfetched or futurist to be concerned about. But before you know it's affecting your life.

If ever it were a time to be aware of your surroundings it is now. -Len
We had a chip put in our new golder retriever when we first got her. Its nice because it has information in case she is stolen or wanders away that lets whoever recovers her know who her true owner is. Most Vets have the hand scanner that will detect the chip and the information enbedded in the chip. The number is also registered with the American Kernal Association. It makes good sense for those people who have invested in getting a high quality animal.
Yeah, I'm with Nkechi ...

There's no way I could trust it to be used only for good and never for evil ... and I guess I watched too much Twilight Zone and Outer Limits as a kid Big Grin ... but Kweli's senario was far too real for me .. and just the very thought of this implant thing gives me the heebie jeebies! Eek

Thank you, but no thank you!

Black by Nature, Proud by Choice.
Microchip Update

This information is really exciting to me because I use to hear about these type chips when I was a teenager in church. From a back woods minister who one may think would not have this type of knowledge. The sermons were so intriguing and scary that they stuck with me. It's Amazing to see them come to pass!!!

Microchip May Be Used for Purchases

Wednesday, November 26, 2003 10:13 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- For the forgetful bionic man or woman in your life, here's a credit card they can't possibly leave home without: a microchip the size of a grain of rice implanted in the arm.

The VeriChip, which transmits a unique I.D. number by radio frequency to a scanner, actually has been implanted in more than 30 people for a variety of potential applications, including as a building I.D. "badge," medical "bracelet" and anti-kidnapping device.

Now the chip's creator, Applied Digital Solutions Inc. of Palm Beach, Fla., is pitching it as a digital wallet that could automatically make purchases in stores.

The device employs radio frequency identification technology, or RFID, which companies such as Wal-Mart Stores are testing for more mundane purposes such as tracking inventory and ringing up products at the register.

For example, a chip embedded in a product or its packaging can transmit signals informing the retailer that it has been removed from a shelf or purchased and needs replacing.

But how does one install such a chip in a human? Easy, says Applied Digital:

"The standard location of the microchip is in the triceps area between the elbow and the shoulder of the right arm. The brief outpatient `chipping' procedure lasts just a few minutes and involves only local anesthetic followed by quick, painless insertion of the VeriChip. Once inserted just under the skin, the VeriChip is inconspicuous to the naked eye. A small amount of radio frequency energy passes from the scanner energizing the dormant VeriChip, which then emits a radio frequency signal transmitting the verification number."

So will muggers start carrying around scalpels to steal your wallet?

Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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