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By Ricardo — 7 years ago
Technology has always been used to the advantage of the people. It has made everyday life simple in many ways. Communication, Media and even Healthcare have benefited from it. With healthcare in mind, technology has been a large contributor to the progress of man. It has been so beneficial that the FDA has approved a way for healthcare and security to follow us wherever we go. A tiny chip implanted in your right arm or hand would hold our medical records, financial records and information pertinent to our identity. Has technology gone too far? Is this idea immoral or unethical?
So far one company has been approved by the FDA to bring this product to the public. Applied Digital Solutions has designed the VeriChip for our needs. The VeriChip is made possible by the use of an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) microchip and is about the size of a grain of rice, the microchip inserts just under the skin and contains only a unique, 16-digit identifier (VeriChip Corporation, 2006). The chip does not contain GPS (Global Positioning System) capabilities yet and it cannot be lost, stolen, misplaced, or counterfeited (VeriChip Corporation, 2006). Although this type of technology sounds new, it has actually been around for some time now. RFID chips are everywhere. When buying a purse at the store there is a metal strip inside. This is the chip that makes the alarm go off when leaving the store without having it deactivated after purchasing it. Anything you buy these days (other than food) has a RFID tag on it. Even animals have implanted chips. When and if you ever adopt a cat or dog from the Humane Society, press down on the back of its neck. You will be able to feel the chip that has been implanted to track it in case you lose it.
In 2002 VeriChip made a break-through when they chipped a family in Boca Roton, Florida. Jeff and Leslie Jacobs, along with their 14-year-old son, Derek, had the tiny chips implanted in their arms (Family implanted with computer chips, 2002). The insertion took only a minute under local anesthesia. The family had decided to be chipped for medical emergencies. Jeff has suffered through cancer, a car crash, a degenerative spinal condition, chronic eye disease and abdominal operations (Family implanted with computer chips, 2002). Within their chips contained phone numbers and information about previous medications. If for some reason they were incapacitated and brought to the hospital, a swipe of the arm would supply vital information to treat them according to their past medical history. At this time the FDA had not approved the chip because they did not consider the implant to be a medical device (Family implanted with computer chips, 2002). The company had hoped to market this product for those who suffered serious medical conditions, for instance those with Alzheimer’s disease (Family implanted with computer chips, 2002). After two years the FDA approved the VeriChip as a medical device. According to their Class II Special Controls Guidance Document the FDA states that, “the device is intended to enable access to secure patient identification and corresponding health information in humans” (2004, p. 1). Since VeriChip was given the green light the company seemed to target the elderly, children and the military. As they had previously hoped, they were able to market their “medical” device for those with Alzheimer’s disease. In reference to children, the chip was presented to protect children from abduction. As soon as a baby comes into this world the hospital wraps a bracelet on its ankle. I witnessed this first hand when my son was born in March of 2004. They carried my child beyond the security line and a loud and annoying alarm went off. Just a little peace of mind for the parent and one would find this to be a blessing but not everything is as it seems.
The issue of privacy and side-effects of the implant troubles the mind. An article in USA Today spoke of this issue and focused on CityWatcher.com, a provider of surveillance equipment. Two of their employees had been chipped to protect high-end secure data. Sean Darks, chief executive of the Cincinnati-based company compared chip implants to retina scans or fingerprinting (Lewan, 2007). The comparison is weak in reference to implanting humans and to others, the notion of tagging people is 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 (Lewan, 2007). When presented with the idea of a Big-Brother-like campaign Sean Darks squashed it by saying it was “hogwash” (Lewan, 2007). Whether it is believed to be hogwash or not others feel it goes hand in hand with the Bible. Some Christian critics saw the implants as the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy that describes an age of evil in which humans are forced to take the “Mark of the Beast” on their bodies, to buy or sell anything (Lewan, 2007).
Regarding the issue of side-effects an article on MSNBC.com entitled, “Microchip for people may cause cancer” mentioned that there were possibilities that tumors could form. When the FDA approved implanting microchips in humans, the manufacturer said it would save lives (2007). They found “reasonable assurance” the device was safe, and a sub-agency even called it one of 2005’s top “innovative technologies” (2007). However, neither the company nor the regulators publicly mentioned that the chip implants had “induced” malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats (2007). These studies were actually performed in the mid-1990’s and well before the approval in 2004. One would wonder why the FDA would allow the approval of a product that could possibly cause cancer. Within the Class II Special Controls Guidance Document, the FDA determined that premarket notification is not necessary to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of this generic type of device if the manufacturer follows the recommendations in this special controls guidance or equivalent measures to address the risks identified in this guidance (2004, p. 3). The risks of chipping humans are even listed within the document, however, no mention of cancer (2004, p. 3).
- Adverse Tissue Reaction
- Migration of implanted transponder
- Compromised Information Security
- Failure of implanted transponder
- Failure of Inserter
- Failure of electronic scanner
- Electrical Hazards
These are just a few of the risks regarding chip implants and this product was designed to help us.
In conclusion this is just the beginning and so far it has been seen as a grand invention for healthcare and security. Persuasion is the key to marketing to the American people and those around the world. You will no longer have to worry about your medical information or if your children will be abducted. Missing soldiers will be a thing of the past and your finances will be kept safe in a secure database that can only be accessed by a swipe of your arm. Such simplicity would make everyday life a cake walk but the big picture is concerning our privacy. The question of whether or not chipping humans is unethical or immoral is irrelevant. The time is now to wake up and reject the wolf in sheep’s clothing. As George Orwell put it in his book 1984, “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious” (Orwell, 1950).
(2006). VeriChip Corporation-RFID Tags. Retrieved October 17, 2007, from VeriChip Corporation Web site: http://www.verichipcorp.com/content/company/rfidtags#implantable
(2002,05,10). Family implanted with computer chips. Retrieved October 17, 2007, from USA Today Web site: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2002/05/10/implantable-chip.htm
(2004,12,10). Class II Special Controls Guidance Document. Retrieved October 17, 2007, from The Food and Drug Administration Web site: http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/ode/guidance/1541.pdf
Lewan, T (2007). Microchips in humans spark privacy debate. Retrieved October 17, 2007, from USA Today Web site: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/surveillance/2007-07-21-chips_N.htm
(2007). Microchip for people may cause cancer. Retrieved October 17, 2007, from MSNBC Web site: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20643620
Orwell, George (1950). 1984. New York,New York: New American Library.Post Views: 506
By Ricardo — 7 years ago
Hello everyone! It’s been about two weeks since my last post here and the break was definitely needed. I have been hard at work and between, family, school, work, and personal projects, I really needed to step back a moment and prioritize. During my break I was able to finish school and design my personal website. It will included my portfolio among other items. As of right now I have the homepage and blog portion completed. I just have to finish up on four more pages and it will be revealed to all.
All of that has lead to one thing, graduation. My school is based in Winter Park Florida so that meant I would have to take a vacation. I know, Florida is so horrible this time of year, (playful sarcasm) but I can’t miss my own graduation. The excitement of it was becoming unbearable as early as last week. As Friday approached the local news station warned of winter weather. I figured it was a crock since this winter in West Michigan has been nothing compared to previous winters. I think it has snowed maybe five or six times and even then it didn’t stay.
Friday morning, or two days ago, I woke up at 3am to get ready for work. I walked outside and it was snowing but not like I had heard. My car was barely covered and I figured my team and I would have an easy day in dispatch followed by an easy drive for my family and I. The Gods and Goddesses of winter must have heard my cocky remarks about the weather and they let us have it! Dispatch was busy with slid-offs and accidents everywhere. We had only so many officers working but we kicked ass like we always do. It also helped that my co-worker Whitney hooked everyone up with some awesome BBQ pulled pork. Although we had good food the powers that be continued to grace us with snow so our eating time was limited.
After kicking ass at work and saying my good-byes I headed home to get the family and head out on our long trip to Florida. After packing the car and getting some last minute items we were off. Our first stop was at the local BK to get some fastfood and my 6 month old daughter Lola was already tired of being in her seat. She was fussing so my wife decided to sit in back to keep her company. It was just what the doctor or Lola ordered and she was good to go. The snow was coming down hard and when we got to Benton Harbor the snow was really bad. White-out conditions and no windshield fluid made it tough but we made it out fine. At one point I couldn’t even tell where the road was.
“You should see this.”
“I don’t want to look.”
I shoved more fries in my mouth as I tried to figure out where the highway was. Luckily the smart folks at the Michigan Department of Transportation decided that rumble strips between lanes would be best. Indeed they were correct because that was the only way I knew I was within my lane. The snow was like this until we passed Indianapolis. After that the roads were clear and I was on a mission to get as far as I could before switching with my wife. Now remember in the beginning I said I woke up at 3am for work. It was almost 3am when we hit Kentucky and I was beginning to wind down. The kids were asleep as well as my wife but when I stopped to put gas in she ended up in the drivers seat. I was relieved and ready for a nap. We took off and I crashed out.
I remember dreaming something crazy and someone was pushing me. I awoke out of a deep sleep and it had been my wife trying to wake me up.
“WHAT’S WRONG!? ARE YOU OK?”
Rebecca looked at me with her eyes half open,
“I don’t think I can make it.”
“How long have I been asleep?”
“An hour or so…I think.”
I laughed and applauded the fact that she took the wheel for me.
“I’m sorry, you know that when it’s dark out I want to sleep.”
“It’s cool, I had a cat nap and I’m ready to go.”
We stopped at the next restarea and I hit the road with a bag of beef jerky and a couple cans of Red Bull. We were making pretty good time and the kids were doing great. The whole trip was pretty easy and I was proud of Lola because she hates her carseat. I don’t know if she just gets bored or if she gets hot but she will pitch a fit. Until this point of the trip she had been fine but the last 2 hours were HELL! She fussed here and there but nothing big. The traffic blew and for whatever reason the people of Florida wait a few minutes after the traffic light has turned green to take off. I mean, geez people! Punch the gas already! We were all getting hot and ready to be done. The very last leg of the trip was where Lola had had it. She definitely let us know where to put it in baby talk and when we finally reached our destination I wanted to kiss the grass and roll around in it.
It was a good trip overall but man that last part about killed us. I would like to thank the excellent people of Combos, Jack Links Beef Jerky, and Red Bull. Without your contributions to society I would have not made this long trip on minimal sleep. Thank you to my family for hanging in there and we left on Friday at 7pm and arrived Saturday in Florida at 5pm. Despite everything that attempted to hold us back we pushed forward and that’s how you go from Michigan to Florida in 22 hours.Post Views: 505