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FDA approves computer chip for humans

Discussion in 'News' started by misteraven, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. misteraven

    misteraven Administrator

    Joined: May 7, 1999 Messages: 9,006 Likes Received: 415

    The Associated Press
    Updated: 6:38 p.m. ET Oct. 13, 2004

    WASHINGTON - Medical milestone or privacy invasion? A tiny computer chip approved Wednesday for implantation in a patient’s arm can speed vital information about a patient’s medical history to doctors and hospitals. But critics warn that it could open new ways to imperil the confidentiality of medical records.

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

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

    Think UPC code. The identifier, emblazoned on a food item, brings up its name and price on the cashier’s screen.

    Chip's dual uses raise alarm
    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, the health providers can unlock that portion of a secure database that holds that person’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 dual use for tracking people’s movements — as well as speeding delivery of their medical information to emergency rooms — has raised alarm.

    “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.

    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, Stewart said.

    An information technology guru at Detroit Medical Center, however, sees the benefits of the devices and 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.

    'Part of the future of medicine'
    As “medically mobile” patients visit specialists for care, their records fragment on computer systems that don’t talk to each other.

    “It’s part of the future of medicine to have these kinds of technologies that make life simpler for the patient,” Ellis said. Pushing for the strongest encryption algorithms to ensure hackers can’t nab medical data as information transfers from chip to reader to secure database, will help address privacy concerns, he said.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 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.”

    Applied Digital gave away scanners to a few hundred animal shelters and veterinary clinics when it first entered the pet market 15 years ago. Now, 50,000 such scanners have been sold.

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

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

    Fulcher could not say whether the cost of data storage and encrypted transmission of medical information would be passed to providers.

    Because the VeriChip is invisible, it’s also unclear how health care workers would know which unconscious patients to scan. Company officials say if the chip use becomes routine, scanning triceps for hidden chips would become second nature at hospitals.

    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. If the procedure proves as popular for use in humans as in pets, that could mean up to 1 million chips implanted in people. So far, just 1,000 people across the globe have had the devices implanted, very few of them in the United States.

    The company’s chief executive officer, Scott R. Silverman, is one of a half dozen executives who had chips implanted. Silverman said chips implanted for medical uses could also be used for security purposes, like tracking employee movement through nuclear power plants.

    Such security uses are rare in the United States.

    Meanwhile, the chip has been used for pure whimsy: Club hoppers in Barcelona, Spain, now use the microchip to enter a VIP area and, through links to a different database, speed payment much like a smartcard.

  2. <KEY3>

    <KEY3> Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 24, 2004 Messages: 6,878 Likes Received: 2
    so is there's a 'Chip Friendly' version on 12oz in the works?

    They (the medical community) has been implanting chips and
    locating devices in animals for years. Most house pets these days
    have id chip and most wild bears have tracking devices. If Ranger Rick
    can track Yogi across a state park, I'm sure the federali can get our
    position in a busy city.

  3. Poop Man Bob

    Poop Man Bob Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Nov 16, 2000 Messages: 10,259 Likes Received: 18
    Great. This will shortly be followed by numerous IMs from my conspiracy-loving "friend" that I used to know in high school, linking me to Alex Jones' articles and rants on the state of the nation. Great. Grand. Wonderful.
  4. Herbivore

    Herbivore Senior Member

    Joined: Oct 12, 2004 Messages: 1,431 Likes Received: 1
    i love the fact that club hoppers in Barcelona have gotten so fed up with the process of carrying money around that they have opted to have something implanted under their skin. we all know how annoying it is to have that cumbersome paper in our pockets.

    KING BLING Guest

    Would I get the chip?

    Could it, on a very restricted level do some good?

    Obsta Principlis - resist the beginnings
  6. 23578

    23578 Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 2, 2000 Messages: 2,521 Likes Received: 0
    The only thing surprising about this whole thing is that they are charging for them and not forcing us to get them. Hell, one state is going to put them in their drivers' liscences.
  7. Cracked Ass

    Cracked Ass Veteran Member

    Joined: Oct 24, 2001 Messages: 7,898 Likes Received: 47
    The beginning of the end. There are already many cops in Mexico with implanted chips that are not medical in nature at all.
  8. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    i'm not afraid of technology.
    for people with extensive and detailed medical histories, this could be great.
    my mom's medical file is about ten feet thick.
    it would do a lot of good to be able to carry all that information around with her easily.
    you would not believe how hard it is to get data transmitted from one doctor to another.
    doctors and hospitals also never ever wanna give out their records, even to the patient themself!
    i know, i've experienced this.
    it was only slightly easier for me because i work in a hospital.
    you also have to pay to have your records released, and often to have them transported, plus the time it takes for that to happen.

    sure there are gonna be drawbacks, there always are.
    but i'm down to make the transition to paperless for most things.
    implantations don't bother me too much eaither, considering the pointless reasons people get implants now.

    my coworker's roommate got butt implants last year.
    and they don't have any information in them

  9. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,130 Likes Received: 66
    The militia movement has been bitching to high heaven about this since the early 1990's. There is a big possibility that criminals, sex offenders, mentally ill people, etc. will eventually begin receiving these chips. They will never "force" people to take them. It will be like the courtesy cards at grocery stores. You can pay full price for lettuce, or you can use your courtesy card and get a 15% discount. Giving the grocery store chain your name and personnal information about how often you shop and buy lettuce seems a small price to pay to get that 15%.

    So, pay a $25 co-pay at your HMO doctor's office, or "get the chip" and pay $5. Easy choice, for 90% of Americans. From that moment on, you are IN THE SYSTEM FOR KEEPS.
  10. !@#$%

    [email protected]#$% Moderator Crew

    Joined: Oct 1, 2002 Messages: 18,517 Likes Received: 623
    many modern inventions were viewed with fear and contempt when they first stepped on the scene

    anyone with a social security number is "in the system for keeps"

    and, i don't think my mom is to worried about shit like that
    the poor thing just wants adequate medical care.

    people who don't understand the benefits suddenly will if they develop a chronic disease.
  11. DripOfAWish

    DripOfAWish Member

    Joined: Apr 16, 2003 Messages: 277 Likes Received: 0
  12. DripOfAWish

    DripOfAWish Member

    Joined: Apr 16, 2003 Messages: 277 Likes Received: 0
    i wouldn't let anyone give me another method of tracking me, even if initially intended for one specific use. just remember that your SSN was intended for the sole purpose of your SS account with the US government. now it's mandatory to have one if you want to work, go to school, or, hmmph...go to the doctor.
  13. fatalist

    fatalist Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Mar 10, 2004 Messages: 6,354 Likes Received: 25
    The whole idea of invasive computing is both fascinating and frightening. The possibilities could be unlimited. Imagine having your house learn your preferences, so when you walk into a room, the room can automatically adjust it's temp to your liking? Or being able to communicate with your pc at home from work. But think about how bad things can go if something isn't working properly. Or worse yet, hackers...

    There's been work surrounding this field for a while, both invasive (computing within your body) and non-invasive (for example, having the chips implanted in your clothing). Very interesting to say the least.

    but i wouldn't do it...
  14. SteveAustin

    SteveAustin Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 12, 2002 Messages: 7,042 Likes Received: 2
    like most everything in the world today this can be good or bad depending on your view of it and how its used.

    as a means to provide medical information...this is one of the greatest ideas to come around. this will undoubtedly save many, many lives.

    technically, yes it could be used by the government or any other agency to track people. but the honest truth here is that they really don't need it. most citizens have already offered up a voluntary invasion of privacy. cell phones, credit cards, grocery cards and bank cards all basically allow the authorities to figure out where someone is. I don't know all that many people that can claim they don't have 1 or more of those items.
  15. KaBar2

    KaBar2 Senior Member

    Joined: Jun 27, 2003 Messages: 2,130 Likes Received: 66
    Steve Austin---You are 100% correct, and this is why there are a lot of people who go to great lengths to avoid any of the things that you listed. I have a bunch of friends who are tramps who have NO Driver's License, NO Social Security Card, NO cell phone, NO bank account, etc., etc. I know some militia types who are almost that extreme, but more from a principled stand because of their understanding of what the Constitution says. They do not believe that the Government has the right to require them to get a Driver's License, for instance, or insurance, or licence plates and registration for their vehicles. They think that the Government is regulating a great number of things that it has absolutely no right to regulate.

    When I saw "Enemy of the State," I went with some friends from the militia. They did not see anything futuristic about that film. As far as they are concerned, that situation with video cameras and computers, etc. exists RIGHT NOW. Their only complaint was that the filmmakers did the movie-going public a disservice by making the protagonist a black man, because it turned the struggle into another black-guy-against-the-evil-white-people story. From the viewpoint of the militia, the "intelligence community" is completely out of control and power mad ALREADY.

    They felt the same way about the movie "Conspiracy Theory." By having him play the taxi driver as a wacky nut case, it was just a way of slapping the conspiracy people in the face, of disrespecting them, EVEN THOUGH they have uncovered the foundations of some very secret conspiracies--the Kennedy assassination, the King assassination, the Waco Massacre, the Oklahoma City bombing, and so forth.

    I don't think these movies were made just by happenstance. I don't think Hollywood does anything except for a very deliberate reason. But, like many of you, I cannot understand why the American people are so apathetic about what's going on around them, except I see it from a completely different perspective.
    Use your brain. Come to your own conclusions. Think for yourself.