Human-Chip Company Plans IPO
"While the NAIS remains voluntary on a federal level, and there is no formal people identification system as yet, both executives are moving aggressively to position their companies for the day when chips in animals and people are the norm rather than the exception. Mary Zanoni, a lawyer and critic of NAIS who has written extensively about the system, says that "the microchipping of livestock and pet animals is intended to make tagging more acceptable in helping these companies market their devices for people."
I've mentioned that animal ID plan here before. How it's planned that all farm animals will soon require an implanted microchip that will allow the government to track each animal whenever it leaves your property. This is under the guise of preventing bird flu and/or other possible pandemics. Now, Business Week magazine comes out and tells us that this is really simply a prelude to using the same technology on people.
The plan is that these will help people with health problems, dementia patients, etc. so that in an emergency they can wear an implanted chip that matches a number in a database and provides the hospital with vital health records. That sounds reasonable, but there is always a next step.
Business May Compel Chip WearingI don't know about you, but I'd rather wear a medic alert bracelet than have an ID chip surgically implanted in my right forearm! Read the article here
"Of course, no discussion of these cousin companies would be complete without addressing the privacy concerns many people have about being tagged. Both McGrath and Silverman say their companies protect privacy by limiting data stored on the chips for both farm animals and people to identification numbers only, which are extracted via special scanners and then matched to records in databases.
McGrath also says he appreciates the concerns many small farmers have about the potential infringement on their privacy that NAIS represents. "You're dealing with people who are intensely independent," he says. "They don't like people looking over their shoulders."
Silverman says: "We are leaders in the RFID industry in facing privacy issues head on." The chip for people "should always be a voluntary product, with opt-in and opt-out capability."
As comforting as such statements appear, it's important to remember that adoption of the RFID chips doesn't necessarily need to be legislated to become nearly universal. If enough hospitals and insurance companies begin requiring them, or treating patients wearing them more expeditiously than nonusers, or providing discounts for usage of the chips, they well could become the norm. Then, not wearing a chip might be akin to not having a bank ATM card or, increasingly in Eastern states with toll roads and turnpikes, not having a transponder to pay tolls in your car (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/9/06"