by Mike Masnick

Former Health Secretary Having Second Thoughts On Getting Chipped?

from the seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time dept

There's a crowd of folks who are extremely anti-RFID chips. They often raise important privacy issues, but they tend to go a bit overboard in their stance in that they rarely offer any kind of solution to RFID chips other than to ban them all completely. That's the wrong approach, since RFIDs can have real value, and many of the downsides can be solved with technology. However, if there's one company in the space that seems worth being extra skeptical about, it's Applied Digital, the makers of the VeriChip -- an implantable RFID chip. We've written about their history before. They repeatedly lied about FDA approval of the device, had trouble filing tax returns and even (my favorite) tried to sue a company they owed money to after missing a payment. So, it seems reasonable to be extra cautious about what the company says. We were quite surprised, in fact, to hear earlier this year that former Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson agreed, not only to be on their board, but also to get chipped himself. Turns out, though, that he might not have really meant it. It's been some time, and Secretary Thompson hasn't convinced himself to go through with the implant -- as he's apparently become a bit concerned about the whole thing. The company alternatively claims he's "too busy" to get chipped or that he "wants to see it [the VeriChip] in a real-world environment first." You mean he didn't check it out before agreeing to be on the board and to get one himself? Apparently, this story is getting a bit more attention now that the company is going to go public -- despite having a grand total of 60 people who have agreed to become chipped.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Andrew Strasser, Dec 8th, 2005 @ 12:10pm

    You're saying he doesn't already have a chip?

    Doubtful that there is not some form of good tracking device implanted in him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Andrew Strasser, Dec 8th, 2005 @ 12:14pm

    Re: You're saying he doesn't already have a chip?

    However, I would like to say I'd rather wait for an upgraded version that has a computer interface. Wonder what the RF factor is on these things and how it compares to cell phones causing cancer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Stirling Westrup, Dec 8th, 2005 @ 12:56pm

    RFID ownership.

    I wrote a long article for my blog a few years back in which I stated that the whole problem is one of who owns the RFID tags. After an item is purchased, it should no longer respond to queries from anyone but the owner of the item. Until RFID tags incorporate the features I mention in that article, there are going to be security concerns.

    For those interested, the article can be found here:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    PJ, Dec 8th, 2005 @ 1:06pm

    No Subject Given

    They should partner with Pringles and build antennas too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    B, Sep 10th, 2007 @ 1:54pm

    RFID Chipcs don't emit RF on their own

    It only reacts to being scanned by an RF device. If the labs testing these chips in animals were putting the animals in cages and subjecting them to constant RF energy then it would be safe to assume their bodies are going to have a reaction localized in the region of the implant. The amount of times a person would be scanned in a lifetime could not add up to more than a week at the most. That is given if the chip is used in medical emergencies only. That exposure increases once they chip technology eveolves and everyone starts using them like credit cards it still would not compare to continuous RF exposure. Cell site field technicians see more RF in one day than anyone would care to imagine but there are no studies popping up about these techs. The intensity of the RF exposure in the animal tests were probably off the charts too. If you ask me, poeple are just afraid of the implications of any emerging technology. My advice is buy the stock when it reaches the 52 week low then sit back and watch as this industry booms over the next ten years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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