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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Medical Microchips

This scares the living you-know-what out of me:

WASHINGTON (AP) - 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.


"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.
This is one of those technological advances that will surely save lives. Unfortunately it also moves us closer to some crazy 1984-type scenario. The thing is that it's not all that crazy. Who would have thought 50 years ago that we would be installing camera systems, monitored by computer, in major US cities. Or...who would have thought 150 years ago that someday the government would make it a crime to not register your gun?

The point is that we move along in society towards more and more restriction and invasion of privacy. Now we've got this great new tool that will allow doctors to obtain vital (and don't worry, they say...only vital) medical information from a nameless, unconscious patient. However, I guarantee that if/when this sort of thing becomes widespread we will simply come to accept the initial level of information available and eventually acquiesce to more information (but, of course, vital info) being made available in this way. And what, might I ask, is to keep these chips from being fitted with a transmitter that would allow you to be tracked. Of course, this feature would only be activated if you were missing in the wilderness, of course. And who could say no to a safety device that just might save you life?

At this point I'm sure many people have stopped reading this post, condemning me as some sort of anti-technology, conspiracy nutjob. I suppose it's possible that I tend to overreact to these sorts of these things. It's just that I wonder where we're headed. The amount of attention that the majority of our citizens appear to pay to things other than their own entertainment does not give me much hope that people will even realize what's going on, let alone draw a line in the sand and help keep themselves free.


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