Monday, March 20, 2006

Patient-Data Chips vs. Privacy

Use of Implanted Patient-Data Chips Stirs Debate on Medicine vs. Privacy according to this Washington Post from March 15. The report, by Rob Stein, discusses the use of the RFID chips in two Alzheimers patients, who seem to be the first target of Verichip, a company marketing their RFID technology agressively to hospitals.

While they have very few takers of implanted chips, which up until recently were used only in animals, they are convincing dozens of hospitals to accept their chip readers free and training doctors to implant them in humans.

Lining up in opposition to implantable RFID chips are the Health Privacy Project, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and privacy advocates. Those in support of RFID tagged humans are security firms, RFID manufacturers, the Mexican government - which has tagged several mexican politicians in a move to protect them from kidnapping and ransom demands.

There appear to be no built-in protections in the chips stopping anyone with a reader from scanning the information contained in them, but the manufacturer claims that access to a secure website is required to see data from tagged individuals. All that is required is a password and username and those can be hacked or accessed via pretexting.

Abuses are bound to emerge as more Alzheimers patients are RFID tagged with verichip implants. Abuses appear to be necessary to arouse the concern of most Americans.

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posted by RealitySEO at 10:44 AM


Blogger Phillip Beynon said...

"There appear to be no built-in protections in the chips stopping anyone with a reader from scanning the information contained in them"

Philips HITAG chips have encription and are writable so th key can be changed every time the chip is read. VeriChip has been hacked. I'm not ok with storing sensative information on these chips. I have in implanted chip which holds a "unique" number. Using it to gain access is contingent on access to a databace of allowed numbers. Once this technology becomes more predominant, I'll upgrade to the philips chip to satisfy security concerns.

Phillip Beynon

7:51 PM  
Blogger SEOptimism said...


As a fellow technology enthusiast, I'm actually interested in personal uses of RFID such as those you are experimenting with. Yours is controlled by you and means nothing to the DMV or the TSA or anyone who might read it, only to see that unique number your chip holds.

It sounds cool to control your computer and your stereo with it and I'd love being able to unlock my car and home with a personal RFID chip.

The concern over privacy comes from tags that carry readable, unencypted information, stored in a database tied to extensive personal data, accessible to substantial numbers of people and vulnerable to hacking, cloning and theft.

It's cool to hear from you though and I would love to stay in touch and hear about upgrades to the Philips chip and further uses you find for the chip implant.

9:44 PM  
Blogger phillipbeynon said...

Like US passports which store the key on the card for example. Your fears are well founded.
My email is mail at phillipbeynon dot com

10:18 PM  

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