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VeriChip: “Is Your Confidential Information Safe”

Philosophy 320
February 27, 2013

I was astonished to learn that a microchip which is implanted under the skin of a patient which would then give doctors instant access to a patient’s medical records had won the approval of the Food and Drug Administration back on October 12, 2004. The approval was immediately denounced by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) advocates, who rightfully believed that it could endanger patient privacy and thus be the stepping stone towards a major disaster. In this paper I’ll examine how the fundamental concept of a right to patient privacy could possibly be jeopardized by the chip, from unauthorized users gaining access to one’s confidential medical records to perhaps allowing the tracking of one’s daily activities. Information of this magnitude if in the wrong hands could prove to be disastrous beyond comprehension.

A company in favor of the use of the VeriChip is PositiveID Corporation. This company was formed on November 10, 2009 through the merger of VeriChip and the Steel Vault Corporation. This advanced technology development company was awarded the exclusive rights to distribute the VeriChip, also called a RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification). This implantable microchip transmits a unique code to a scanner which would then allow doctors and hospitals to confirm the patient’s identity and obtain the needed medical information. The premise is quite similar to the scanner that grocery stores have been using for years at the checkout lane. The company maintains their confidence in the security measures they’ve taken according to Scott Silverman, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. The company is taking strict measure to promote compliance and to deter wrongdoing and to...

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