Needed: A No-Forced-Chipping Law
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, September 15, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
Since microchips are here to stay, here’s a little history. In 1997 four inventors got a patent for a “personal tracking and recovery system” that was, actually, an implantable microchip that functioned for years without maintenance. In 1998 Professor Kevin Warwick became the first human to have an under-skin microchip implant, which he used as a research project in “intelligent” buildings where he opened doors without a smart card and turned on lights by entering a room. After having the implant in his hand for nine days, he decided future implants should be placed nearer the brain – into the spinal cord or onto the optic nerve, for more power to send and receive sensory signals.
In 2002 a Canadian artist implanted her hands with microchips from a veterinary clinic. Two years later, a Minnesota corporation got an FDA approval and classification for a miniature, implantable microchip to be inserted in a human’s arm under the skin. The VeriChip brand of microchips stores a patient’s unique ID number that medical personnel may use to locate the patient’s file.
So, VeriChip became a by-prescription-only Class II medical device for use in humans, as did generic devices that operate the same way. That classification authorized immediate marketing of VeriChip and generic equivalents for under-skin implantation in humans.Two years later, the FDA listed the potential health risks of VeriChip, such as (a) adverse tissue reaction; (b) chip migration into other parts of the body; (c) compromised data security; (d) failure of a chip or inserter or electronic scanner; (e) electromagnetic interference; (f) electrical hazards; and (g) problems with magnetic imaging. As for security, anyone standing very close to an implanted person can use a microchip reader to clone the chip in a couple of seconds.
Ten years of research from 1996 to 2006 revealed that lab mice and rats injected with microchips sometimes develop cancerous tumors around the microchips.
In 2008 VeriChip was rebranded Health Link and was marketed directly to consumers. For $149 and $9.99 monthly, beginning the second year thereafter, consumers received a microchip implant that stored their unique 16-digit ID number to be scanned remotely. Sixteen South Florida tri-county regional hospitals adopted the Health Link system and by April 2008, 900 East Coast hospitals, that agreed to participate, received chip-reading devices.
In 2007, realizing there may be future unacceptable uses of microchips, California banned employers and others from forcing workers to submit to implants. By 2015 North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin had done the same. Since Georgia has no law to protect individuals or the general population from required or coerced microchip implantation, legislators should pass a no-forced-microchip-implant law in 2018. For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.