Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The chip implant is here!

Indonesia is on a controversial path to implant RFID chips in HIV/AIDS patients in order to track, and punish aberrant high-risk candidates who transmit HIV to uninfected people.

John Manansang, one of the proponents of this technique to reduce the incidence of HIV in the Papua provinces, is being compared (by Gizmodo ) to the Nazis when he states, quite directly:
It's a simple technology. A signal from the microchip will track their movements and this will be received by monitoring authorities.
This is an interesting ethical threshold. Voluntary use of RFIDs, e.g., kids at theme-parks, is often endorsed. Medical information tracking has been an application.

GPS tracking is often the choice for non-violent criminals, as they can avoid incarceration by opting for this ignominous limitation. Even Martha Stewart had to settle for home arrest for several months via use of an electronic monitoring bracelet. RFID has been advocated for tracking evidence.

Human rights and privacy advocates refer to the rights to the non-violable body, and the 4th Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures, including bodily intrusions.

There are two questions here - (a) can these HIV patients be treated as criminals (or criminal evidence) who wantonly spread the disease and (b) if they are, is the RFID chip tracking equivalent to the electronic bracelet that Martha had no choice but wear?

Just make it a fashion statement and the problem will be solved! Of course, the chip could give you a tumor!

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