Would you barcode your baby?
Microchip implants have become standard practice for our pets, but have been a tougher sell when it comes to the idea of putting them in people.
The proposal isn’t too far-fetched - it is already technically possible to "barcode" a human - but does it violate our rights to privacy?
Opponents argue that giving up anonymity would cultivate an “Orwellian” society where all citizens can be tracked.
“To have a record of everywhere you go and everything you do would be a frightening thing,” Stanley, senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Daily News.
He warned of a “check-point society” where everyone carries an internal passport and has to show their papers at every turn, he said.There are already, and increasingly, ways to electronically track people. Since 2006, new U.S. passports include radio frequency identification tags (RFID) that store all the information in the passport, plus a digital picture of the owner.
In 2002, an implantable ID chip called VeriChip was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The chip could be implanted in a person's arm, and when scanned, could pull up a 16 digit ID number containing information about the user.
Biotech company MicroCHIPS has developed an implantable chip to deliver medicine to people on schedule and without injection. And technology company BIOPTid has patented a noninvasive method of identification called the “human barcode.”
Advocates say electronic verification could help parents or caregivers keep track of children and the elderly. Chips could be used to easily access medical information, and would make going through security points more convenient, reports say.
But there are also concerns about security breaches by hackers. If computers and social networks are already vulnerable to hacking and identify theft, imagine if someone could get access to your personal ID chip?
Stanley cautioned against throwing the baby out with the bathwater each time someone invents a new gadget.
“We can have security, we can have convenience, and we can have privacy,” he said. “We can have our cake and eat it too.”