31 May Company defends RFID implant product
Madison, Wis. – The parent company of a Florida manufacturer of radio frequency enabled microchips is stressing the voluntary nature of the product following the signing of a bill prohibiting Wisconsin employers and government agencies from requiring them to be implanted.
Silverman, however, did take issue with one aspect of the bill, the lack of an exemption for the guardians of high-risk patients with dementia.
Assembly Bill 290, which will prohibit any entity from requiring an individual to undergo the implanting of a microchip, was signed into law by Gov. Doyle. Violators face fines of up to $10,000.
Its chief sponsor, State Rep. Marlin Schneider, D-Wisconsin Rapids, said the legislation breaks new ground in protecting individual privacy rights.
However, in addition to outlawing forced implantation, AB 290 contains exemptions in cases where the implanting is a condition of criminal sentencing, or if a parent directs implantation in a minor. Silverman, however, said the bill should have included another exemption for the legal guardians of certain high-risk patients, guardians who have been entrusted with making medical decisions for them.
“The exemptions in the bill don’t speak to the most relevant exemption,” he said.
VeriChip, based in Delray Beach, Fla., is the only company to receive federal approval to implant the microchips in humans. Thus far, the company has implanted the chips, which are about the size of a grain of rice, in approximately 2,500 people.
The chips have several applications, but their principle use is of interest to hospitals because they provide healthcare professionals access to patient identification stored in an Internet database.
Former Wisconsin Governor and federal Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, a member of VeriChip’s board of directors, has said he will have the chip implanted as soon as hospitals in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. adopt the technology.
The chips, which are implanted beneath the skin, give off radio frequency signals and also can be used to limit access to secure rooms.
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