Interfaith Vigil to Protest VeriChipping of Alzheimer's Patients
International consumer group CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) will hold a march and prayer vigil this Saturday to protest a plan to inject VeriChip microchip implants into 200 Alzheimer's Community Care, Inc, patients. The interfaith event will be held outside of the Alzheimer's Community Care facility in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Planners hope the event will enlighten caregivers to the serious medical and societal downsides of the VeriChip and encourage them to rethink using elderly dementia patients as research subjects to test the controversial product.
The VeriChip implant is a glass encapsulated RFID tag that is injected into the flesh to uniquely number and identify people. The tag can be read by radio waves from a few inches away. The device is being marketed as a way to link to medical records, access secure areas, and serve as a payment instrument when associated with a credit card or pre-paid account.
Although the VeriChip Corporation emphasizes that its chip should always be strictly voluntary, many question the ethics of conducting medical research on mentally impaired individuals. Alzheimer's patients cannot understand the risks associated with being microchipped and therefore cannot give fully informed consent. According to the FDA, risks associated with the VeriChip include MRI incompatibility, electrical hazard, and adverse tissue reaction, to name just a few.
"We have an obligation to protect vulnerable members of society from being used as guinea pigs for controversial medical research," said CASPIAN founder and director Dr. Katherine Albrecht. "The vast majority of Americans object to human microchipping, and it is likely these Alzheimer's patients would feel the same way if they could speak for themselves."
Albrecht compared the large-scale chip implantation plans to an assembly line that would render elderly patients scannable "like bar-coded packages of meat," adding that the societal implications of such a move would be chilling.
"Whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Baha'i, or atheist, no one likes the idea of being forcibly tracked and monitored by implantable technology without their express consent," she said.
VeriChip Corporation has been very unsuccessful in its bids to chip humans to date. In fact, only about 250 individuals, most associated with the company in some way, have been chipped since the VeriChip was first brought to market in 2001. The Alzheimer's study would boost that number to over 650, a move possibly designed to help reassure investors in the beleaguered company. VeriChip posted a $3 million loss last quarter, the latest in a steady series of multi-million dollar losses.
For more information, visit http://www.AntiChips.com
CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail surveillance schemes since 1999 and irresponsible RFID use since 2002. With thousands of members in all 50 U.S. states and over 30 countries worldwide, CASPIAN seeks to educate consumers about marketing strategies that invade their privacy and encourage privacy-conscious shopping habits across the retail spectrum.