[EPIC_IDOF] FW: Tommy Thompson Puts off RFID Implant

Richard M. Smith rms at computerbytesman.com
Tue Dec 6 05:44:58 PST 2005


-----Original Message-----
From: Katherine Albrecht [mailto:kma at nocards.org]
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 4:09 PM
To: press at nocards.org
Subject: Tommy Thompson Puts off RFID Implant

Chipped Despite July Promise

Ex-Bush cabinet member Tommy Thompson still hasn't received an RFID
despite a televised promise he made in July 2005 to do so.
Shortly after joining the board of VeriChip Corporation last spring, the
former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and four-term
governor of
Wisconsin told CNBC that he would "get chipped" with a VeriChip
implant, but
he has no plans to undergo the procedure anytime soon, according to

The VeriChip is a glass-encapsulated RFID device designed to be injected
into human flesh for identification purposes and for use as a payment

In public appearances, Thompson has suggested injecting the
microchips into
Americans to link to their electronic medical records. "It's very
and it's going to be extremely helpful and it's a giant step forward to
getting what we call an electronic medical record for all Americans," he
told CBS MarketWatch in July.

When confronted by a CNBC correspondent in another July interview about
whether he would take a chip himself, Thompson replied, "Absolutely,
a doubt."

However, when authors Liz McIntyre and Katherine Albrecht, who
human chipping for their book "Spychips: How Major Corporations and
Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID,"
contacted the VeriChip Corporation on December 5, they were told that
chipping never took place.

VeriChip spokesman John Procter said Thompson has been "too busy" to
the chipping procedure, adding that he had no clear plans to do so in
future. "I wouldn't put any type of time line on it," Procter said.

The VeriChip spokesman also attributed the protracted delay in the
to Thompson's desire to investigate the procedure. "He wants to see
it [the
VeriChip] in a real-world environment first," said Procter, who said
trying to arrange a tour for Thompson at Hackensack University Medical
Center, the first hospital to implement the technology in its emergency

But the authors question this explanation. "We would expect Mr.
Thompson to
investigate the device *before* advocating it to others," said Liz
"It sounds like he has wisely decided to put off the implantation,
due to the serious privacy and civil liberties implications of such
or perhaps due to the serious medical downsides, like electrical
risks and
MRI incompatibility."

Albrecht added, "Perhaps the implants conflict with Thompson's religious
beliefs. Whatever his reasons, he should share them with the American
people, many of whom have loved and trusted him for years. He will be
responsible if they take an implant because of his influence."

Thompson may find himself under increasing pressure to get chipped in
of VeriChip Corporation's recent IPO announcement. The company is
relying on
Thompson's cooperation to give the much maligned human tracking chip an
image boost. "He said it on live television," said Procter of Thompson's
chipping intentions. "We look forward to setting a firm date in
to his schedule and other commitments....We want to maximize the
impact of
[Thompson's chipping] event...We'd certainly like to...really knock
it out
of the park."

McIntyre is hoping that Thompson will resist the pressure. "Our
concern is
that the VeriChip Company would like to chip every person on the
planet, and
they're counting on Thompson to be their ticket to mass acceptance,"
McIntyre. "We're hoping he will work for the best interests of
humanity and
refuse to be goaded into an ill advised action."

According to Procter, only about 60 living persons in the U.S. have
to be chipped. In addition to the voluntary recipients, the company's
implants were injected into the deceased victims of hurricane
Katrina, and
there are plans to chip mentally disabled patients at a residential
in Chattanooga. VeriChip has also had talks with the Pentagon about
military personnel, though Procter said that "no formal agreements
have been

A transcript of Thompson's entire CBS MarketWatch interview is
available at


For more information contact Katherine Albrecht or Liz McIntyre, co-
of "Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track
Your Every
Move With RFID."

Liz McIntyre (liz at spychips.com) 877-287-5854

or Katherine Albrecht (kma at spychips.com) 877-287-5854

Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track your Every
Move with RFID is the winner of the Lysander Spooner Award for
Advancing the
Literature of Liberty. Authored by Harvard doctoral researcher Katherine
Albrecht and former bank examiner Liz McIntyre, the book is meticulously
researched, drawing on patent documents, corporate source materials,
conference proceedings, and firsthand interviews to paint a
convincing --
and frightening -- picture of the threat posed by RFID.

"This is the first, and maybe the loudest, popular book on a crucial
technology of our times...all of it is fascinating, some is gross and
revolting, and most of it is hilarious...this is a masterpiece of

-- From the foreword by Bruce Sterling, best-selling author and RFID
"Visionary in Residence," Art Center College of Design

Spychips "make[s] a stunningly powerful argument against plans for RFID
being mapped out by government agencies, retail and manufacturing

--Evan Schuman, CIO Insight

"The book makes a very persuasive case that some of America's biggest
companies want to embed tracking technology into virtually everything we
own, and then study our usage patterns 24 hours a day. It's a truly
book and well worth reading."

--Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe technology reporter

"Spychips is one of the best privacy books in many years....The privacy
movement needs a book. I nominate Spychips."

- Marc Rotenberg, Georgetown University Adjunct Professor of Law and
Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)


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