A look into the very real RFID agenda ensnaring the earth
Part 3a: A chip on the shoulder of past U.S. politics
In the previous pieces I have discussed international organizations calling for and implementing RFID infrastructures through out the world. We have met some influential players and have gotten a glimpse of the scope of potential users of this technology. In this piece I thought I would bring the subject a little closer to home for Americans and discuss varying roles of U.S. politicians and offices in this agenda. It can not be claimed that the role of this agenda in the affairs of the United States was started by the current administration. As it has been helped and, in some cases, trumpeted by the administration of George W. Bush. One example can be shown in the actions of Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services
in the George W. Bush administration. During his time as Secretary, Thompson introduced programs that strengthened the influence of government agencies such as the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics
(NCVHS) and subsidiaries such asOffice of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
With both of these groups falling under the DHHS umbrella, it must be understood that the sole purpose of both groups is creation of a world wide system of information integration within the health care industry. This can be witnessed within goals and proposals from NCVHS. One such proposal reads as follows: "It should be formally designated as the official body for obtaining public advice, assistance and approval for the development and promulgation of terms, basic data sets, classifications, and guidelines for national and international use. All Western countries have such a body, and it is this group through which we 'legitimize' common approaches to health statistics at home and cooperate with the World Health Organization and other countries so that international comparisons of health needs, services, demands, and outcomes can be made." It should be noted that this recommendation has been followed, as NCVHS now collects and shares these pieces of data with the WHO in a move toward information standardization
globally. With that in mind lets take a look at another recommendation from the same source which has yet to be implemented: "The Committee (NCVHS) has spoken out for many years on the need for a unique health identifier, while also stressing security and confidentiality protections as a precondition." http://ncvhs.hhs.gov/50history.htm
To properly understand what NCVHS means by 'unique health identifier', we must look to ONCHIT and their recommendations concerning such. Among the Health Information Technology(HIT) goals set by the office we see: "A nation-wide utility that allows secure and seamless health information exchange, capitalized by public and private investment and operated by private organizations". This nation-wide utility is specifically mentioned as a RFID infrastructure by the Health Information Technology (HIT) Policy Committee
. While the 'unique health identifier' desired is mentioned as an individually assigned RFID chip for identification. These goals would set the pace for what the 2009 Healthcare Reform Bill
would identify as the information infrastructure that the bill was looking to create. This legislation references these goals and suggestions of ONCHIT and NCVHS by name a multitude of times in conjunction with new streams of data and committees that the bill was looking to create. It should also come as little surprise to readers that these goals directly reflect the healthcare standards supported by GS1, a United Nations not for profit organization covered in Part 1 of this series.
After working to synchronize these offices with DHHS, Thompson would leave office to become a board member for Verichip Corporation
. His time with the company can be categorized by the developments that were made by the company in the healthcare sector, specifically leading to what is now known as the Verimed
system. It has also been speculated that Thompson helped influence the FDA's approval
of the technology. After Thompson's departure from Verichip, he would go on to become a partner atAkin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, & Feld
, the nations leading lobbying and government contract firm. Through Akin Gump, Thompson has continued to work on behalf of Verichip, in the form oflobbying
and negotiating contracts
with various government entities. One could nearly write a book on all the ways Thompson alone has helped advance the RFID agenda. As such, I will be coming back to him periodically as the information fits into my articles.
In Part 1, I discussed how GS1 was working toward creation of a RFID infrastructure that would integrate healthcare, retail, shipping, and all other forms of business into a single global system. Following in the footsteps of GS1, another example of RFID promotion by the previous administration comes in the form of the Transatlantic Economic Council
(TEC). This initiative of the United States and European Union was launched in 2007 when President Bush, Angela Merkel, and Jose Manuel Barrosso signed Framework for Advancing Transatlantic Economic Integration Between the United States of America and the European Union
. This framework
is exactly what it's name suggests, as here we see TEC has laid the ground work for complete economic integration between the EU and the US. One of the key elements of this integration is the implementation of a interoperable RFID infrastructure
. The Transatlantic Traceability Infrastructure Project (TTIP) of GS1, which you can read about in part 1, is also a key project of TEC. Since 2007 TEC has advanced many other sub projects working to create one market, with one way of doing business. The end goal which can be seen in the framework, is a completely integrated global economy with a RFID infrastructure at its core. I will cover more of these projects in the near future, as they pertain to other subjects which I will be covering, including the debate over smart cards versus direct implantation of RFID technology.
Now that we see how the previous administration has helped lay this foundation, we can move forward in the next piece and explore connections within the current administration to this agenda. We will see personal connections to not only RFID developers, but to the cashless society discussed in Part 2 and it's financial arm of microcredit. Some of these connections will be personal, some will be business associations which led to the election of our current president. It is my hope that by the end of the next article, readers will have a better understanding of the agenda unfolding in front of them and why there is such a heavy push to pass legislation concerning healthcare, jobs, and green technologies. As the next piece will show this administrations purpose is to serve the desires of those behind this agenda, and not that of the American people.