Tagging Cadavers?

February 09, 2005

Wired News discusses a possible future use of RFID tags to combat theft of body parts donated to science (this is 2005!): Body ID: Barcodes for Cadavers (via Jarle):

Officials are [...] considering putting barcodes or radio frequency devices in cadavers that could be read by someone walking past the body with a handheld device. Radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags already are used by cars passing through automated toll plazas. UC officials said that they are still working out the details but that any body parts that became separated from the corpse would probably be tagged, too.

Dr. Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said he has never heard of such devices being used to keep track of cadavers. He said a determined thief might be able to remove a barcode, and he warned that the new equipment has to be backed up by human oversight.

"Most of this illicit trade in body parts is done by bad guys," he said. "Having the barcoded chips is great, but if you want to beat them you need to have someone come in occasionally and say, `I'm doing an audit.'"
Never has the statement "Over my dead body!" been more to the point for implanted RFID chips ;-)

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