Inside the Australian Government's Scary Web Site on Microchip ID Implants

Last Updated May 13, 2010 3:08 PM EDT

If the Australian government really doesn't want to implant its citizens with PositiveID (PSID) microchips, it sure isn't helping itself with its Web page dedicated to a "literature review" of different patient identification technologies, including VeriChip, "palm vein scanning," radio frequency identification, and other dystopian sci-fi ideas.

While the New South Wales Department of Health Web page is ostensibly a reference point for officials who want to reduce medical errors caused by patient mixups, it looks pretty scary if you're someone who thinks that society is heading toward a Minority Report-style dictatorship in which everyone carries a compulsory microchip implant. And there are lots of those people.

Managers ought to be aware that transparency has a flip side: The same information can look mighty different when viewed by unintended audiences.

Australia is in the middle of a healthcare reform, and a central plank of those changes is the introduction of a "personally controlled electronic health record system," or e-Health scheme, that gives each Australian a 16-digit ID number. By unfortunate coincidence, PositiveID's VeriChip device also relies on a 16-digit system, and its Health Link medical records product sounds exactly like the online database Australia is creating.

So, paranoid Americans who believe President Obama wants to introduce a socialist World Government that controls its subjects via RFID chips just caught a lucky break: Australia is giving us all a sneak preview.