Abra Cadavera – a New Use for RFIDs

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Not content just to install RFIDs into your car or insert RFIDs in your passport, the newest item which is the target of the RFID craze is human cadavers.

Troubled by a rash of “now you see it, now you don’t” tricks with human body parts, and indeed entire cadavers, both of for which there is a large black market (hey, we’ve all read “Coma”, right?… or, for that matter, browsed eBay), and following both lawsuits and scandals involving misplaced, miscremated, and misappropriated bodies and parts, officials at UCLA’s medical school are considering several reforms, including inserting RFIDs into the cadavers.


According to Dr. Todd Olson, Director of Anatomical Donations (now there’s a position Aunty might like) at New York’s Albert Einstein Medical School, “There’s more regulations that cover a shipment of oranges coming into California than there is a shipment of human knees that are going from a body parts broker in one state to Las Vegas.”

Aunty’s not sure what role Las Vegas plays in all this, but apparently all the praying at the craps table is hard on the knees.

Of the program to use RFIDs on cadavers at UCLA, officials say that “they are still working out the details but that any body parts that became separated from the corpse would probably be tagged, too.”

That’s comforting.

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Dr. Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at UPenn, opined that a mortuary marauder might just perform an RFIDectomy, and that the technology would have to be “backed up by human oversight”.

Seems to Aunty that it was the human oversight endemic at UCLA which lead to this problem in the first place.

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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