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California's state Senate curbs a high-tech societal dilemma by making it illegal for employers to require ID chips implanted in their employees

Radio Frequency ID chip-maker VeriChip's slogan is "RFID for people."  The company grabbed headlines in October 2004 when it  gained FDA approval for its subdermal RFID implant.  The RFID chip measured in at 12 mm by 2.1 mm and allowed implantees to be identified and tracked using broadcast radio identification.

The chips are marketed for everything from medical tracking and identification, to security applications.

Last year, the Cincinnati based video-surveillance firm, mandated any employee that worked in its secure data center to get implanted with one of VeriChip's implants.  Two of its employees received the implants. 

Also, last year, blog RFID Lowdown reported that Hackensack University Medical Center, in Hackensack, New Jersey nominated patients for a study on the usefulness of these implants. These potential implantees suffer from chronic conditions like heart disease, epilepsy and diabetes.  Patients with these conditions will be placed a two-year program that will test "personal health record modules" inserted just beneath their skin.

Enormous controversy was generated by these moves, because the concept of employer required implants, or the possibility of involuntary medical implanting was seen by many as a dangerous high-tech invasion of privacy.  Also, concerns of the security of these devices’s information were also raised, as RFID chips have been publically compromised.

In response to these concerns the state of Wisconsin recently passed a bill that banned anyone, including the employers and the government, from implanting RFID chips in anyone without consent.

The LA Times reports that the California State Senate has passed a bill that goes one step farther, by banning employers from requiring employees to receive implants.  Nine senators voted against the bill, including Bob Margett (R-Arcadia), who is quoted by the Times as saying it was premature to regulate technology that has not yet proved to be a problem.

"It sounded like it was a solution looking for a problem, it didn't seem like it was necessary," Margett is quoted as saying.

An observation on both bills is that neither explicitly bans employers from asking their employees to voluntarily get implants.  Neither bill bans employers from rewarding employees who get voluntarily implanted.

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RE: Implant in Child?
By Lord 666 on 9/4/2007 12:18:46 AM , Rating: 0
The implanted chip would be effective for both children and convicted sex offenders. As conditions of release, sex offenders should be RFID tagged. Removal of the tag or tampering should be considered violations of release.

I have previously expressed this view on Dailytech as well.

RE: Implant in Child?
By Zelvek on 9/4/2007 1:58:08 AM , Rating: 2
I think all of you are a little mixed up on how these implants work you cant track anyone who is any great distance from you. This chips are not like GPS or anything that sophisticated I have yet to hear of them exceeding a range of 500M.

You might say if authority's had an area narrowed down they could search it much faster. However half a kilometer is the max distance in lab conditions. With all the EMI and RFI of the real world and the further possibility that the chip is being shielded or has been destroyed... RFID tags are not likely to make a huge difference just yet.

RE: Implant in Child?
By Lord 666 on 9/4/2007 2:29:34 AM , Rating: 1
Not mixed up at all. Via the use of cellphone towers, a person's position can be triangulated.

Instead of keeping the tracking chip in the cellphone that can be easily smashed or dunked in water, it can be implanted.

RE: Implant in Child?
By smitty3268 on 9/4/2007 5:13:05 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, RFID doesn't work that way. Mostly because you can't stick a huge battery into it that gets recharged every night. Unless they're withing a couple feet of the cellphone tower, there just isn't any way to detect it.

At least not yet, who knows what the technology will be like in 10 years.

RE: Implant in Child?
By SilthDraeth on 9/4/2007 10:12:07 AM , Rating: 3
You keep expressing this view that we can magically track RFID from cell towers, and people keep countering you, and yet you persist?

Cell phones are powered by batteries and transmit at a much greater power than an RFID chip.

The way the use them to track lost dogs, is when a dog gets turned into the pound, it is scanned at close range, and then they have the information. You can't just simply scan an entire city block, or state for a specific RFID number and triangulate its location within meters.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

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