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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 CityWatcher.com, 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 rockyct on 9/4/2007 2:00:59 AM , Rating: 2
RFID is not a location tracking type device. It's just a very detailed ID card inside you. Unless there are RFID readers at every street corner, it's not going to help find someone. There are some worthwhile uses for RFID implants, but it's much easier to become a privacy issue because the chips can be scanned without you knowing it.


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