California Blocks Mandatory ID Implants in Employees
September 3, 2007 8:44 PM
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
's slogan is "RFID for people." The company grabbed headlines in October 2004 when it gained
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
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
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.
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
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.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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