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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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Invasion of the RFID Snatchers
By teckytech9 on 9/4/2007 12:45:55 PM , Rating: 2
I give California some kudos for leading the way to stop this RFID implant issue.
I once saw Arnold in a Hollywood movie, "Total Recall," where he pries the bug out
once and for good.

Indeed, forcing mandatory RFID implants on anyone human, other than a robot,
would be inhumane treatment in the first degree. The main issue is that
Big Brother seems to need all the tools in its arsenal to fill electronic databases on every member it deems necessary.

Truth is, the real threat to privacy will be an all seeing eye in the sky, much like imbedding everything with biometrics/cameras that grow and spawn everywhere to feed, and collect this data everywhere.

What is a cell phone other than an external device, which could be used to
track its location and its owner? Security cams, Web cams, CCTV, Traffic cams,
etc, are just the beginning. George Orwell was right.

I once read a study where an RFID chip was placed on employees’ ID badges for
about 50+ employees. In about a few weeks, nobody wore them all the time, and resorted
to placing the badges inside their workstations. It's just human nature since they were
probably too embarrassed to have their time spent logged in some database when they
needed to use the restroom (i.e. WC, Toilet, Commode...) Now where will the next cameras
be installed?

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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