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CA Bill Limits Skin Implantation of RFID Chips 275

Posted by Zonk
from the wasn't-super-worried-but-thanks-just-the-same dept.
twitter writes with a link to a ZDNet blog entry about a piece of legislation submitted to the California state senate. Drafted by Democratic Senator Joe Simitian, its purpose is to ensure that employers cannot require the implantation of RFID chips as part of employment. It is meeting with scorn from the American Electronics Association. "'Our bottom line is we're opposed to anything that demonizes RFIDs,' she said. 'The technology has been in existence for more than 50 years. It's in more than 1.2 billion ID credentials worldwide. ... We've not seen a single showing of ID theft or harm,' said Roxanne Gould, vice president for California government relations for the American Electronics Association, a high-tech industry group."
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CA Bill Limits Skin Implantation of RFID Chips

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:28AM (#19632941)
    Dear Roxanne Goebbels,

    Please, be advised that although the Arabic number system had been in use for centuries without significant bugs or security compromises, the abuse of the Arabic number system in the form of tattooing Arabic numbers onto the wrists of European Jews became problematic.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by binkzz (779594) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:20AM (#19633125) Journal
    There's also a very big difference between choosing to have anything implanted, or being forced to have anything implanted.

    That she wants to dedemonize RFID chips is fine with me, but at the moment she seems to support forced implantations of the chips. It's really only one step away from no longer being able to buy food without an implanted chip under your hand or forehead.
  • by tedivm (942879) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:06AM (#19633555)

    "...We've not seen a single showing of ID theft or harm"
    From Wikipedia:

    In 1948 Léon Theremin invented an espionage tool for the Soviet Union which retransmitted incident radio waves with audio information. Sound waves vibrated a diaphragm which slightly altered the shape of the resonator, which modulated the reflected radio frequency. Even though this device was a passive covert listening device, not an identification tag, it has been attributed as the first known device and a predecessor to RFID technology.
    The next major event in RFID history is in 1973, so either she's an idiot for claiming fifty years of no harm or she's a communist (insert 'in soviet russia' joke here).
  • Re:Why... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lost Engineer (459920) on Monday June 25, 2007 @05:00AM (#19633727)
    Here's as good a summary as I can give. California is really two different places: northern and southern. I live in the middle so I'm neutral. Northern California is full of would-be hippies who would turn us communist if they could. 'Cept we'd be the good, not-failing-at-life kinda communists.

    Southern California is... err mixed if you want to all it that.

    The boon of having the would-be-hippies around is that their inherent suspicion of government helps to limit its power over the worker. The bane is that their philosophies are openly hostile towards commerce, thus preventing desirable transactions from occurring. This does not bother liberals, because transactions, to them, are inherently one-sided, and whomever is getting paid is the loser.

    I propose we start imposing California laws on the rest of America with prop. 187. [wikipedia.org]
  • Doesn't matter ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by krou (1027572) on Monday June 25, 2007 @05:38AM (#19633887)

    ... if laws such as this are passed.

    Market forces and government requirements will take care of ensuring RFID chips become implanted.

    The financial benefits and incentives of voluntarily getting chipped will far outweigh not being chipped.

    I'm reminded of a speech [iwar.org.uk] given by Michael Chertoff about the role the private sector can play in traveller screening:

    There are number of ways in which the private sector can really add value and play a major role in this process ... you've got a lot of people traveling almost always for private business, as we talk about trusted traveler programs getting more of the kind of information that allows us, for example, to let people move freely through airports, as we talk about biometric types of identification which maybe become available on a voluntary basis, the private sector can create a marketplace for this. If people, in fact, see value in having a biometric card and volunteering some information for it in return for getting some kind of trusted traveler status, that will create a marketplace for the technology and a marketplace for the systems that we need to drive that forward.

    Once you have a sufficient number of people embracing the technology and reaping certain benefits, it's a small step from there that business can say, "Well, these people that have these chips have better chances of promotion" or whatever.

    Besides, the government shall surely love the idea of having a wonderful surveillance mechanism such as this, and they (along with corporations) will continue to propagate the myth that privacy = data security, which it doesn't, in order to still use RFIDs at some point anyway.

    This is demonstrated in the SM Daily Journal article when it says:

    They also include measures that would bar use of RFIDs in driver's licenses and student identification badges before 2011 and set privacy-protection standards for RFIDs.

    A fifth bill by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is also on the committee's agenda. It would require companies that issue identification cards or other items containing RFIDs to disclose the personal information that would be revealed by the RFID and what steps they've taken to protect that information".

    In other words, we'll let them use it anyway, as long as they protect the data, not your privacy (and they're doing such a good job of protecting our data already, of course). From there, it's just a short step to say, "Well, you've got RFIDs in your ID cards, why not get a chip in your arm to speed up time at airport check-in, or purchasing items at the counter, or 0% interest for the next year on purchases ..."

    You're not required to have a mobile phone, but market forces and social pressures [textually.org] are pretty damn persuasive.

    You're not required to get an implant, but hey, it surely helps.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday June 25, 2007 @06:16AM (#19633999)
    It's been said before, so despite the threat of being modded redundant, it can't be said often enough IMO: Anything but an outright ban will invariably result in indirect force to have it implanted.

    There is a surplus of workforce compared to jobs. And while it's not pressing in the high paying management positions, it sure as hell is in the trenches with the grunts. Anyone can work that slurpee machine, so ... you don't want to be chipped? No problem, I won't force you, get your last paycheck, there's a guy over there that doesn't mind the chip and he's your replacement.

    Oh, I can't fire you because you don't want to be chipped? Ok, no worries, you'll be asking the infamous "want fries with that" question for the rest of your days in this company while everyone else, at least those that didn't complain about chipping, get promoted past you. You can leave the company any time you please, no problem.

    Sorry, we picked another applicant for the position, and no, OF COURSE him agreeing to being tagged had NOTHING to do at all with the decision.

    It also works the other way 'round. You want BigBoxMarts superduperspecialsaving card? Only as a chip in your palm. Want to withdraw money from your account? Only with the palmchip, everything else is too insecure (ya know, cards and code can be stolen). Want to travel? Passports are so 2000, next gen is the implant chip. No chip, you stay at home! Want social security or even wellfare? Get chipped!

    There are many ways to indirectly force people. It needn't be at gunpoint. The more you're dependent on something, the easier it is to force you.
  • Re:like ID tattoos? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Leebert (1694) on Monday June 25, 2007 @06:50AM (#19634147)

    passive RFID provides static identification only, not authentication


    This is incorrect. Some passive RFID systems do challenge-response authentication. See Exxon's SpeedPass. It does it BADLY, but it does it.
  • by sumdumass (711423) on Monday June 25, 2007 @09:07AM (#19635297) Journal
    No, his concept isn't some liberal mistake. I don't even think it is liberal.

    You see, the free market concept assumes people are free to chose what they want to purchase. Now, even in IT, there are only so many jobs at so many places so if they are all filled in my town, I either have to move or find another. Now notice I didn't place a third option of not working in there. that is because you don't have that option as a realistic choice. Sure, you could draw unemployment for a while, spend your savings down but in the end, you will HAVE to find a job or dies. And that is only if you don't goto jail or something first.

    Anytime you take the option to walk away out of the picture, you cannot have a free market. This is the same thing with gasoline, a certain amount in todays age has to be spent on transportation for all but a small set of people. there is nothing free about the gas market except they are free to exploit your needs. Now, these needs can be artificial yet still be enough to screw the idea of a free market. Mass or public transportation for instance, It needs to purchase gas in order to function. It will have to raise fair to cover expenses when they prices go up, so even if you do have an alternative to buying it directly, you would still be force to pay indirectly.

    Now, with jobs this is no different. In most areas, they have reserved sections of the town to provide the bulk of the jobs and with the smaller towns, you have to go outside in order to get a job that pays a decent amount of wages. Most jobs now require a certain skill set (like IT) where you cannot just up and learn another in the time it takes to quit one job and goto the next even if it is outsid your skill set. When a person is forced to work or live in poverty or die, you cannot consider that a free market. Even if you manage to find one example where it might be. When a person is forced to have years of training to do a certain line of work you cannot expect them to find another job in another market area because he disagrees with a policy, it would take longer to train then it would take for the policy they disagree with to be implemented. They would be forced to adapt to the policy. Again, it isn't a FREE market by any means. And that is the entire point of the GP. If you think it is a free market, then you just aren't looking at it good enough.

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