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CA Bill Limits Skin Implantation of RFID Chips 275

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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  • RTFA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vombatus ( 777631 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:53AM (#19632785)
    How can I be guilty of not reading the fine article, when there is no fine article to be read?
  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by AngryJim ( 1045256 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:55AM (#19632793)
    '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,' Ok, am I just stupid, or did that statement about no ID theft cause anyone else to spew their beverage on the monitor.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SnowZero ( 92219 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:01AM (#19632817)
      Note to Ms Gould: There's a difference between a tag you wear at work, and something semi-permanently implanted in your body.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by binkzz ( 779594 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:20AM (#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.
        • I was expecting her to say this bill is preposterous because there has been no examples of employers having their employees chipped, let alone forced (has any human ever been chipped with an RFID chip?), and so it makes RFID sound bad just by outlawing a practice that doesn't happen. Kind of like a court specifically saying Joe Bob cannot have sex with children. It makes it sound like Joe Bob has tried to have sex with children.

          But no, she instead wants employers to be able to do this to their employees. Ri
        • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @06:09AM (#19633777) Homepage
          Actually it is one step away from technology that is far worse. Once you can force the implanting of digital ROM why not digital RAM an implanted device that records you activities for downloading later. This is a important piece of legislation in order to cut off even worse technology, a politician that is surprisingly looking ahead.

          Often this kind of legislation has to be extended to barring the technology altogether as corporations or government departments will try to work around the legislative ban forbidding compulsion by the use of various extortion techniques, reduced pay, promotion restrictions, implied threats of dismissal, unlikely employment.

          Why wait for the abuses, ban questionable applications of technology to start with.

          Just think of the benefits for the weasel in chief, he wont have to wait for you to make a phone call so that the NSA can record you calls, he can just download you sound recording chip when ever you walk past a phone for any questionable anti-republican statements.

        • by griffjon ( 14945 )
          Yeah, my thoughts exactly. The bill itself could I think be broader - how about no surgical methods shall be required for employment?
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by cayenne8 ( 626475 )
            "...- how about no surgical methods shall be required for employment?"

            Nah..that wouldn't work too least for the majority of girls working at high end strip clubs.

            You thought ALL of those were 'natural'??


      • Auschwitz 2.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:35AM (#19633201) Homepage Journal
        Another note to Ms. Gould: I don't think it's the possibility of the RFID tag not working or being stolen that worries the CA lawmaker. I am pretty sure it's the implantation that's the worry.
        For one thing, no employer should ever have the right to demand the violation of an employee's body.
        Another issue is that this is too damn close to a slave collar. "Property of ACME Inc."
        And finally, the RFID tag doesn't stop working once the work day is over, but works 24/7/365.

        The problem I see with a ban is that the ban is likely going to be too narrow if it mentions RFID. Unless it's a ban against any permanent or semi-permanent marking of employees, it's going to be worse than nothing, as the wrong judge might rule that since RFIDs were banned, but tattoos were not mentioned, it means that tattoos are implicitly allowed.

        • For one thing, no employer should ever have the right to demand the violation of an employee's body.
          Only a fool would consent to it.

          Does this really need to be legislated? Eh, no I don't think so.

          • by Tanuki64 ( 989726 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:22AM (#19633393)

            Does this really need to be legislated? Eh, no I don't think so.
            No, of course this does not need to be legislated. Just like with compulsory drug tests, the market will regulate itself. Just like nobody wanted to take the drug tests and work for companies, which required them, the RFID implantations won't happen because no company would find employees who would accept them.
            • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @06:41AM (#19633897) Homepage Journal
              Like with drug tests, it's the weakest that will have the least opportunity to say "no". If the choice is whether to submit to an RFID implant or not be able to put food on the table, it's hard to say no.
              Legislation that hinders companies from exploiting their employees is not a bad thing. The free forces only go so far, and protect only those in a position to say "no". That's not everyone, even if it's you.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Opportunist ( 166417 )
            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
            • IMO: Anything but an outright ban will invariably result in indirect force to have it implanted.

              FFS, this is just utter bollocks.

              If an employer can gain employees that 5% cheaper by not demanding implantation, they'll do it. If their cost base is 5% lower they'll be more competitive in the marketplace. Their paranoid competitors will find themselves losing both their market share and their best employees to their more enlightened and now cheaper competitors.

              I'll say it again. If this kind of crap was going to happen, we'd all have barcodes by now.

              • I don't know if something like "minimum wage" exists where you live, but it does where I do. You CANNOT undercut it, and you STILL get your door kicked in by applicants. People have no choice but to work for minimum, unless they can offer some special skill, which most can't.

                Now, if you got 1 spot to fill and 5 people applying for it, and you already said you're paying not a cent more than minimum and all 5 nod eagerly, then you throw in that you require chipping, how many do you think will not nod?

                The reas
          • Only a fool would consent to it.

            How do you know that free "flu shot" wasn't really an RFID? Funny how they recorded the vaccine serial number "for your records."
        • >For one thing, no employer should ever have the right to demand the violation of an employee's body.

          They already do. It is called "drug testing" without probable cause.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by FredDC ( 1048502 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:03AM (#19633051)
      We've not seen a single showing of ID theft or harm

      Read as:

      We all stand around here with our eyes closed and our hands over our ears shouting BLABLABLABLABLA.......

      Ignorance is bliss!
    • Not quite. Have there been cases of ID theft because of RFID tags? I believe her.

      Then you get to why: Because we're not identifying ourselves with RFID tags yet. If you hold up a blank card with your RFID chip in there as your ID card, well, try flying with that; it'll be fun, I promise.
      • Well, You don't need to personally identify someone to have ID theft based around RFID chips. We have kids who change the bar codes on high dollar merchandise at the store to buy them at the register at a lower price. Who is to say that reprogramming RFID or switching them around isn't going on as we speak. I would think scanning a $300 electronic device as a $50 game for that device in a checkout line would be the same as identity theft.

        It isn't like anyone it watching for foul play or anything. If somethi
    • I'm wondering if the No ID theft statement is only true because no one has been checking or monitoring the possibility? I know bar codes are supposed to be somewhat fool proof yet we have stories of kids taking them from some $10 item and placing them on a $1000 item. And it was just a cashier who knew how much it should have been that caught her, not something built into the bar code.

      I think if we looked and monitored, we would find her statement to be false on several levels.
  • by Tanuki64 ( 989726 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:57AM (#19632797)
    The correct way to mark employees is still an ear tag.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Nah, I think a radio collar a stripe of flourescent paint is the way to go...Atleast thats what my employer uses.
    • is the best way to mark an employee, but 666 is already taken.
    • by FredDC ( 1048502 )
      A collar with explosives that will detonate under certain circumstances is my preferred way of tagging employees!

      Taking a longer break than is allowed? *KA-BOOM*
      Missed a deadline? *KA-BOOM*

      You cannot find a better motivator than this! It's well worth the cleaning crew expenses due to people exploding regularly. And if you tag them too, the workplace never stays filthy for too long!
  • by johnrpenner ( 40054 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @01:57AM (#19632799) Homepage

    Doesn't mean you can't have your RFID -- it just means they can't REQUIRE you to have it.

    and that's a good thing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Tanuki64 ( 989726 )
      It's a worthless thing. You don't want your chip implanted? Ok, it is your good right to refuse, it is our good right to choose an employee, accepts it.
      • It's your good right to select another country to do business in.
      • I already posted this in this thread, but given that it is buried where no one will read it I am going to repost it here, and hope that this self-duping won't offend greviously.

        I think that is a classic libertarain mistake of not thinking carefully enough about the market for jobs (or at least I assume that your granting to employers the right to do whatever they want to employees is motivated by libertarian-esque thinking that letting the market settle such things is better than regulating them). Now if
        • I'm of the opinion that the type of people who would think that RFID implants are really not such a bad thing would not have a clue what you are talking about. Although I'm pretty sure they would accuse you of spewing socialism.

          I really doubt of those people would understand economic concepts like elasticity. Nice try, but in my experience most politicians and "business" people only have a vague notion of economic concepts. Even my Business Management teacher (from years past), who has an MBA, thought it wo
      • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:19AM (#19633117)
        Most people do not have the choice to decide whether they wish to work, or with whom they wish to work for, therefore at least a certain amount of legal protection has to be maintained. This is especially true when most of the wealth (and power) is distributed to only a small minority of the population.

        Considering the fact that power corrupts and companies tend towards the lowest common denominator when it comes to moral issues like workers rights and just plane ordinary dignity, it is not unreasonable to have a law that requires employers not to treat their workers too much like cattle. If people really did have a choice of not to work for bad companies, I'm sure they would. Until that day comes, we will need legislation protecting us from our employers.
        • by Tanuki64 ( 989726 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:47AM (#19633257)
          Look at the parents statement. What I meant was that laws, which does not strictly forbid RFID implantation, are worthless. A law, which just says that an employer cannot require an implantation is even worse than worthless. It gives a semblance of protection, but does in effect nothing at all. For exactly the same reasons you gave.
          • Not true (Score:4, Informative)

            by Travoltus ( 110240 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @09:07AM (#19634583) Journal
            Under this current proposed law, the first time an employer ASKS you to have an RFID implant, they've broken the law and are in deep poodoo.

            The employer is free to not hire someone who doesn't take the RFID implant, but then they're free to report said employer for even requesting it, and California is free to fine/imprison/punish the employer.

            The question then boils down to enforcement. How likely then is the company to get punished for breaking the law, and to what magnitude? That is where we ought to be asking the biggest questions.
      • You don't want sexual harrassment? Ok, it is your good right to refuse, it is our good right to choose an employee, accepts it.
  • Linky? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Loconut1389 ( 455297 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:05AM (#19632831)
  • Not yet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CriminalNerd ( 882826 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:12AM (#19632863)

    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

    In my humble opinion, just because something did not happen yet does not mean that it will not happen in the future

    And the summary missing a link to the ZDNet blog.
  • like ID tattoos? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dltaylor ( 7510 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:15AM (#19632875)
    Employers are requiring a medical procedure as a condition of employment. How about tattooing the employee ID, or neutering the staff to make them more docile, although that would be redundant for any employee that accepted the chip in the first place.

    This is not primarily about the RFID security. It is about mutilating the staff to save the employer the cost of installing and using a less Nazi-slave-like security system. Seems to me that any doctors that perform the procedure should have their license removed. The tags are hardly justifiable as cosmetic surgery providing any self-image benefit, since the tags aren't supposed to be visible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mpe ( 36238 )
      Employers are requiring a medical procedure as a condition of employment. How about tattooing the employee ID, or neutering the staff to make them more docile

      There are also privacy implications in that this identifies the them as an employee even when they are not at work. (It may even be useful to criminals such as burglers.) Would requiring a barcode tatoo (on a piece of skin not usually covered by clothing) be legal currently?
  • So I tells the library "I lost that book." Next things I knows, the librarian looks into the screen, starts typing, then tells me, "It's in the bedroom, under your nightstand." So I goes home and there it is! That lady, wotta dish and smart to boot! Thanks RFID!
  • No more implanting career chips??

    But, "you gotta do what you gotta do."
  • Ok, all you self-professed libertarians: where do you stand on this?

    Do you believe employers should be allowed to require employees to have RFID implants?
    • I think all the important people should have them, like the vice president. It would be a lot easier to find him and bring him home if he was kidnapped, that's for sure.
    • . This is a tough one, as I want to allow freedom of contract limited only by not being allowed to hurt third parties. Certainly organ sales should be allowed. On the other hand, I dislike the use of RFID implanted into a human without his unreserved agreement, and "I'm doing this only because I can't get a job otherwise" is not unreserved agreement.

      . It's only one step from existing laws that demand proof that a person can legally be employed (which laws are wrong) to the additional law that accepts o

      • I agree that forced implantation of RFID chips should be illegal, but you're a little confused.

        . There are other dangers involved. Suppose you're being stalked by someone at work who does not yet know where you live. He acquires the RFID info and a scanner capable of working at a distance, then just drives around the city until he gets a match. Your life is endangered by RFID in this instance. Is your employment contract going to state "I acknowledge that by accepting this RFID I am increasing my risk of

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:26AM (#19632933)
    I refuse to accept the mark of the beast.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:28AM (#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.
  • Here's the bill (Score:4, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:42AM (#19632973) Homepage

    SB 362 []. "A person shall not require, coerce, or compel any other individual to undergo the subcutaneous implanting of an identification device."

    • by binkzz ( 779594 )
      I believe that is a Very Good Thing (tm), as a Christian and a human being. Finally a decent bill.
  • Why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aero2600-5 ( 797736 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @02:55AM (#19633025)
    Why is it always California that's always ahead of the rest of the country? The best time to take care of a problem is before it starts. Everyone here in the IT business has probably heard of it. It's called preventative maintenace . California has started applying it to politics, and I applaud them for it.

    I've never been to California, and I know that it's not perfect, but a good portion of their newer laws make a ton of sense, and should probably be implemented nationwide.

    What's sad is that when a government body passes a law that is good for it's people, it's news.

    • by mcrbids ( 148650 )
      I've never been to California, and I know that it's not perfect, but a good portion of their newer laws make a ton of sense, and should probably be implemented nationwide.

      As a Californian, I can acknowledge some deficiencies that my state can exhibit. But I'm very proud to be a Californian. This is another example of why this is so.

      California has led the United States for at least the last 50 years. It's the single largest exporter of culture worldwide. It's huge on manufacturing, agriculture, aerospace, i
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      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 th
    • Wisconsin passed a similar law over a year ago. [Article []]
  • I don't know the specifics of why the bill was passed, but I would imagine privacy is the bigger concern than exactly what technology is used. I wouldn't want somebody to be able to more easily track everything I do, regardless of how they are doing it.
  • When you change jobs, how do you remove the RFId chip from your bod? Foreign objects tend to wander around once under the skin. Is your former employer obligated to find and remove it? Do you really want your recently rejected employer digging around in your bod (again)?
  • Roxanne Gould, Spokesweasel for the American Electronics Association says 'Our bottom line is we're opposed to anything that demonizes RFIDs'

    Sounds crazy? In Australia kids doing advertising letter box drops (for below minimum wage*) have been fitted with GPS tracking devices, and the privatized Telstra teleco tracks employees time spent in the toilet or making coffee. RFID is the sort of thing these employers would love. Nice to see Government (well, at least one person in Government) being pro-active, as
    • Re:RFID rsucks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @05:19AM (#19633611) Homepage Journal

      Roxanne Gould, Spokesweasel for the American Electronics Association says 'Our bottom line is we're opposed to anything that demonizes RFIDs'

      Actually, I found that part of it refreshingly honest. What she's saying is tantamount to something like this:

      We don't care a hoot about the moral or ethical aspects. We don't even care if RFID are a good idea in any context, neither do we care if they happen to be an astonishingly one. All we care about is that industry buys more RFID chips, and that's what we will say in any and every debate.

      The nice thing about that is that it means their opinion on any subject can be dismissed out of hand. It's like a binary signal that's always set to one; it carries no data. We already know what they're going to say, whatever the question ("RFID tags are GOOD!") and we know why ("because it make us MONEY!").

      It's just rare to see one of these industry pressure groups quite so willing to disqualify themselves from the debate.

  • Its not RFID... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DTemp ( 1086779 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:13AM (#19633095)
    It's not the RFID tags the senator is going after... its employers being able to fire anyone who doesn't want a CHIP EMBEDDED IN THEIR SKIN by the company they work for. I think RFID technology is great, and I completely support this bill.

    This is another case of an industry group going crazy to protect what they perceive to be their interests, when in fact its no challenge to the technology at all, its a challenge to having an employer being able to modify your body.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @03:38AM (#19633213)
    We just pay our employees that allow us to chip them 10 cents an hour more. And for some odd reason, whenever we lay people off, the ones not tagged are the first ones to get sacked.

    Pure coincidence, of course.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by astrec ( 244528 )
      In Australia we call this WorkChoices.
      • Called "job perks" here. Or "job security". Your job is secure 'cause you got a chip for 50 cents under your skin, and your employer would hate to let you go and take that precious thing with you.
    • Last I remember, the California AG is smarter than that and not so easily cowed. Maybe considerations for those problems are in the bill, I don't know.
    • Believe it or not, this is why we have very nice lawsuits that point out these "coincidences", and get money for people laid off this way.

      A company can't just coincidentally fire all the non RFID employees first - this is discrimination and there have been MANY successful lawsuits against such practices.
  • by simong ( 32944 ) on Monday June 25, 2007 @04:28AM (#19633415) Homepage
    is that are having to legislate on this because some HR person has seriously considered it...
  • The problem with implanted RFIDs is that it turns people into keys, making the 'kidnap the bankmanager the night before the heist' scenario all the more likely and attractive. Before, they would have to steal my keys, now they have to steal me.
  • "...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).

  • Why should RFID chips be implanted? can't we just have them in the form of electronic cards?
  • Doesn't matter ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by krou ( 1027572 )

    ... 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 [] 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 travel

  • Making it illegal to force your employees to be chipped is now "daemonization"?

    Please, can we round up and shoot all the PR and marketing freaks who wage war on our minds using language as their weapon?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Overzeetop ( 214511 )
      I don't know, somehow a little device just sitting out there waiting for something to happen for interaction sounds remarkably like a daemon to me.
  • There is a massive split now between people who claim to hate government and yet love private corporate power, and on the other people who believe in democratic government and despise private ultragovernmental power. One side is about control, the other freedom, but one side doesn't have its semantic act together and thinks it IS the side of freedom. But it is only freedom for the lords, not for the serfs. We as the people, we the government, we who believe we are the government, don't want private powers n
  • Not too long ago (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Floritard ( 1058660 )
    there was an article on here of the opinion that we no longer complete projects before they ship. That new dvd player you just bought requires a firmware upgrade right out of the box type stuff. With that sort of mentality about today's electronics are we really anywhere near ready to start putting them into our bodies in the first place? Just look what mere hobbyist hackers are doing to any new DRM that comes along. From an engineering/security standpoint, unless you can find a real robust method of firmwa

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner