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 California Senate blocks mandatory RFID implants in employe

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Nombre de messages : 8069
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

04092007
MessageCalifornia Senate blocks mandatory RFID implants in employe

California Senate blocks mandatory RFID implants in employees






Published on Tuesday, September 04, 2007.











Source: LA Times - Patrick McGreevy

Tackling
a dilemma right out of a science fiction novel, the state Senate passed
legislation Thursday that would bar employers from requiring workers to
have identification devices implanted under their skin.

State
Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) proposed the measure after at least one
company began marketing radio frequency identification devices for use
in humans.

The devices, as small as a grain of rice, can be used
by employers to identify workers. A scanner passing over a body part
implanted with one can instantly identify the person.

"RFID is a
minor miracle, with all sorts of good uses," Simitian said. "But we
shouldn't condone forced 'tagging' of humans. It's the ultimate
invasion of privacy."

Simitian said he fears that the devices
could be compromised by persons with unauthorized scanners,
facilitating identity theft and improper tracking and surveillance.

The bill has been approved by the state Assembly and now goes to the governor.

Nine
senators opposed the measure, including Bob Margett (R-Arcadia), who
said it is premature to legislate technology that has not yet proved to
be a problem. "It sounded like it was a solution looking for a
problem," Margett said. "It didn't seem like it was necessary."

One
company, VeriChip, has been licensed by the Food and Drug
Administration to sell implanted identification devices, and about
2,000 people have had them implanted, Simitian said. A representative
of the firm did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.

CityWatcher.com,
a Cincinnati video surveillance company, has required employees who
work in its secure data center to have a microchip implanted in an arm.

Similar technology has been used for years to help identify lost pets.

Meanwhile,
the Assembly approved a bill that would allow Los Angeles County
Sheriff Lee Baca and other law enforcement officials to put thousands
of inmates on detention in their homes, with electronic monitoring
equipment attached to their ankles.

Baca sought the legislation
to help relieve overcrowding in L.A. County jails and said he would
assign about 2,000 inmates with low-level offenses to involuntary home
detention if the governor signs the bill. Currently, inmates must
volunteer for home detention. The Senate has passed the bill.

In other legislative action Thursday:

*
The Senate passed SB 655, previously approved by the Assembly, which
allows a $1,000 fine for county jail inmates found possessing a
cellphone, as well as a $250 fine for inmates found with tobacco in
county jails where possession is outlawed. Baca sponsored the measure.

*
The Senate gave final approval to SB 924, which would place a measure
on the February ballot asking voters whether they support the immediate
and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The governor has not
taken a public position on the bill.

* The Senate gave final
approval to SB 33, which prohibits people younger than 18 from using
cellphones or text message devices while driving. The governor has not
taken a public position on the measure.

* The Assembly
Appropriations Committee recommended passage of SB 974, which allows a
$60 fee on each filled 40-foot container in the ports of Los Angeles,
Long Beach and Oakland to pay for programs to relieve traffic
congestion and air pollution caused by port activity.

The
committee amended the bill, which now goes to the full Assembly, to
allow a local panel of officials to decide how to spend the 50% of the
revenues that would go to traffic congestion relief. It did not adopt
an amendment sought by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that
would have allowed some of the money to be spent on the replacement of
two large bridges.

patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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