News

Bill passed to prevent human 'tagging'

A bill that would prohibit people from being implanted with radio frequency identification (RFID) devices was passed by the state Senate Thursday and now goes to the governor for signature into law.

The bill, authored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, would prevent small RFID computer chips from being embedded into any person. The devices are commonly used to track wild animals.

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

If the bill is signed into law, California would join Wisconsin and North Dakota, which have also banned RFID implantation into people.

-- Don Kazak

Comments

Posted by Lance, a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2007 at 7:53 pm

RFID microchips, or any similar technology, in or on humans, should not be allowed for a multitude of reasons. RFID technology can be used to not only track an individual anywhere, anytime, robbing them of personal freedom, it can also act as an electronic two-way interface with AI systems, giving "it" the ability to monitor, and manipulate, human actions in a more pervasive, and invasive, manner than most humans realize. The use of this type of technology is a move toward total control of humanity on a scale that few are able to comprehend.


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 3, 2007 at 11:20 pm

This is poor legislation drafted by an otherwise competent legislator.

Here is some information about a now heavily-promoted (and read) book about RFID; the authors are making a lot of hay by sowing fear and misinformation.

the book's name is "Spychips" by Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre: might I suggest a read of their other book, which is identical to "Spychips", except for the title, which is "The Spychips Threat : Why Christians Should Resist RFID and Electronic Surveillance". Web Link

(IMPORTANT note: Bruce Sterling's introduction [in the general book trade version] is not present from this [religious consumer] version)

quoting from a recent review of this book Web Link

quote:
"Albrecht does not believe those who said bar code labels and Social Security numbers were "the mark of the beast" were completely wrong (quotes are my emphasis). Rather, those technologies were precursors to RFID, and steps toward totalitarianism, she said. "All of these technologies are of concern," said Albrecht. "I'd like to think I'd be speaking out against them, too, if I was around at the time they were introduced.""

and

quote:
"Another passage in Revelation describes a vision in which "a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image." Albrecht and McIntyre write, ""Interestingly, an implanted RFID device like the VeriChip could potentially cause such a tormenting sore if it is subjected to a strong source of electromagnetic radiation," such as a directed energy weapon."

and

more, from the "Spychips" blog
Web Link
quote:
"In our book, Spychips, Liz and I discuss places where creative companies have hidden RFID readers, like floor tiles and picture frames. (Yikes! Could the Mona Lisa someday secretly scan your skivvies?) And the thought of of an RFID reader hidden in a lamppost has crossed my mind on more than one occasion."

I have yet to see a technology so over-hyped with promise, condemned with uninformed paranoia, or reviled for all the wrong reasons, as RFID.

In fact, RFID, like all technologies (even books - you're surely aware of the furor created over Gutenberg's invention - the printing press) presents opportunities for abuse. It's one thing to inform our public about potential abuse (a good thing), and quite another to whip citizens up into a frenzy that will cause unnecessary concern and fear - as does the 'Spychips" book.

Without making a judgement about Albrecht's and McIntyre's personal beliefs, my sense is that it would be an interesting exercise to "follow the money" as their prime motivator for creating the 'Spychips' enterprise [which is what it's becoming], especially considering the book sales and paid speaking engagements that the "Spychips" authors will realize from their primary target audience - i.e. the 'religious and Christian markets' - and further considering that RFID will be nearly ubiquitous as a technology within the next two decades.

Yes, the Spychips people should do quite well for themselves during the next few decades. It would be interesting to know whether they plan to eschew using products where RFID is deployed, especially as ubiquity appears. I wonder if they do, now, especially as RFID is already deployed in a significant part of the consumer electronics and a few other supply chains.

The irony in in all this is that RFID technology holds great promise for supply chain, inventory, and logistics management, as well as national and international security. Reduced costs, more efficient real-time inventories, and vital port and other securities Web Link are just a few of the many benefits that mature RFID will bring to all of us, without the abuses that are necessarily inferred by the 'Spychips' authors.

RFID also holds great promise - especially as the technology matures in the near-long-term [3-5 years] - to add enormous efficiencies to library operations, adding to a total library experience that will delight patrons.



Posted by joyce, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 4, 2007 at 4:26 am

I hate those things and always rip them off the stuff I buy in stores, but I am wondering about one application. Could they be used to store vital medical data needed by emergency rooms, etc.


Posted by Lois, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 4, 2007 at 6:22 am

Have they started putting them in clothing? If so, where do they attach them?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2007 at 6:52 am

There are some folk who, by their actions, earned the distrust of their fellows. While I opt for their permanent removal, any argument to grant them temporary freedom should include the monitoring this would allow. We know that parole and probation are no guarantee.


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 4, 2007 at 8:00 am

Joyce, Yes, they can be used to store vital medical information, The European Union has approved RFID in certain kinds of implants, like hip replacements.

The people who are arguing against RFID because they think it will compromise their security are either misinformed, pandering to the ignorant (like Simitian is), or crackpots of a kind similar to those who used to believe that evil "meddages" were being broadcast from music albums when played in reverse - that's the kind of mentality we're dealing with here - and why it's so surprising that Simitain would sponsor such a bill...he's a good legislator that somehow got snowed by paranoids.

There are already BILLIONS of RFID tags in existance - where is the evidence that people have been tracked and spied on? It's not there.


Posted by Against spying, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2007 at 8:27 am

Putting RFID into merchandise and putting RFID into people are very different. Setting up a straw man to shoot down does not fool anyone. So those particular writers aren't the best advocates. Many others are opposed to overuse of RFID.
And calling people who are concerned about civil liberties ignorant and paranoid and crackpot makes me wonder about your motives.


Posted by Curious, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2007 at 10:40 am

To "Simitian is wrong on this one": You say Simitian is competent -- a good legislator. But, you say, he's wrong on this one; he's been "snowed." Has it occurred to you that, his being such a competent legislator and all, his motives for sponsoring this legislation might be worth inquiring about? The phone number for his office is easily found. Is your mind open?


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 4, 2007 at 10:40 am

Against spying, I'm interested to see the evidence that RFID is overused.

I have yet to see ANY credible evidence, and until I do, I have to wonder about the motives of those who trash this technology based on fantasy, and no proof.

I'm waiting for credible evidence of large-scale spying performed on citizens exposed to the BILLIONS of RFID tags already around us.

Also, I'm waiting to hear even ONE complaint from those who have had RFID implanted in a hip replacement apparatus, or other implanted device, so that they may be better served by medical technology should there be a problem.

Let's have the evidence. I'm waiting for something other than the ignorant ranting of Luddites and politicians who pander to ignorance.

In the meantime, the clueless trashing of a very valuable technology - one that can SAVE lives - goes on unquestioned by those who KNOW NOTHING - with the latter (and their ignorant - on this issue - representatives in state legislatures) getting all the press.

by the way, pacemakers and other implanted devices - like cochlear implants - also emit "signals that can be tracked". Gee, maybe we should pass a law againt those, too.

Please show me some evidence, not ignorance.

How about GPS located in laptops and cell phones (your boss can find out where you are) - we should have a law against that, too. Right?

What about toll booth cameras that record all auto passersby - yup! we should outlaw them.

Yes, there ARE security issues involved in ALL technologies that broadcast a signal. However, in a DEMOCRACY, it's our responsibility to MONITOR our private and government officials, to help GUARANTEE the preservation of human rights, instead of ranting to our legislators so that they can OBSTRUCT the use of good technologies.

Start here, learn a few things about the technology, and then use that to temper unwarranted fear drummed up by those whose paranoia make us all more unsafe, and less secure.
Web Link

















Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 4, 2007 at 10:52 am

Curious, some in our nation have legislated against the teaching of evolution in our schools. Those positions were well-researched, too.

Have you considered that there may be persons out there who know a lot more about RFID than Joe Simitian, and all of his staff, put together? If not, consider that you're reading the written words of one such person, right now.

Simitian is a good legislator, but this one is WAY off the mark. He must have been sleepwalkikng when he dreamed this one up.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2007 at 12:45 pm

Most of the time, most of us lead lives of little interest to government, neighbors and sometimes even ourselves. Even at that we leave a trail. To demand that others blind themselves to our passing evidence is presumptuous, at the very least. It is enough that we can prohibit the misuse of this information.


Posted by Against spying, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2007 at 12:49 pm

And the reason you know so much about RFID is that you are involved in the industry, right?
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 4, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Against spying,

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

As long as RFID implantation is not coerced, what's your problem? If there are risks, and a person is informed of those risks, but approves implantation, what's the problem?

Here's another link for you to follow, to help improve your education on this, and related, issues:

Web Link




Posted by George, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 4, 2007 at 3:33 pm

I admit that I know very little about this issue. I certainly am not part of the RFID industry. However, I sense that this proposed legislation is too absolutist.

If I want to put a subcutaneous chip implant into my children, for their own protection, why should I be prevented from doing this? It can be removed at any time. If a convict agrees to an implanted chip, in order to serve less time, why not? If I am travelling on business in dangerous parts of the world, why can't I have a chip implanted? If my elderly father, who has a tendency to wander about town, has a chip implanted, who does that hurt?


Posted by Against spying, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2007 at 4:02 pm

Part of the evidence I need is to know whether you are part of the RFID industry.


Posted by George, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 4, 2007 at 4:09 pm

Against spying, are you responding to my post? I already said that I am NOT part of the RFID industry.

I just think that that there are situations where implanted RFID chips can be useful in humans.

Why do you think this is bad?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2007 at 8:21 pm

We in the RFID business are still working on one powerful enough to penetrate an aluminum foil hat.


Posted by Paul Walker, a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2007 at 4:26 pm

I am not religious and neither are a lot of folks these days, but we do have a right to our privacy, our human dignity and our natural human rights. Let's just forget Albrecht and the religious aspect for a moment and look at the naked facts. Companies are already requiring MANDATORY CHIPPING of employees. World militaries are already chipping soldiers, even putting chips in their brains as if they have no choice, and they don't. Mandatory chipping of humans is happening coincidentally with mandatory chipping of livestock and pets and just about every other thing that lives. Just think about that for a moment and let it sink in. Use your common sense and instincts. Then I want you to go straight to Google Video and watch two videos:

"Freedom to Fascism" by Aaron Russo and equally important is to watch his interview with Alex Jones where Russo talks about Nick Rockefeller's foreknowledge of 9/11. Then he asked Rockefeller, "Why do you want to do this? I mean you guy already have all the money in the world." To which he answers, "We want to microchip the entire population for control." Or words to that effect. Now this cuts to the chase right across the religious and political spectrum. If you go along with this pre-conceived agenda to microchip the entire population, I just don't know what else to tell you but to enjoy your slavery.

PW


Posted by Pat, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 5, 2007 at 6:22 pm

Another article I read about this said the bill would prohibit FORCED implantation of the RFID chip. Mr. Kazack's story isn't really clear. Does anyone know what the bill really bans?


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 5, 2007 at 9:41 pm

The bill bans compulsory tagging; that's a mistake. What about prison populations? Why shouldn't long-term, repeat hard timers be tagged? What happens if we encounter a horrific empidemic (god forbid) that compels certain persons to remain indoors, for fear they would infect the rest of the population?

There are other situations that might require compulsory tagging. What will we do then?

It makes sense to forbid compulsory tagging of citizens by employers (which some employers have apparently asked for); I consider that an outrage. That said, there ARE situations where compulsory tagging should be considered as a solution - especially of no other solution works as quickly, or efficiently.


Posted by Against spying, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 5, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Hey, Mr. Wrong on this one. I can't do my research, as you said I should, until you tell us whether you are involved in the RFID industry.
And, um, can I get a cut of the profits too?


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 6, 2007 at 12:23 am

Web Link

Looks like Senator Joe had to compromise on this one :) At least Arnie helped minimize the damage


Posted by Yes on JOE!, a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 6, 2007 at 12:30 am

ISN'T IT TRUE..that the only time you would want NOT to be spied on is when you are picking your nose, scratching that itch in private places, going to use the toilet area or getting dressed???? Outside of those few things, who cares? Who is doing such things as to be so paranoid????!!!


Posted by joe, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 6, 2007 at 2:15 am

To Simitian is wrong on this one,

Simitian has read 1984, and knows that power corrupts. We only have to see how totalitarian the Bush administration has become to know that given an inch, they take a mile. Simitian is preventing the foot in the doorway.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2007 at 7:09 am

Simitian, the man who has never represented me? My 1984 is him. His political career has been one big nanny state expansion. I fail to see the difference between chips and picture-print-DNA IDs. It is a bit more convenient and less easily faked.


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 6, 2007 at 11:09 am

joe,

The next time you sign a credit card agreement, look at the small print and consider how many rights you've given away. "Foot in the door"? C'mon, joe...

btw, orwell was right about one thing (among others). We WILL become a surveilled society; if you doubt that, go read up on the forward scenarios that result from just 2-3 people causing harm significant enough to wipe out half the humans on this planet - or more.

Humans have tribal roots, and we're _wired_ to want to know what's going on with our neighbors. Modern urban culture changed all that, but now technology is helping us to catch up, so that bad people can't live in the shadow of anonymity.

We (and most other cultures) WILL become surveilled societies - with the difference being that civil liberties will coexist with surveillance, because we're democracy. Surveillance and democracy are not mutually exlusive.

I'm always amazed at the overreaction stuff like this gets from folks who think that they live in a land of perfect autonomy.

That said, the negative hype about RFID is laughable, foro anyone who has done the research, and fully understands the technology.


Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Sep 6, 2007 at 11:26 am

I would think that Joe would be in favor of the plating of tracking chips on humans. That way he would be better able to keep track of what we are doing--for example, not using cell phones when Uncle Joe says we should not. Joe is a product of the PA political incubator--avoiding dealing with tough issues, while supporting a nany state, where inconsequential things are regulated.


Posted by Against spying, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2007 at 1:59 pm

Mr Wrong on this one says
"That said, the negative hype about RFID is laughable, foro anyone who has done the research, and fully understands the technology."
I am really TRYING to do the research but you won't tell me what part of the industry you are in. Is it books? musical instruments? what?


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 6, 2007 at 2:21 pm

Against, there are many web links - start here.

Web Link

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Against spying, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2007 at 11:53 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2007 at 5:12 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Think twice about this, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2007 at 11:29 am

I am completely opposed to legislation this black and white. There are far too many extremely good reasons to plant RFIDs..

tracking paroled molesters, rapists, murderers, torturers..finding wandering parents who have Alzheimers, finding the mentally incompetent/disabled lost, finding stolen children before they are raped and murdered,

maybe I am a young woman being stalked, and I want one implanted on me so I can be found if the stalker succeeds

maybe deaths would be prevented if stalkers had to have an implant

There is far too much choice being taken away in this legislation, and I am completely opposed..typical black/white, all or none, good/bad thinking and legislation filled with unintended and painful consequences.

Reminds me of the black/white, all/none abortion debate.

Regulation to prevent unwilling participation by competent adults who have never been convicted of a crime..ok.


Posted by Peter, a resident of Southgate
on Sep 8, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Here is some interesting information about RFID technology -- from both sides.Web Link


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 10, 2007 at 1:27 am

Peter,

That's mostly a biased article. What kind of chips? How many times were they scanned - thousands? millions? It's a bogus attempt to smear RFID, by poisoning rats with overdoses of radiation, and then blaming that on RFID chips.

RFID tags are "passive" tags. they emit no signal unless they're scanned, and the power needed to scan them is miniscule. Why don't they bring that forward in the article? This is very, very suspect reporting, and experimentation.

Why not look at cancer caused by RFID tags in animal husbandry, or in pet identification? In fact, that kind of tagging has been going on for almost three (3) decades!

What we have here are some lab diagnosticians who have found a new way to support themselves by killing mice. Just look at the CURRENT experimental group - it's been out there for 30 years! Where is the cancer? Why haven't these researchers done their diligence on *existing* tagged populations? Is that because they can't irradiate them with millions of scans, to prove a point that results from conditions that don't exist in the real world?

I wonder.






Posted by trudy, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 10, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Web Link

"Millions of animals and even a few thousand people have had wireless identification tags planted under their skin - but a number of studies suggest they may cause cancer."


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 11, 2007 at 11:08 am

What studies? And please, rather than quote poor study design, let's look at some real, live facts that operate right now, outside the lab.

trudy, doesn't it make you wonder that the animal populations (domestic and farmed) that have been tagged for DECADES have not shown up with inordinate patterns of cancer? How could that be the case if RFID tags cause cancer?

Does it make you wonder why mice are scanned thoudands of times more than any other animal or human would ever be, just to make a biased research point?

Yours is representative of the weak statementys I've seen on this thread that are anti-RFID.
Please, educate yourself about htis wonderful technology, instead of blindly accepting research that exaggerates the real case.


Posted by Peter, a resident of Southgate
on Sep 11, 2007 at 1:34 pm

Simitian,

Please, educate yourself about this wonderful technology, instead of blindly quoting websites that seek to promote it, with nary a word about possible side effects. The only information you have provided comes from the MIT websites of people who are trying to promote and commercialize the product -- hardly objective sources.

Investigate for yourself the legitimate concerns people have about the potentially harmful side-effects of implanted RFID.

Investigate for yourself the legitimate concerns people have about governmental and commercial misuse of personal information and technology.

If you have been paying attention, you will admit that no technology is without shortcomings, and no application of technology is perfect.

Please do this before you denigrate the concerns of people who are rightly worried.


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 11, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Peter, I have taken time to educate myself in this matter, and have (seemingly to little avail) been trying to share what I've learend with those posting on this thread with no RFID, or solid research experience (this latter statement made because of the faith that most have put into poorly designed studies that prove nothing, and faith in book authors and newspaper articles with an agenda.

Again, RFID has been with us for DECADES. They've been tagging farm animals since the early 80's. Where's the cancer? It isn't there.

As far as privacy concerns go, we shuold all have them. That said, we mnight consider being more measured with irrational fear that is generated from nothing more than impagination and poor research, so that we don't find ourselves hindering PROGRESS in medicine, product channel control, national (and local) security, AND, ironically, privacy.

What kind of tag do you suppose enables so many employees, all over America - and elsewhere - to feel safe and secure in their place of private employment, as they swipe their RFID-enabled identity cards through the card readers located at 10's of millions of entry portals, to gain secure entry (while keeping intruders out).
{Incidentally, where is the cancer for all those who carry RFID tags in their wallet, and handle them every day]

There's a difference between "concern" and irrational fear. The latter leads to constrained lives, poor legislation, and a LOSS of personal security.

That's what I've been trying to point out, and I'm sorry that you haven't been able to see it that way.


Posted by joe, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 12, 2007 at 4:24 am


"There's no way in the world, having read this information, that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members," said Dr. Robert Benezra, head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 12, 2007 at 11:22 am

"Blind leaps from the detection of tumors to the prediction of human health risk should be avoided." Ohio State University veterinarian oncologist Dr. Cheryl London commented, "It's much easier to cause cancer in mice than it is in people. So it may be that what you're seeing in mice represents an exaggerated phenomenon of what may occur in people." Perhaps most significant of all is the fact that millions of pets have been chipped over the last fifteen years, and no widespread problem has surfaced."

It's too bad that hysteria, fear, and unfounded so-called truth is so easy to spread.

I can create cancer in mice by overexposing them to certain vitamins, too. So?


Posted by Against spying, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 12, 2007 at 12:53 pm

"It's too bad that hysteria, fear, and unfounded so-called truth is so easy to spread."
There is nothing unfounded about the assertion that you are part of the RFID industry.
Your passion for RFID must be evaluated in that light.


Posted by Simitian is wrong on this one, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 12, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Just as your passion against RFID is informed by your predilection to trust poor experimental design and bad science, to support your claims - all the while ignoring evidence among 10's of MILLIONS of controls (already tagged animals; humans using RFID, etc) that show no evidence of cancer, whatsoever.

Thus, I repeat:
"It's too bad that hysteria, fear, and unfounded so-called truth is so easy to spread."


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