Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Legislature passes SB 362

From the LATimes--Senate blocks mandatory ID implants in workers

"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.'"

The SF Chronicle endorses the bill's passage:

OK, so the system of employer-sponsored health care is disappearing. And pensions sure aren't what they used to be, either.

But the workers of California can breathe easy about one thing today, at least: the state Legislature has made it illegal for employers to implant identification devices in their skin.

If it sounds like your worst nightmare, that's because it is. The eyelash-sized devices can be used by employers to identify workers simply by passing a scanner over the implanted body part. At least one employer - CityWatcher.com, a Cincinnati video surveillance company - has already done this with two of its employees. With about 2,000 people already implanted with the devices, who's to say it wouldn't become an ordinary requirement for employment? After all, every employer wants to make sure that his or her employees are where - and who - they say they are.

State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, was the first to recognize the obvious potential for abuse in this scenario. Amazingly, he met with resistance from nine senators, one of whom, Bob Margett, R-Arcadia, said that because the scenario hadn't proved a problem yet, outlawing it seemed unnecessary. Huh? Since when did privacy become unnecessary? We're glad to see that Simitian's other colleagues understood the ethical necessity of stopping a bad practice before it got out of control.

Next stop: the Governor's desk.

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