Thinking Tech

Chip implantation: banning a problem that doesn't exist

Posting in Government

Three states have instituted or are considering bans on involuntary chip implantation in humans. Maybe, those states should ban the bans and get a grip on reality.

Sometimes, the planet's inhabitants don't seem very smart, especially when it comes to those who represent us in government. If you can believe it, the Georgia State Assembly is considering a bill that would ban involuntary microchip implantation. Like you, I never knew this was a problem and apparently it's not.

credit: endtimesworldnews.punt.nl

Georgia state senator Chip Dawson (get it? Chip?) has sponsored SB 235 in the Georgia State Assembly "to prohibit requiring a person to be implanted with a microchip."  The bill left Atlanta Journal Constitution blogger Jim Galloway speechless...figuratively, that is.

"We often say that insanity reigns at the state Capitol. But when we do, we do not literally accuse the people inside of letting their grip on reality slip. We simply mean that our ability to fathom their motives, or their ability to express them, has fallen short...the bill has become a routine example of the Republican tendency to attack problems that don’t exist, and ignore the ones that do."

Do you know anyone who was forced to submit to chip implantation? Have you ever heard of anything like this? Of course, you haven't.

Proponents of the ban argue chips implanted against the wishes of the implantee are a violation of privacy. The individual could be secretly tracked and monitored. That's a pretty weak argument given we already track criminals wearing ankle bracelets. And some people should be tracked, but I guess a implanted chip is difficult to reverse, hence a touch extreme.

Several articles and blog posts have pointed out that the anti-chip implantation crowd are driven by religious leanings and conservatism. When the state of Virginia passed the ban in February, the resulting Washington Post story carried the headline "Human microchips seen by some in Virginia House as device of the antichrist." From the Post:

"My understanding -- I'm not a theologian -- but there's a prophecy in the Bible that says you'll have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in end times," said bill sponsor Virgina House delegate Mark Cole. "Some people think these computer chips might be that mark."

SmartPlanet has covered several innovation chips that could be placed in the eye or on contact lenses, but as far as I know, that's about it for chip implantation. Don't pacemakers have semiconductors? I suppose such devices would be implanted voluntarily so the ban would not apply to them.

Popsci.com has reported on RFIDs used to track students at a school in the UK, but the chips are worn, not implanted.

In short, such bans are a waste of valuable time and breath when there's much more pressing matters for state legislatures to take up. Just for kicks, read the anecdote included in Galloway's column about a victim of an implanted chip and decide for yourself if these bans have even a whiff of credibility.

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John Dodge

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor John Dodge has written for the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, PC Week (now eWeek), EDN, Design News, Electronic Business, Bio-IT World, Health-IT World, Lowell Sun, Haverhill Gazette and Newburyport Daily News. He is based in Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure