By John Dodge
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.
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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Apr 21, 2010
Perhaps I'm wrong about this, but isn't there a provion in the lastes federal health care bill that requires chips to be implated in all citizens? This requirment to be completed with in then next three years.
Wow, implanted chips. As Edenigma alluded, this is right out of science fiction! While the testimony in Galloway's column admittedly stretches credibility, history teaches us that science fiction frequently evolves into reality. Consider the now ubiquitous cell phone (remember Dick Tracy's wrist radio?) - its both convenient and useful. 911 centers can use its signal to help locate you for emergency responders. We can contact almost anyone any time. On the flip side the signal that can be so useful in an emergency can let government agencies locate you even if you're not calling for emergency assistance. Throw in the advent of location aware apps on your smart phone, you've now surrender your privacy to anyone who legitimately has (or otherwise gains access to) the location information. While location information is very useful for marketers, it is also useful to other concern (say the military.) Combine location information with a drone equipped with a homing missile and voila, there goes that insurgent, political malcontent, anyone deemed an enemy of the state, or maybe simply a political opponent. Is this the stuff of science fiction or current technology? So while we can separate ourselves from hand held devices, embedded chips would be constant companions. Let's consider how valuable chips could be in protecting our children. We could track anywhere and foil child abductions! Is that great or what! Of course as children get older, for the less than perfect among us, there would be trails of youthful indiscretions, increased juvenile records, and more data warehoused information documenting the growing pains of youth. All to be mined (some our youth are currently finding out the internet 'never forgets') and to be used against them. But, for the greater good, we (and others) will always know where they are... So while some will dismiss the outlawing involuntary chip implants as a foolish waste of time, I applaud it. Orwell's 1984, while late, will arrive in full bloom way soon enough and while some will want embrace a brave new world where no semblance of privacy exists and where the state knows what is best for us. Soylent Green energy drink anyone?
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I believe you missed the point. If someone or agency can implant a device that can be used to identify you, then they WILL track you. The current news has school systems spying on students by turning on the camera on their laptop. The school personnel are not suppose to do it, but they do it anyway. Why, because they are people, who have their own reasons, some good and some bad. GPS bracelets are OK because they are obvious. A person knows if they are carrying one. Suppose you are a banker or a federal agent or a corporate businessman, and a federal employee is paid off to track you and give your last location to terrorists, you are toast. Remember when the government wanted to embed the CLIPPER chip to scramble all computer modem traffic. The government would be given a back door to decript and read all the traffic. No one wanted to see their email subject to federal employees reading it and an then paid to give it to your competitors and ruin you or your company. The CLIPPER chip failed, because no one trusted the government. Remember when warrantless wire-taps were illegal, until government people decided they had a use for it, and used it for all kinds of illegal purposes? The time to ban things like this is NOW, not after the problem becomes a national security issue, people are killed and companies are ruined. A government that says they will use new tracking or identification technology responsibly is simply lying.